The Association for Qualitative Research
The Hub of Qualitative Thinking

Who was Prosper Riley-Smith?

Prosper Riley-Smith was a 'one-off', an individual larger than life who brought wit and style to research.

He was a disciple of Bill Shlackman, who recruited him to be managing director of Q Search in 1982 and in 1984 he set up Davies Riley-Smith Maclay (DRSM) with partner Doug Maclay. Previously he'd had stints in academia, in marketing (at John Smith's Brewery), and in advertising (at BMP and SJIP).

Prosper believed that thorough creative analysis was the unsung hero of qualitative research and that, in comparison, too much of significance was afforded to the show skills of group moderation. That said, he was a great showman and his presentations the very stuff of theatre.

Prosper died of cancer in 2001 and these awards are dedicated to his memory. Prosper thought out of the box before people even knew the box existed. In memory of the man, this award aims to keep research as relevant and creative and as fun now as when it was first launched in 2003.