The Association for Qualitative Research
The Hub of Qualitative Thinking

High-energy route to moderating

AQR's moderating skills course is one of the most popular on the calendar, and it's good to know that it's still giving delegates the tools they need for the job.

The idea of moderating can be intimidating for a beginner, but the introductory video and PowerPoint presentation we were sent beforehand put me much more at ease. The well-organised, friendly, and informative preparation enabled delegates to get to grips with the theory ahead of time, leaving more of the day itself for practical application.

It turned out to be a high-energy course that exceeded expectations. After a quick warm up, we got stuck in with a paired moderation, sharing the task of moderating with a partner. This was an ideal way to have a quick practice, pick up some hints and tips, and gain confidence before our main task of the afternoon: moderating a group of four for 20 minutes.

We learned that moderating is all about having a ‘toolkit’ of activities and approaches up our sleeve that allow us to respond to whichever direction the group is going in. We were taken through four separate projection techniques, one by each tutor. Not only did this give us four ready-made techniques for our ‘toolkits’, it also allowed us to experience four very different styles of moderation.

We’d been asked to prepare a discussion guide in advance for the afternoon session. Our tutors read through our approach and advised on timings, giving us a chance to fine tune our plans before putting them into action.

When the time came to moderate, we all felt that watching each other ‘perform’ helped us learn some of the nuances between styles, which we could use to build our own approach.

Additionally, being respondents while others moderated gave us an insight into how it feels to be a participant, something that many of us hadn’t experienced before.

For me, the overall highlight was the amount of one-to-one feedback we received throughout the day, while the opportunity to hear feedback on others was also useful.

Overall, the course managed to pack a huge amount of experience into one day, and was engaging and high energy throughout. Highly recommended!

 

Becky Evans
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