Field in the North
From the start "The Weird and Wonderful World of Field" conference promised that it wouldn't be a get together to talk about Data Protection or to have a communal moan about projects with tight deadlines.
It was an opportunity to celebrate everything that makes fieldwork an essential part of the market research industry, to look to the future — and what it holds for recruitment. Also, I confess I was excited about stepping away from my desk and meeting some fellow "fieldies".
We kicked off with an interesting session on Co-Creation from Kath Rhodes. Kath took us through a project where she recruited 15 respondents to work with the client to come up with a tightly targeted new chocolate bar. We couldn't help but appreciate how important recruitment is when you require respondents to jump on-board with the process and to put in work outside of the face to face sessions.
Next we heard from Simon Patterson, who gave us a history of consumer motivations. We left appreciating that talking to the wrong people could result in a marketing effort completely irrelevant to the target audience.
Stepping out of the world of recruitment for a few hours, we joined Margaret Zuppinger, a learning and development trainer. She armed us with a toolkit of "killer questions" and insights into communication styles, so we came away feeling equipped to get the best out of interaction with colleagues, clients and suppliers. Colin Parry OBE, founder of the Tim Parry Jonathan Ball Foundation for Peace in Warrington, was the keynote speaker. Colin set up the foundation following the death of his son, Tim, in the 1993 IRA bomb in Warrington. In a very inspirational and moving speech, he told us of his work promoting safe dialogue between parties who are in dispute or are engaged in violent conflict based on race, faith or political beliefs.
The hangover from the evening event didn't spoil day two, when we debated the future of recruitment. Wendy Durn and Victoria Chapleo from Research Opinions gave us their slant on this topic, and the impact over everincreasing digital projects.
Vipul Chokshi and Rai Jones from Field Initiatives then took us through their very interesting paper on recruitment in the digital age. We were all very interested to hear about their innovative use of scripted screeners, and Facebook groups, plus share their ideas about using QR codes to recruit.
Last (but by no means least) we had a session with Teresa Hadfield who talked of some of the issues surrounding difficult/ taboo research topics. Given her vast experience in this area, it gave us an appreciation of what steps we fieldworkers need to take when working on sensitive projects.
Thank you, Acumen and Aspect for hosting such a well thought out and organised event.
This article was first published in InBrief magazine, November 2012
Copyright © Association for Qualitative Research, 2012