Everything in Moderation
Adam Joseph attended the AQR's advanced moderation course and was not disappointed.
I attended the AQRs advanced moderation course Sweating the Small Stuff as a refresher to continue my professional development in qualitative insights. I expected to be in a room full of experienced moderators, all asking lots of questions, listening actively and challenging weak statements — and I was not disappointed!
One of several highlights for me was a Eureka moment when it dawned on me that the Waiting Room at a focus group venue was a great opportunity to pre-warm up guests (as an exercise in semiotics, we agreed that respondent was an outdated word, as was moderator — hosts and guests felt much better as quallie terms).
Only one lowlight, which was more about what was not covered on the day. I would have liked to have heard expert MROC (Market Research Online Communities) moderators talking about the differences and similarities between moderating real-world focus groups compared with virtual online communities.
The most useful takeaways for me were: the Power of Silence, and how moderators can use this effectively in a group dynamic; setting the Rules of the Room out clearly in a group, with added visual stimulus as aide memoire e.g. Be yourself, Be honest, Be critical, Be respectful; and the respondent, sorry guest journey before and after the group (e.g. invites, postcards, etc).
Overall, I think this was a good course that reflected well on the AQR, but please acknowledge the growth in MROCs and online moderation in training courses!
This article was first published in InBrief magazine, February 2015
Copyright © Association for Qualitative Research, 2015