July 27, 2017

Whither Qualitative Research?

#Digital Africa
Artist: Gerd Altmann via PixaBay

Event: MSRA Conference 2016

  • Presenter: Dr. Caroline Mose
  • Affiliation: Technical University of Kenya / Consultant Research Expert
  • Contacts: mose.caroline(at)gmail.com
  • Paper Submission to MSRA Conference 2016
  • Conference Theme: “#Digital Impact – New, Now, Never Again”

Abstract:
This paper seeks to disrupt traditional ways of thinking and performing mainly qualitative social and market research in the light of digital advancements. Hinging on the argument that #digital coalesces around social media, mobile and apps; and that while low Internet penetration has always been seen as the key impediment to digital investment in Africa, the true picture is not as dark.

This paper hypothesizes that without a complete overhaul of systems and processes to align with the
current digital demands, qualitative consumer research and insight units will become redundant in less
than a decade to come.

My discussion and subsequent conclusions further suggest that qualitative research units in both market and social research will require digital expertise to keep tabs of consumer trends within social media spaces. Questions of research ethics will also feature as cross-cutting, considering that ethics is one of the key pillars of what we do as members of MSRA.

Download Presentation: (pdf, 19 pages, 478KB)


Managing and Leveraging Digital Impact for African Markets

At the outset, this paper seeks to disrupt traditional ways of thinking and performing mainly qualitative social and market research, (though principles could apply across the board) in the light of the leaps and bounds we are seeing in terms of both cementing the continent in the digital age, and cementing the digital age on the continent.

First, this paper hinges its argument on two premises: one, that #digital coalesces around social media tech and usage; and two, that while Africa seems to play second fiddle to tech innovations and digital access, and while low internet penetration has always been seen as the key impediment to digital investment on the continent, the true picture is not as dark. In fact, to coin a phrase, digital is the new black in Africa. Digital is the present and the
foreseeable future.

Second, this paper asserts that without a complete overhaul of the systems and processes of qualitative data collection, mining & interpretation to align with the current digital demands, consumer research and insight units will become redundant in less than a decade to come. The two variables here are qualitative project conceptualization on one hand, and the relevance of qualitative research in this field on the other.

Third, this paper attempts to suggests ways in which Qualitative Research can claim the digital, and how the digital can be incorporated into Qualitative Research in line with current and future client needs, arguing that a consulting approach is the only way for satisfactory client-research needs and demands. This would call for overhauling the ways in which we currently conduct research.

This paper is therefore guided by the key question: how do we as industry players manage the (virtual?) digital divide in order to leverage digital impact for our African markets through qualitative research? This is the key question that evokes further questions addressed in this paper with the aim of igniting further thinking and even debate that moves this digital conversation forward.

This paper ultimately aligns with the MSRA conference theme in a number of ways: first, looking at unexplored opportunities in qualitative research; and two, identifying the ‘never again’ spaces qualitative needs to consider in order to be relevant and cutting-edge. It also seeks to align with the conference objectives, including defining the digital world, appreciating the need for qualitative response and relevance going forward, and throwing the gauntlet by challenging qualitative practitioners to creatively engage with digital methodologies.

Read more (pdf, 19 pages, 478KB)

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