The Association for Qualitative Research
The Hub of Qualitative Thinking

View from the chair 2015

In July 2015, Simon Patterson was elected AQR chair. Here, he reviews what the association currently offers, and hints at his vision for its future.

Since AQRP (as it was then known) was founded in 1980, as a statement of intent to better define and represent the interests of our industry and those who work in it, the world has changed enormously. Today, qualitative research is a worldwide phenomenon and AQR strives to protect, enhance and promote its image, reputation and benefits — and that of professional qualitative researchers. Over the last 35 years the AQR has gone from strength to strength, with membership now recognised as the sign of an individual’s determination to deliver excellent work.

Continuing to build

As the fifteenth chair, I intend to continue building on our glorious past and help forge a glorious future. But this cannot be done alone. It requires everyone to contribute, take part, and collaborate. We have a great hard working and enthusiastic Board, two great vice-chairs in Chloe Fowler and Blue Martin, a wonderful treasurer in Liz Sykes, all supported brilliantly by Rose, Angela and Louella. But it’s you, the members, who make AQR and I want to encourage everyone to get involved as much as possible. Indeed, we will be running a membership survey soon to gather ideas about how to enhance what we do.

Relationships

One sure sign of AQR’s coming of age is the great relationships we have with other organisations. We have an excellent one with AURA (The Association for Users of Research) and are delighted to be continuing our annual AURA — AQR day. This is where AQR members get to present the benefits of, and new innovations in, qualitative research to AURA members.

Our working relationship with the MRS is just as good, and we are particularly grateful for its support of the AQR Prosper Riley-Smith Qualitative Excellence Award. Jane Frost is on the judging panel again this year, and the Award will be presented at the MRS Awards Dinner in December (it’s not too late to enter!).

Our relationship with ESOMAR, meanwhile, continues to flourish. Its vice president, David Smith, is on the ‘Prosper’ judging panel and we have just completed negotiations to become association partner for the annual ESOMAR Global Qualitative Conference, to be held in November.

Initiatives

We also have many initiatives in place, including: ‘Being Human’ on the 17th September, looks like it will be a sellout, thanks to Sarah Jenkins.

Our year round, first-class education and training programme attracts excellent lecturers and coaches and we are grateful for their support and dedication. Book early to avoid disappointment.

Our webinars, many thanks to Ken, proved very popular, and we intend to continue this new tradition.

Mentoring

The mentoring scheme is now well established and if you are interested we have a great team of trained mentors ready to help. We mustn’t forget the social side, either. AQR networking events are an excellent chance to meet, moan and laugh, and they are always worth attending.

Professionalisation

AQR is also very much involved in continuing to drive and champion the professionalisation of our craft. That is not to say that we are not professional, but rather to stop the tide of anyone claiming to be a qualitative researcher without the proper credentials. Working closely with other organisations and individuals, Mike Herbert has been making great strides on this.

In the key area of respondent/participant recruitment, AQR has again instigated an industry-wide initiative to maintain and protect our industry’s credibility, with Julie Fuller making major inroads on our behalf here.

Looking ahead

Being a member of AQR has so many benefits and we all want to see membership continue to grow. The new AQR Website, thanks to Selena King, Rose and Skill Zone, is now fully operational and really is going from strength to strength.

I’m honored to follow in the footsteps of past chairs and as the fifteenth will do my best, along with the rest of the Board, to build on their legacy.

The AQR is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to its members and their interests. We are all stakeholders and I look forward to further collaborating with you all.

 

Simon Patterson
Copyright © Association for Qualitative Research, 2015