How to Become a “Researcher”: The Donning of Many Hats

Research Design Review is a blog devoted to qualitative and quantitative research design issues. Yet, there is an imbalance in these discussions with many of the posts dedicated to qualitative design and methods. The reason boils down to the fact that there is simply a lot to say about qualitative design. And this is because relatively little is written or discussed in the research community in answer to such questions as, “What is the basis of sound qualitative research design?” “What are the necessary components to a ‘quality’ qualitative design?” and “How does the researcher effectively put into practice these quality design elements?” These are the questions routinely addressed among dedicated survey researchers yet too often absent in the qualitative orbit.

An underlying current running throughout RDR is the idea that quality design issues are important to all research, regardless of whether the researcher leans more to the qualitative or to the quantitative side of the equation. Pushing this idea one step further, there is an even more subtle suggestion lingering in RDR that researchers might do well to free themselves from their qualitative or quantitative “hats” and instead take on the mantle of Read Full Text

Embracing Methodologists

Bill Neal – long-time colleague and founder/senior partner at SDR Consulting – wrote an article back in 1998 titled, “The Marketing Research Methodologist.” In it, Bill advocates for “the recognition of the marketing research methodologist as a specialty and specific job title in the marketing research profession.”  He defines the methodologist as someone “who has a balanced and in-depth knowledge of the fields of statistics, psychometrics, marketing, and buyer behavior and applies that knowledge to describe and infer causal relationships from marketing data.”  I espoused a similar notion in a 2001 article where I talked about the benefits of striving towards the methodologist title and, specifically, the significant strides qualitative researchers could gain from “widening their knowledge and appreciation of quantitative design issues.”

The idea of researcher transformed into methodologist is an important one because of its impact on research design.  I believe that a methodologist approach to design is Read Full Text

Error in (Qualitative) Research

It should be pretty obvious from my earlier posts that I am a big believer in the idea that research design is governed by core principles that apply to everything we do.  I believe that it is not good enough to be a qualitative researcher or a quantitative researcher or an online researcher or an ethnographer or whatever.  That, regardless of our mode or technique, we are obligated as researchers to practice “good research” defined by adhering to basic tenets that we all should have learned in school.  Unfortunately, college marketing research courses may fuel silo thinking in research design by organizing in-class discussions around research “classifications” rather than Read Full Text