The Association for Qualitative Research
The Hub of Qualitative Excellence

Sweating the small stuff

Qualitative researchers are no strangers to uncovering insight that people don't always know, or feel ready to share. It's pretty much our raison d'Ítre and technology continues to make this process ever more accessible.

Biometrics (e.g. recording heart rate and skin response) used to need a big lab and scary electrodes. Now small, wearable kits can be mailed to respondents for in-the-moment capture of real life response to stimuli. The apps that help break our addiction to our smart phones can be used to capture our real life (often unconscious) mobile behaviour and make it available for qual exploration.

What both these technologies enable us to do is cost-effectively capture authentic response and behaviour quickly, easily, cost-effectively and unobtrusively. We see applications in creative development, testing of longer form content, exploring mobile behaviour and app usage, shopper experience… pretty much anywhere that we want to uncover truths about consumers’ attitudes and behaviour. Which brings us back to the heart of any qual project.


Rosie Shaw
Senior Research Executive, Populus

This article was first published in InBrief magazine, August 2018
Copyright © Association for Qualitative Research, 2018