An AQR course that promises greater insight into how to develop analysis and interpretation skills: what’s not to like? I expected to be taught a framework that could be applied to analysing qualitative data which, since it’s more unstructured than quant, takes a lot more time to process and to identify the key overarching themes.

Instead, it was a session that not only met but exceeded my expectations. Caroline Florence provided several frameworks and key questions to ask at every stage of the research process. These ranged from questionnaire design to delivering the data in the form of a compelling story, all geared to ensuring that the most relevant insights are identified and communicated to the client clearly.

The day achieved that ideal balance between theory and practice, encouraging us to analyse the client objectives, hypothesis and data of recent projects we had worked on. The interactivity made the experience more enjoyable and applicable to our everyday work, while tutors boosted our confidence by assuring us that each question we asked would be as valid — and treated as seriously — as the next.

And I got what I wanted: training into what to consider when turning standard observations into compelling insights, followed by actionable recommendations to drive growth for clients.

The SCQA (Situation, Complication, Question and Answer) framework, and repeatedly asking “why?” an observation or question is important, taught me how to identify the fundamental reason why a client wants to conduct research and, therefore, what type of methodology we should employ. Ultimately, I learnt what kind of insight to focus on eliciting from the data gathered. I don’t think I could have asked for more.