The Association for Qualitative Research
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Non-verbal communication

Modes of communication and expression that do not rely on words. These include features of interaction such as the use of space, the use of timing in the pacing of speech and silences, body movements and postures, and variation in volume, pitch, and quality of voice. Qualitative market researchers often work with all of these, referred to through the familiar concept of 'body language', or through what researchers often call the 'energy' of a group. They use it for example to assess the emotional temperature of a discussion, or to explore the meaning of an apparent mis-match between what respondents are saying and what non-verbal cues indicate.

Deliberate use is also made of forms of non-verbal expression within group discussions, where respondents may be asked to express themselves in abstract visual form, or even through mime or role-play.

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