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‘Death of Field’ takes no prisoners

The AQR’s ‘Death of Field’ evening took place at Browns in November ­ a title that had me expecting my P45 imminently and considering a career change. Fortunately, it didn’t arrive and it seems that far from being in its death throes, Field is going from strength to strength.

Whatever the benefits of a dramatic strap line, the event was a roaring success and a transcript of the discussion is on the AQR website.

The panel comprised a mix of experienced field and research personnel, representatives of IQCS, the AQR and the MRS. David Dimbleby wasn’t able to attend but we were fortunate that another David ­ Dubow ­ stepped in as chair.

The panel tackled a range of issues from old chestnuts on incentives, past participation and professional respondents to acorns on encouraging new recruiters into the industry and promoting market research to the public at large.

The range and depth of experience of the panel certainly contributed to the lively debate that ensued and the range of issues they were able to comment on. Personally, I found the input of Deborah Harding on ethical and compliance issues particularly interesting, but the critical contribution came from the audience’s interesting, and sometimes contentious questions.

Overall, the event was a unique opportunity to discuss field issues with such a range of different stakeholders. In a business that is traditionally highly competitive (and, as a result, sometimes secretive) it was a fantastic chance to get together and discuss our experiences, problems and solutions to the benefit of the industry. Congratulations to the AQR on organising such an interesting, stimulating and thought provoking discussion ­ one that really got Field talking. I hope it’s the first of many.


James Sainsbury
Managing Director, Criteria Fieldwork Ltd

This article was first published in InBrief magazine, January 2007
Copyright © Association for Qualitative Research, 2007