The Association for Qualitative Research
The Hub of Qualitative Excellence

International slant needed

The most recent survey among AQRP members suggested that nearly half of all members were responsible for work outside the UK.

This, allied to the increasing interest in AQRP membership from countries in Europe and from as far afield as North America, Australia, India, the United Arab Emirates, and Costa Rica, suggested that AQRP should have an international view on the subject.

Curtis: Interest from abroad suggests AQRP needs a view on international training"

The position curently is that ESOMAR has one meeting every two years which is specifically geared to qualitative research internationally. AQRP itself has had no specific international thrust in the past and the MRS is substantially UK oriented. In terms of existing bodies for qualitative researchers outside our shores, there is an organisation in the US with about 600 members, focus group moderators and researchers. Some efforts have been made on a small scale in Europe in the past to develop something but without apparent success.

It would appear, therefore, that the climate is right for AQRP to grab the initiative and set up meetings specifically geared to international qualitative researchers. I attended a recent client-led initiative in Germany encouraging groupings of companies and the get-together proved of tremendous value.

As researchers, whether qualitative researchers or not, an internationalisation of our business has been prevalent over the past ten years especially. In the research business generally, a globalisation has tended to be led by the Full Service Agencies, but often based on quantitative sevices (Panels, Omnibus Services, Ad Trackers etc).

Companies such as Milward-Brown, RI, Softres and GfK are typical of this movement. There are, in addition, business-led associaitons of companies such as IRIS and NRA, but these also tend to develop around existing full-service agencies.

Never having had an international view before, AQRP is of course interested to hear the thoughts of its members. However, initial thinking is to organise events for members interested or involved in international qualitative research, (that's a lot of us, according to our latest survey). The venues for these meetings, their format etc, are still open to discussion. We are, however, thinking of an overseas venue for one event to take place in the near future.

Regional Meetings: We have had an enquiry regarding the possibility of arranging regional meetings. We need to know from members whether that is something you would like us to provide under the AQRP banner. Also, whether there are any of you interested in arranging such meetings? Please contact Rose Molloy.

Paul Curtis