As a newcomer to the qual community (having recently transferred from the quantitative side of research to the "other" side) and as a recent member of the AQR I was unsure what to expect from the seminar. AQR, however, made a good first impression as the half day seminar proved to be an educational, insightful and enjoyable day.

The presentations chosen were clearly well thought through, ensuring that a good range of interesting topics were covered. Presentations not only varied in terms of topics but also in delivery. Video clips were used to provide us with a good insight into the respondent's eye view of the research process.

We were exposed to pictures of Santa, Frank Zappa and Pinocchio in the intriguingly named presentation "pimp my qual". This raised some interesting questions on ethics, proposing a theory that all quallies are slightly and justifiably unethical. We were also treated to a battle of the quallies, with an interesting debate on whether the focus group is dead or destined to live forever.

I particularly enjoyed the paper "Are we confusing new qual data sources with analysis?" which earned the best paper prize at the Barcelona conference. The presentation gave an interesting insight into analysing language, so much so that it has inspired me to do a course in linguistics.

The seminar was held in an exquisite and vibrant room at the London Art House in Islington. It was refreshing to attend such an event and find that it was not due to take place in an uninspiring hall. Instead, the room's layout was warm and informal, encouraging debates and discussions throughout the session.

Each paper raised interesting questions and made it easy to stimulate debate. There was a good mix of delegates present, from a range of disciplines and with varying experience. This mix certainly enhanced discussions as we were able to hear different perspectives and opinions on the topics raised.

The informality of the day was a great highlight as we were given the opportunity to interact with others. I found it useful — being a newcomer to the qual community — to get the chance to meet others within the industry, exchange ideas and generally get an idea of what others are currently doing within the business.

So if you get the chance to attend the next such seminar, then go. It offers one of the best opportunities around to network with a diverse group and presents papers which would be of interest to people from all backgrounds and levels of experience.