Qualitative Research Consultants Association (QRCA) - QRCA Views Magazine, Spring 2021

QRCA – 1980s “We were a group of ‘moderators’, mostly based in the New York area, who did research on consumer products, media, and public opinion issues. We described ourselves as qualitative researchers.” —Judy Langer, a founder of QRCA QRCA – 2021 QRCA is the world’s largest professional organization of qualitative researchers. Members reside throughout the United States and in thirty-six other countries. While some QRCA members use the term qualitative researcher as their primary descriptor, other members use ethnogra- pher, social media expert, customer experience (CX) researchers, and user experience (UX) researchers, with UX being the fastest-growing descriptor. Evolution The scope of what the qualitative research world entails has vastly expanded in the past forty years and for some—like the over 120 QRCA members who define themselves as UX researchers—the qualitative research skill set is something that a UX researcher draws on. So, it was puzzling to me that there are many UX researchers (non-QRCA members) who are adamant that they are not qualitative researchers. I was curious about this disconnect and at the QRCA 2020 Conference in Austin, I had the good fortune to sit next to Mary Sorber, principal user researcher at Wells Fargo, and the co-chair of the QRCA UX SIG. Thus began a fascinating discussion on how/where UX/qualitative research overlap and disconnect, with Mary, and subsequently with two other QRCA members—Janet Standen, a broad qualitative researcher with extensive UX research experience, and Lauren Isaacson, a UX and market research consultant. Do Qualitative and UX Research Overlap? By Susan Fader n FaderFocus n New York Metro Area n susanfader@faderfocus.com 52 QRCA VIEWS SPRING 2021 www.qrca.org n TRENDS n