The Association for Qualitative Research
The Hub of Qualitative Excellence

The very first AQRP newsletter

In 1981, a group of qualitative researchers held an open meeting to discuss the formation of a guild or association to represent qualitative research practitioners. More than a hundred people expressed an interest in the group and this is the very first newsletter produced by those pioneers.

The full text of the document is as follows (phone numbers etc have been redacted). Whilst this document is mainly concerned with administrative details of setting up the organisation, it gives us good ideas of who was involved in the initial setting up of the association, and we can see how much of their own time people were putting into the AQRP to make it work. Remember as well that this document pre-dates the original IBM PC, not to mention email and mobile phones, and even the work that went into preparing a newsletter and simply communicating with members must have been considerable. It is also interesting to note though that even in 1981, qual researchers were using VTR to record and discuss Group Discussions.

AQRP NEWS LETTER, Issue 1, February 1981

Henry Root would have said "Well Done - Here's 1". I want to say "Thank You" to the 120 people who have shown such support and interest in qualitative research - and for your l's. Here is your first bulletin.

Nearly 100 questionnaires have been analysed. "Nearly 100" because questionnaires are still coming in from those of you who were unable to attend the Open Meeting.

There are details in this newssheet about the various sections of interest in the proposed association. None of these sub-committees have closed, so you can still join any that interest you.

The next large organised meeting is on March 11th when Bill Schlackman has agreed to startle us out of any lethargy by his opening gambit "Qualitative Research May Not Have A Future". This particular meeting is open to ANYONE who is interested. For full details see overleaf. Additionally we are in the process of organising the local informal gatherings mentioned on the questionnaire. For these and further meetings to be organised and well attended, it is necessary, administratively and professionally, to consider the discussion of the Open Meeting on January 21st.

The two main subjects were the future relationship of A.Q.R.P. with the M.R.S., and the relationship of buyers, who are not, and have not necessaily been, recent practitioners of qualitative research.

The areas were explored extensively at the open meeting under the very able, firm and charming chairmanship of Ann Burdus, to whom we all extend our thanks.

When I spoke to you as holding chair of A.Q.R.P. I explained these matters are in all of our hands.

As yet there is no constitution for A.Q.R.P. and indeed A.Q.R.P. may not be the eventual name of the proposed guild, collection of persons or whatever.

It is vital that these matters are eventually settled to suit the needs of the majority of all those interested and active in qualitative research.

We have already had discussions with John Barter, and members of the M.R.S. Council. These are continuing.

The Charter Members and the Holding Committee believe that as many people as possible now need to meet regularly to discuss these specific issues.

So I now invite all of you to consider carefully the Membership Section. This is headed by Maureen Ressler. Additionally Sue Robson, Mary Wallis-Jones and I have all agreed to take an active part in Membership.

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AND WILL ANY OR ALL OF YOU who are interested in

(1) The relationship with the M.R.S.
(2) The eventual constitution.
(3) Relationship to Qualitative Research as buyers or users who are not necessarily practitioners.

please find the time to conact one of us so that we all contribute to the eventual professional establishment of the A.Q.R.P.

A.Q.R.P. is already in existance. But to achieve the real aims, as outlined by Barbara Mostyn in the Draft Charter, that is to discuss constructively the endless and fascinating areas of qualitative research (as is already happening in the small local gatherings), we do have to settle some of the NITS and GROTS so that A.Q.R.P. continues to thrive.

So please give your support. And come yourselves, and invite others to discuss the Future of Qualitative Research on March 11th.

Dickie Redgers


Our first meeting is on Wednesday, 11th March (7 for 7.30 p.m.) at the Ivanhoe Hotel, Bloomsbury Street, WC1. Bill Schlackman will make the challenge "QUALITATIVE RESEARCH MAY NOT HAVE A FUTURE" - that is unless it becomes more sensitive to new techniques and approaches in the Social Sciences.

The emphasis will be on active participation, and during the second half of the meeting, issues raised will be explored in small groups, using new and involving techniques.

Those wishing to attend this meeting should contact Carle Wooton (0494-xxxxxx) or Gail Flesch (01-xxx-xxxx). Tickets will also be available at the door for 3.50 including wine and cheese refreshment.


Many of you who were at the Open Meeting were interested in the idea of attending local informal evening meetings where qualitative researchers can meet and talk about issues of concern.

It was a gathering like this which originated the movement towards setting up the A.Q.R.P. Just to give you some ideas, at our early meetings we discussed topics such as costing, recruitment and content analysis. We also watched and analysed V.T.R.s of group discussions and argued the relative merits of different ways of running groups. We enjoyed ourselves and found it very useful.

For future meetings, about half a dozen people located in and around London have agreed to offer their home or business as a venue: they will act as organisers, at least for the first time. If you said you were interested in attending a local meeting, you can expect a call from an organiser who lives or works near you. A suitable time can then be fixed. It would help if you could think of some topics which you would like to discuss on the night.

You won't be expected top pay for these meetings, apart from a contribution towards coffee. We hope that the groups will be self generating and will meet on a regular basis. Anyone who didn't fill in a questionnaire but would now like to join in should contact the Newsletter Editor for further information.

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The sub-committees have been set up and, as far as possible, arrangements have been made to get everybody involved. Here are the details, and and whether or not you originally stated an interest feel free to join in.

Research and Education
First meeting: Monday, 16th March, 5.30 for 6 p.m. at the Schlackman Group Offices, 32 St. Johns Wood Road, London N.W.8.

Will all those indicating an interest on the questionnaire come along with ideas how we can get: funds, sponsorship, or co-operative participation by various organisations regarding research into qualitative research issues. Also bring along all your new research desires and ideas. Convenor: Barbara Mostyn.

Thank you to all those who are willing to help out with the Newsletter, and apologies for not getting in touch before this first issue. Please count yourselves as potential contributors of ideas for future letters; any gossip or items of particular interest to qualitative researchers will be most welcome. My address and phone number are given below. I will be getting in touch with each of you in the near future to discuss the next stage. Linda Goffey.

Sharon Godfrey has written a letter to everyone who asked to participate in her committee. Anyone else interested should contact Sharon on 01-xxx-xxxx. Details of the first meeting are to be arranged later.

Professional Standards
Mary Wallis-Jones will be discussing with a few of those who are interested in this apsect, ways of organising the committee. She will then write to all those willing to participate.

Maureen Ressler is in the process of personally contacting all who wanted to be concerned on this committee, with a view to holding a meeting in the near future.

Andrew Irving is currently thinking about ways of organising this committee. If you have any ideas and feel you can help please contact him on 01-xxx-xxxx.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Our treasurer, Carole Watton, would appreciate any outstanding contributions (1) to be sent to her as soon as possible. Her address is xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, High Wycombe, Bucks.

Barbara Mostyn
Sharon Godfrey
Mary Wallis-Jones
Maureen Ressler
Andrew Irving
Sue Robson
Dickie Redgers
Carole Watton

Linda Goffey
Cookham, Berkshire