The Association for Qualitative Research
The Hub of Qualitative Excellence

The PRS Effectiveness Award Winner 2005

The award, a tribute to the mark that Prosper Riley-Smith made on the research industry, was created to promote the further development of qualitative research by recognising thinking that has contributed to business effectiveness.

Bob Cook, of Firefish, has won the 2005 Prosper Riley-Smith Effectiveness Award for his paper "Sleepless in South London".

What particularly inspired us when judging this year’s Prosper Riley Smith Award was the diversity of the entries in relation to the subjects, methodologies and techniques applied. Methodologies ranged from group discussions to ethnography, weblogs and video diaries, with one set of video diaries being recorded by insomniacs using night-vision cameras, which we felt was a truly inspiring way to document their real behaviour patterns. Putting the entries side-by-side, we had an excellent snapshot of the breadth, depth and quality of the qualitative research industry in 2005.

The winning paper is outstanding because it demonstrated powerfully how good qualitative thinking can lead to a unique perspective on an issue. The Firefish team devised an approach that handled the problem of insomnia with great sensitivity and in so doing encouraged sufferers to truly share their desperation. We also saw what a brave face they put on it in public which shows how difficult it would have been to gain the same level of understanding of insomnia with more conventional methodology.

"This paper was really exciting; it made me feel good about being a qualitative practitioner"

Anne Hastings
Director ase
Judging Panel Chairman