But what impact, we wanted to know, has the big E had on the qualitative research community? We set out on a Continental trawl, asking researchers and clients whether they¹d noticed any budgetary or commissioning trends relating to qualitative work carried out/coordinated in the UK. Were the responses conclusive? Well, see for yourselves.

In Holland, Analyse Research & Strategy¹s Jaap Mos reckons that there has been no change in the amount of work commissioned by Dutch-based companies to be carried out by researchers abroad.

"What has influenced matters considerably is our economic dip," he says. So has the UK reluctance to join the Euro affected its popularity in research terms? No, he says. "It's only a sign of conservatism ­ but then, that¹s nothing new." It¹s in the longer term that he feels that the UK might have problems, particularly if it doesn¹t change its strategy in the coming year..

In Germany, the Institut für Markt-und Sozialforshung (IFAK)'s Martina Winicker is slightly more upbeat. The countries which have signed up to the Euro are not sufficiently numerous to give business partners such a feeling of 'convenience' that they might prefer to choose a partner from within it, she says.

The Euro might, however, have made more of a difference to the expectations of clients. In Spain, although it hasn¹t altered Arpo Research Consultant's Silvia Artinano's working methods, nor the way that she calculates prices, "I suppose that it has made our clients' lives much easier when it comes to comparing prices from different countries, which is always welcome," she says.

"Apparently, as the news says, prices have gone up too much due to a rounding up of figures, but we haven¹t noticed it at Arpo. Life goes on ­ the Euro just adds that little extra bit of fun!"

From France, Gatard Research¹s Christian Gatard agrees with Mos. "It may be too early to be peremptory, but I would say that the Euro has made no difference here as far as commissioning work in the UK is concerned," he says.

Even Candia's Nadine Piq, a company known for such dairy brands as Yoplait, claims to have noticed little difference since the arrival of the Euro to its work on the Continent and in the UK. And she foresees no changes to the commissioning of qual work in Britain, even though it has stayed out of the Euro.So is it a case of plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose? Sure sounds like it!