The Association for Qualitative Research
The Hub of Qualitative Thinking

The AQR Mentors Scheme

The AQR offers a free mentoring service to its members. The scheme is open to any member wanting support for some work-related situations they might be in. We have a number of accredited Mentors, all trained by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development who are wanting to give something back to the research industry. All our mentors work on a voluntary basis and are very experienced qualitative researchers with much to give.

So what is a mentor?

A mentor is someone with experience who helps the person they are working with to see the wider picture, focussing on their overall development.

The key skills of mentors are that they offer neutral and objective support. They will meet their mentee regularly, by whatever mechanism the mentee prefers. The mentor will challenge and support the individual as required, to help develop their career and achieve resolution.

They are not managing the individual's performance. That's up to their manager. Your relationship is confidential and only lasts as long as the individual feels they need this help and support. Some relationships are very long term, other short, sharp and sweet. It depends on the objectives and requirements.

Examples could include:

  • Facing new challenges
  • Coping with promotion
  • Stalled careers
  • Changing circumstances
  • Pressures on work/life balance

How it works

If you are interested in the scheme and think that you would like a mentor, then have a look at the profiles of our available mentors to see if some of them sound as though they have the appropriate experience for the current challenge that you are facing.

We understand that this first step might sound a bit daunting but you only have to send them an email to start the conversation. Confidentiality starts at this very moment regardless or not if the relationship goes ahead. Once you have found a match, and you do go ahead with a mentor a contract is signed and the AQR is notified. Then it is up to you as the mentee to drive the relationship in the way that suits your needs and schedule.

What you say

"I joined the mentoring scheme as someone experienced in my career but relatively new to research. As many researchers do I work independently and as such have limited team support. The mentoring scheme has been invaluable in helping me feel part of a wider research community having an experienced researcher to reflect with and just add that perspective which only years of experience doing the job brings. From suggested reading lists to methodology challenges my mentor has been a lifeline of support at the times I need it. To anyone thinking about joining the mentoring scheme I'd just say why wouldn't you? How often are you offered personal time investment from experienced professionals who have no other interest than helping you, and the industry's development. A resource not to be missed."

"I highly recommend taking part in the AQR mentoring programme, I found it very useful. It was great to have someone very experienced to provide an outside perspective on some tricky research and business issues, and I learnt a lot from the experience. Do it!"