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Module 1: Principles of Qualitative Research

1.1 Philosophy of Qualitative Research

Objective

This short course will provide an introduction to the philosophy of qualitative research, its critical role in understanding consumer and business needs, the key aims of conducting qualitative research and the need for multi-skills and roles in becoming an exceptional qualitative researcher.

This course is designed to develop knowledge and understanding of the use of qualitative research, from its theory of being exploratory and investigative in nature, to its application in the business world of processing information to extract meaning.  The format of the course will be seminar style based covering relevant case studies allowing participants to discuss key topic points with the presenter i.e. Q&A. It is expected the course will be two hours in duration.

Learning Outcomes

On completion, participants should have an understanding of:

  • The social and behavioural science principles, philosophies and frameworks utilised by qualitative research

  • Motivational psychology theories underpinning qualitative research e.g. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

  • The role of qualitative research in the business world

  • Fundamental aims for conducting qualitative research

  • The benefits of conducting qualitative research

  • What makes an exceptional qualitative researcher.

1:2 Getting Started: Writing, Understanding and Interpreting the Brief, Designing the Optimal Project and Writing/Evaluating the Proposal

Overview

The process of writing a qualitative research brief and evaluating a research company’s proposal can be a daunting experience but is one of the most important steps in fulfilling the information needs and stakeholder expectations when commissioning a research project.

In addition, in learning to design the optimal project, participants will better understand the key steps to setting up a qualitative project including the importance of logistics for both the project and fieldwork preparation stages.

The course will provide a thorough understanding of the key disciplines in writing, understanding, interpreting a research brief and appraising a proposal. It will also provide an overview of how to accurately frame the project by setting the right objectives and to determine which of the possible qualitative research approaches is best to utilise.

The format of this part of the course is structured as a half-day collaborative-learning style where participants will be involved in a range of individual and group exercises. It is envisaged the course will run for at least four hours including breaks.

Objective

The aim of this component of the module is threefold:

  1. To understand the key disciplines required in writing a market research brief, specifically utilising qualitative research language and methodology.  Tools and templates provided will help participants further develop their knowledge in writing a brief that states its unique situation, business case, needs and overall goals.

  2. To provide practical tips and steps when analysing a research proposal i.e. what to look for and what would make it a great project.

  3. To design the optimal project by:

  • Sharpening and developing skills in setting core project objectives to ensure effective project ownership and management

  • Learning about different qualitative approaches, how they work and their benefits

  • Ensuring the key steps in setting up the project are adhered to and understood.


Learning Outcomes

On completion, participants should have an understanding of:

  • The structure and mandatory elements of a brief i.e. needs, objectives, issues and overall justification for commissioning the research

  • How to appraise a research proposal beyond hygiene factors such as timing and budget framework

  • Identifying the core issues that the research must address

  • Answer the business issue(s)

  • Which specific objectives will help to achieve the task

  • Range of observational methods based on degree of researcher participation

  • The two basic approaches to conduct ethnographic and phenomenological research

  • The purpose, benefits of group discussions and when not to use

  • The various types of group discussions available e.g. Triads and reconvened

  • The distinct purpose of in-depth interviews, its advantages and disadvantages

  • Interview methods available beyond standard one-to-one, face-to-face approach

  • Key dual role of recruitment brief covering recruitment specifications and screening questionnaire.

  • What to keep in mind when selecting a location of venue, type of venue, appropriate room type and refreshments

  • The role of stimulus to address project objectives, applicable ‘rules of thumb’ and best format.

 

Module 2:  The Discussion Guide

2.1   The Science behind the Discussion Guide

Objective

This short course is aimed at those researchers who have no or minimal knowledge and understanding of the purpose and role of the discussion guide when conducting qualitative research. The format of the course will be seminar style based allowing participants to discuss key topic points. It is expected the course will be two hours in duration.

Learning Outcomes

On completion, participants will have a good understanding of the dual role the discussion guide plays:

  • The process of writing the guide to help structure and internalise the research objectives 

  • How the guide acts as a support and back up throughout the dialogue with participants

2.2    The Principles in Writing a Discussion Guide

Objective

This half-day course will provide participants with a thorough understanding of the key principles in writing a discussion guide, introduce a process model to map out the key topic areas to be covered, ensure consistency and flow of questions/enquiry and ensure it addresses research objectives. Techniques on how to put your discussion guide into practice will be explored as well as how to adapt the discussion guide for in-depth interviews.

The format of this course is structured to be collaborative-learning based where participants will be involved in a range of individual and group exercises. It is envisaged the course will run for at least four hours including breaks.

Learning Outcomes

On completion, participants will have an understanding of:

  • The standard process in writing a discussion guide from broad introduction to questions that are focused on the detail

  • How to minimise questioning that leads to yes/no answers

  • How to optimise questioning for maximum engagement

  • Using appropriate language to the target audience

  • How to introduce stimulus/techniques in a way participants will understand

  • How to adapt the discussion guide for in-depth interviews such as laddering techniques

  • How to allocate timings to different sections of the guide to reflect its overall importance to project objectives.


Module 3: The Mechanics of Conducting Qualitative Research

Objective

This course will provide a framework for participants to follow when conducting the multi-faceted fieldwork stages (both pre and during) for either a group discussion and/or an in-depth interview.

The primary learning objectives for this course are:

  1. How to create the right environment for the discussion group that is conducive to productive conversation

  2. How to make group discussions work by understanding the group dynamics and life cycle, the various roles undertaken by participants and the key role of the facilitator,

  3. How to establish and build discussion group dynamics

  4. How to deal with difficult participants

  5. Managing client expectations

  6. How to optimise the performance of an in-depth interview

This one-day course will encompass a number of training techniques such as role playing, observing and analysing peers' assigned tasks etc. to allow participants to fully understand and experience the nature and complexities of facilitating a group discussion and/or in-depth interview. 

Learning Outcomes

On completion, participants should have an understanding of:

  • The important elements of creating the right environment before and during the group discussion session

  • How the natural lifecycle of a group i.e. Forming, storming, norming, performing and mourning stages impact the level of involvement of the facilitator

  • The various roles undertaken by the facilitator and participants in the group discussion

  • Techniques to establish, build and nurture group dynamics such as change of eye contact and using individual comments to build a group response

  • How to maintain the role of an active facilitator, not as a participant

  • How to pay attention to participant’s body language and eye movements and how to respond accordingly

  • How to actively and productively use your note pad

  • The importance of planning and building rapport and a comfort zone to optimise an in-depth interview

  • How active listening helps to reinforce the participant’s point of view and work on the research issues as you facilitate/interview

  • How to deal with difficult participants/stakeholders.

 

Module 4: Eliciting Insights

Objective

Discovering an ‘actionable’ insight is the most important, difficult and rewarding aspect of conducting a qualitative research study. This course will introduce participants to a number of concepts, techniques and tools to ensure every group discussion and in-depth interview conducted will elicit insights that foster the ‘AHA’ moment during the process of inquiry and investigation.

This one-day course will provide participants with the knowledge and practical skills needed for discovering insights that meet the research objectives. The course focuses on teaching critical concepts and common techniques for eliciting insights and assumes participants have completed the course, The Mechanics of Conducting Qualitative Research (Module 3). The course will encompass a number of training techniques such as role plays, observing and analysing peers' assigned tasks etc. thus allowing participants to immerse themselves in the science and art of discovering fresh and valuable insights.

Learning Outcomes

On completion, participants should have an understanding of:

  • How managing the thought-speed gap concept is necessary to discover and understand insights

  • The importance of building rapport and using simple and active listening skills

  • A range of questioning techniques from simple to more complex

  • How to leverage question probes for deeper exploration and clarification

  • How the need for stimulus varies in discussion groups/in-depth interviews

  • The importance of gauging non-verbal cues to stimulus

  • The range of techniques available to elicit insights

  • Projective techniques – why they are useful tools to overcome main barriers to participant response; the three categories of projective techniques; how to effectively use and analyse the insights from projective techniques.


Module 5: Effective Analysis

Objective

The process of analysing qualitative data is a discipline that ensures all the issues are thought through and grounded in the context of what consumers say and mean. Throughout this process, it is vital for the researcher to know how to maintain objectivity and focus on insights that are relevant to the target and client’s information needs.  The challenge is to interpret insights not through value judgments but rather through objective evaluations. The course will teach participants what to include and exclude when preparing notes for effective analysis.

This half-day course will provide participants an understanding of specific skills required in analysing information from group discussions and in-depth interviews.

There are two fundamental learning objectives for this course:

  1. How to incorporate the detail and ‘big picture’ (themes, hypotheses, insights and story) to refine and complete your story including implications in light of client’s issues

  2. How to incorporate the key steps undertaken for thorough analysis of group discussions and in depth interviews.

Learning Outcomes

On completion, participants should have an understanding of:

  • The importance of synthesising your thinking and notes to build a complete picture of information before you begin to write the presentation

  • Why the analysis process starts and ends with the ‘big picture’ (themes, hypotheses, insights or overall story)

  • Practical ways to optimise the analysis process

  • Access to key steps necessary to undertake diligent analysis of group discussion data and in-depth interviews

  • How the system of preparing and ordering your notes is used to support your ‘big picture’.


Module 6: Writing the Presentation

Objective

The process of writing a presentation is a learnt skill that can take years to master. The ‘aha’ moment often only comes after many trials and tribulations and, for most of us, many re-writes. However there are key principles when adhered to that make this part of the journey more manageable and indeed enjoyable. Working to a plan is critical.

This half-day course will provide participants with an understanding of the specific skills required in collating, organising and presenting the information and the insights gleaned from group discussions and in-depth interviews in a ‘story’ that is relevant and compelling for the audience.

Learning Outcomes

On completion, participants should have an understanding of:

  • Challenging deep-set beliefs about presenting ‘everything you heard’

  • How to work to a plan

  • The importance of consistency

  • How to plan and structure a presentation

  • The presentation framework – the key parts and their roles

  • Models for thinking and writing

  • How to create ‘the story’

  • How to contain the story – even with a plethora of information 

  • Meeting audience needs

  • Implications that work – how to balance research outcomes with business initiatives

  • The importance of the ’30 second elevator debrief’.


Module 7: Presentations and How to Inspire and Motivate

Objective

Effective business presentations are the cornerstone of information dissemination in the research industry. Imparting the insights in a relevant and engaging manner is a learnt skill and one that requires strong communication principles, both visual and oral.  Unlike seminars or discussions, presentations have a goal in mind – to communicate a persuasive story to a targeted audience with a specific outcome in mind.

This half-day course involves a ‘learn by doing’ approach where participants will be exposed to various presenting skills and techniques, but will also be asked to present and role play in order to complement/compliment the theory with a hands on experience.

Learning Outcomes

On completion, participants should have an understanding of:

  • Preparation required before the big day

  • On-the-day checklist – what to bring with you; what to do

  • How to determine your presentation approach

  • Hints and tips for presenting

  • A little bit of theatre always helps

  • Maximising communication – eye contact, voice modulation, the use of gestures, and movement

  • Managing your time and the room

  • Keeping the attention of the audience

  • Handling comments and questions effectively

  • The importance of ‘the follow up’

  • Client feedback

  • Peer critique/assessment.