The Association for Qualitative Research
The Hub of Qualitative Excellence

Pre-tasking and disruptive techniques

Often researchers want spontaneous and unprompted responses from participants, but on other occasions it is useful to pre-sensitise them to issues, activities or brands relevant to the research. So respondents are given focusing or even 'disruptive' tasks to perform for a few days before coming to the group or interview. They might be asked to keep a diary of a relevant activity, to refrain from an everyday activity such as cleaning the lavatory or watching TV, or to avoid their regular brand of some product. This gives participants a perspective on the meaning to themselves of that issue, activity or brand which can then be explored in the group or interview, greatly enhancing the researcher's understanding of it.

Related Terms


About the AQR Glossary:
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.

Benefits of AQR Membership