|I am with you completely, Jean (and Roy Langmaid). I appreciate that Chris has probably over the years seen some examples of uninspired moderating, poor interpretation, and that other approaches often do have more merit, depending on the objectives. But often views like this come from having been exposed to 'qual researchers' who are not really experienced or insightful. Unfortunately clients are often also at fault in the dumbing down of qual research, as they themselves do not really know what they are buying - i.e. what makes for great qual and what is less great....|
I have seen first hand how people claiming to be qual researchers are conducting their groups like foreigners on a trip to a game reserve - ticking off the questions (big five) as they hear them, and moving on to the next one as soon as this topic has been covered and boxed off. The fluidity, creativity and intuition are lost when the process is so tightly structured. There is a real problem in SA, and elsewhere I believe, of people thinking they can get up and run with a qual project, after having watched a few groups - how difficult can it be? But the skill of a good qual researcher does not come from being able to pull off the process neatly, nor from the ticking off of questions in a perfectly written discussion guide - it comes from hours of churning through notes and transcripts, uncovering insights in the oddest of situations, knowing how to tease the information/thoughts out of people without them realising it, being in constant conversation with the category.
Let's not damn the focus group - when managed properly by real qual researchers with passion and insight and flexibility, it can be a truly great research tool!
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