Qualitative Research Consultants Association (QRCA) - QRCA Views Magazine, Summer 2019

26 QRCA VIEWS Summer 2019 www.qrca.org This also gives you what is often a rare opportunity for qualitative researchers, the chance to actually… Work with Other Moderators. I know a lot of qualitative researchers through QRCA, and I have the chance to work with them on volunteer projects for the association and the industry, but I hardly ever get to actually watch other moderators in action or have them watch me. With MEMO projects, I can expand my capabilities as a moderator by watching and learning from other moderators and I can benefit from their critiques of my performance. Yet another benefit is that such large and involved projects often are run by some really high-level, freakishly smart and savvy people. Pay close attention to what you can learn from them and how your experiences are expanded by this one project. Make Use of “In Between” Time. Being a research vendor, I find that workflow is never steady—rather, it comes in great peaks and valleys. MEMO projects can be a way to fill some of that downtime with a bit of rev- enue to show for it. These projects often come up on short notice, sometimes only a few days in advance. (“Can you moderate next Monday or Tuesday?”) Therefore, they can be easier to plan into your schedule —you may not want to tie up your avail- ability six weeks out for two MEMO focus groups, but you usually know if you will be in a lull for the rest of this week and into the next. MEMO projects allow you to make productive use of that time. Many Small Projects Add Up to One (or More) Big Projects. As the late US Senator Everett Dirksen famously said, “A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.” You probably won’t be earning billions doing MEMO projects, but the point is the same—MEMO projects are small but definitely represent positive revenue, and if you do several of these in a year it can add up to the same income that a larger project represents. MEMO projects also are good for lit- tle mental exercises we all sometimes play with our income, thinking of a given payment not as part of overall general revenue, but as funding a par- ticular goal. The goal could be busi- ness-related, such as a trip out of town to visit a client, an enhanced listing in an industry directory, or a new com- puter. This also could be personal, for example the holiday gift budget, the vacation fund, or even getting the house painted. MEMO projects can provide the extra income to achieve these goals. Serenity Now! Sometimes client demands can be overwhelming, and it’s nice on occasion to have some money coming in that takes only a bit of my time without requiring me to deal with facilities and recruiters and other vendors myself. With MEMO projects there are no recruiting problems to deal with, no travel delays, and no money that has to flow through my bank account to pay out to vendors that can result in a cash flow crunch. It is nice to be able to step into that other world, work around in it for a few days, then be on my merry way. True, I do not have a solid relationship with the end client, but by the same token I find many good reasons for a MEMO project to be a nice diversion from the usual grind. Overall, I expend less mental effort and energy, and my revenue is just the payment for my moderating ser- vices. Simple, no hassles—serenity now! It Could Lead to Future Opportunities. In the market research business, it never hurts to get exposure to high-level players at major research, advertising, and marketing corporations. They may need someone with your skills in the future and remember working with you. They may take a new job or start their own firm and need a fresh sta- ble of reliable providers. Even if they do not have a future need, a colleague may turn to them for a recommendation. I am always glad to meet key people in and around the research industry because I never know where that could lead. Those Who Don’t Do MEMO Projects Some qualitative researchers prefer to not get involved in MEMO projects. I would like to address their common rea- sons for avoiding such work, not to show that they are wrong by any means, but to address these issues in a way that might open their eyes to the possibilities of handling MEMO projects: These Projects Are too Small. Usually MEMO projects are small, perhaps only a couple of focus groups or a handful of IDIs. You may not want to get involved in projects that are so small that they seem to not be worth it. But you also might find that turning downtime into productive time and extra revenue, while broadening your base of experiences, could be worth your while. You Do Not Have Control in MEMO Projects. It would drive some QRCs crazy to be involved with a project where they do not have major input on the discussion guide or screening crite- ria, they may not create a report them- selves that transfers all of the learnings from the research, and in fact they may not even know the ultimate research objectives or even who the end client is. These are characteristics of a MEMO MEMO Projects CONT INUED