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Do We Really Need to Ask? Part 2

01 August

Deb’s post about whether there’s a need to ask gender on screening questionnaires made me recall a conversation she and I had about a different survey. Deb and I have been colleagues and friends for years now, so I felt comfortable asking her why she worded one of the questions this way: What is your current marital status? Married/living with partner […]


Gender: Do we really need to ask?

04 June

I’m a qualitative researcher, and I regularly write screening questionnaires. The basic demographic questions we have asked for decades are: age, gender, marital status, education, employment and sometimes ethnicity. We do this for two reasons: 1) to ensure we include a mix of people, and 2) to exclude people who have no experience or interest […]


Myths, Truths and Changes in Qualitative Research

25 March

Qualitative research is practiced by a relatively small group of people seeking answers to questions about humans and our relationship to the world we inhabit. The sub-category known as qualitative market research is especially misunderstood. Perhaps this is because things change more rapidly in the business world than in the academic world. Whatever the reasons, […]


Information Empathy and Infographics

17 March

Edward Tufte, the father of data visualization, turned 74 earlier this week. Tufte is a fellow of the American Statistical Association, and has written extensively on the value of beautifully designed data illustrations, with respect for the reader’s time and intelligence of main concern. He coined the term “chartjunk” – the visual elements that clutter […]


Personas in Marketing and Product Design

29 February

With guest blogger, Margaret Boothroyd. What is a persona? According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it is “the aspect of a person’s character that is presented to or perceived by others,” or “a role or character adopted by an author or actor.” In the world of product design and marketing, the term persona is used […]


The Future of Football

02 February

As a qualitative researcher I am interested in how people reconcile contrary ideas. In San Francisco a few blocks from Super Bowl City the movie “Concussion” is playing. I can’t help but wonder how people make sense of the opposing motives inherent in these two cultural events. So I posted a query on my personal […]


Forging New Product Categories

12 January

Energems was recently accepted as a member at the Council for Responsible Nutrition paving the way for a totally new product category: supplemented chocolates. We hear a lot about “disruption” of existing categories, but defining a whole new product category is equally innovative and requires a firm grasp on consumer attitudes and behavior to be […]