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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 […]


6 Holiday Trends for 2015

08 December

With the 2015 holiday season in full swing, here are the latest trends and stories that caught our attention: The backlash against stores starting “Black Friday” on Thanksgiving (sometimes even before the pumpkin pie has been served!) continued this year. In a refreshing return to normalcy, REI, Costco, Nordstrom and other chains chose to give their […]


The Neuroscience Behind Print Advertising

02 December

Magazine content is now available in more formats than ever, through the web, mobile apps, streaming video, and even podcasts. But marketers and advertisers shouldn’t be too quick to count print media out just yet. In a recent white paper from MPA – The Association of Magazine Media, Scott McDonald writes about the lasting impact […]