The Association for Qualitative Research
The Hub of Qualitative Excellence

Cost of presenting in the 90s

The qualitative research presentation, or debrief, is where the qualitative cottage industry meets the world of the corporation. For the past 20 years or so, little has changed in the way these findings are conveyed - invariably via the trusty OHP and a wad of acetate slides.

Herbert: "Can researchers afford powerful presentaiton computer technology?"

The advert of power portable laptop computers means that it is now possible to make presentations containing video clip inserts, colour pictures, cartoons, and many other sound and vidual computer-aided accompaniments. So are qualitative researchers taking up the powerful presentation opportunities which computer technology offers to them? Do they, should they, and can they afford to?

A full house greeted those with the answers at the AQRP seminar "How can technology improve qualitative presentations?" in April. Malcolm D'Sa, market research manager of Tetley, kicked off by reminding researchers that the key to influencing senior management is how well their presentation goes down. Visual aid tools are improving constantly and use of new technology growing yet the latter is, he warns, only a tool and won't guarantee a great presentation.

Chris Forrest, planning director at theDuckworth Finn Grubb Waters ad adency suggests that content is king and that the qualitative researcher must distinguish reportage from analysis while highlighting the most important points. As to the best way to present the content and viduals, he warns of the cost of investing in technology and keeping it all running.

The qualitative researcher, Joanna Chrzanowska of Genesis Research, was brave enough to show us all how it is done. On her laptop she took us through a presentation about changing the world of qualitative research and the need for presentation styles to keep pace with the changing role of the researcher. She emphasised its flexibility but also warned of its cost, which can hit 12,000 for a full package. It may be, she concluded, that it's "what you do and the way you do it" that counts with qualitative presentations.

Michael Herbert