The Association for Qualitative Research
The Hub of Qualitative Excellence

Pen portrait

An informal description of a person or group of people - this may cover age and other 'hard' variables, but will focus on softer dimensions such as attitudes, appearance and lifestyle. This may be part of the outcome of a piece of qualitative research (see 'typology') or may be used to help recruit the right participants for a project. For example, in the latter case, a pen portrait could describe 'the kind of music-mad kids you see hanging around record shops on Saturdays', as well as asking for specific age and usership criteria to be met.

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This glossary is compiled and maintained by the Association for Qualitative Research, the foremost authority on qualitative practice, training and innovation, and the global hub of qualitative thinking. If you are a qualitative research consultant or a business offering qualitative research services, please consider joining the AQR and supporting the organisation.

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