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    Nobody pays me to write any of the copy on my blog, and should I ever have the good fortune that they do, I will declare it. My main employment is as the owner and principal of The Future Place consultancy. The Future Place provides two key services 1) training and services to industry and academic bodies and 2) consultancy services to companies. The details of the companies I work with are a private matter, but if I blog about any company who has paid The Future Place more than expenses recently (approx. two years) I will mention that they are a client. I hold equity in Virtual Surveys and provide consulting services to them from time to time. I am paid to run courses for a number of trade bodies and over the last few years clients have included ESOMAR, AMSRS, MRS, and MRIA.

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Rob Burton

Hi
My problem with all this talk about online qualitative research and e-ethnography is we all seem to be missing the most important bits which is human behaviour. So can some one please tell me how do we replace or recognise for example, when I test a printed product in a focus group - in this particular case a university prospectus - the focus group respondents smell the booklet, they sniff the quality of the paperor the ink and from that gauge the quality, they finger it to test the paper, they make micro expressions, they react to the other people in the group, they seek opinion, they flick through the pages, often back to front and do a myriad other little bits of behaviour - how do we capture that via the internet? How do I know when I show art work for example that the monitors at the other end are showing the right colours. It worries me.

ubu.roi

@kevin m

You are not merely observing, but participating. And no, you are not more participating than the others are, but that doesn't mean you don't affect the conversation.

The question is: so what? Anthropology embraces and makes good use of the researcher's actively shaping the dialogue. Anthropology IS dialogue and the researcher's is part of the research. No, it's not objective and statistically representative. It's something else. Learn what it's good for, and it will serve you well.

kevin mclean

@Rick Frank I am not sure if the observer effect applies in the same way online though? If you were taking part in a bulletin board/online community as a researcher, surely you are no more observing the others than they are 'observing' each other?

Emiel van Wegen

Thank you Ray, for a very interesting post. I guess we're moving away from using the term "Market Research 2.0". I like "New MR", but I am still looking for the best term to describe this paradigm shift.

To me it's a bit like Bill Clinton's centrism (a.k.a. the "third way") Clinton's Third Way was advocating a mix of some left-wing and right-wing policies. To me that's what we need: the third-way of research: a mixture of qualitative and quantitative.

Positioning it like this - as another new and third method next to qual and quan - it may help us overcome the fears of the more traditional orientated researchers who are afraid it may cannibalise their research.

It will be another method of market research, leveraging the strengths of both methods combined with the benefits of the available technology.

Anyhow, thanks for this enlightening post: it actually inspired me to write a possible sequel on my own blog :-)

Cheers

Rick Frank

Hmmm. The thing about any any anthropological/ethnographical activities is that they are affected (like physics) by the observer effect. Your presence alters the dynamics of the situation which affects the results. Is anyone talking about this?

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