VOLUME 21 • NUMBER 3 SPRING 2022 TRAVELWISE A Cheeseburger, a Wolf Spider, and a Confused Man Wander into the Woods TRENDS Here for the Incentive: Recognizing and Rooting out Fake Respondents Going behind the Scenes of the Movie Research Business with Audience-ologist Kevin Goetz LUMINARIES San Diego, California IN-PERSON CONFERENCE MOVED TO MAY 16–18, 2022 DETAILS INSIDE! Leveraging Natural Tensions Qualitative Research THE IN
SPRING 2022 TABLE OF CONTENTS TRAVELWISE: A thru-hiker of the Appalachian Trail reflects on what he learned from his five-month hike to complete the trail and what aspects of his journey he incorporates into his daily life. By Ryan Trismen A Cheeseburger, a Wolf Spider, and a Confused Man Wander into the Woods Going behind the Scenes of the Movie Research Business with Audience-ologist Kevin Goetz LUMINARIES: Read how Kevin Goetz’s acting background led him to start the world’s largest movie and media research company that conducts research on Hollywood’s movies and television content. By Zoë Billington 32 TRENDS: Learn strategies to utilize in watching for and responding to “research fraud” in research studies from experienced qualitative and UX researchers. By Sebastian Murdoch-Gibson Here for the Incentive: Recognizing and Rooting out Fake Respondents 40 26 SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT: This article highlights an approach—Polarity Thinking™—to manage the competing tensions that a researcher faces in the design and execution of qualitative research. By Liz Monroe-Cook, PhD, and Clare Dus 16 QRCA is the world’s largest association of qualitative researchers: • Members in 40+ countries, composed of professionals in UX and CX, ethnographers, sociologists, and traditional qualitative researchers. • Mix of independent research consultants, clients, academics, and suppliers. For more information about QRCA and joining, check out www.qrca.org. Leveraging Natural Tensions Qualitative Research THE IN 4 CONNECTING. EDUCATING. ADVANCING.
SPRING 2022 TABLE OF CONTENTS 61 FOUR NEW BOOK REVIEWS Attitude and Gratitude: An Autobiography, by Patricia Sabena, one of QRCA’s first presidents, shares the story of how she succeeded in qualitative research and in life, overcoming some daunting challenges. Reviewed by Jay Zaltzman FLUX: 8 Superpowers for Thriving in Constant Change, by April Rinne, explores how a “flux mindset” can help turn perpetual life challenges into inspirations. Reviewed by Natalia Infante Caylor If you want to supercharge your storytelling skills, check out Wonderworks: The 25 Most Powerful Inventions in the History of Literature, by Angus Fletcher, and The Sea We Swim In: How Stories Work in a Data-Driven World, by Frank Rose. Reviewed by Susan Fader QRCA member and UXer Dan Berlin edited 97 Things Every UX Practitioner Should Know: Collective Wisdom from the Experts, a highly insightful and absorbable collection of short essays by seasoned UX practitioners on a vast range of UX topics. Reviewed by Kay Corry Aubrey 8 FROM THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF 9 INDEX OF ADVERTISERS 10 FROM THE PRESIDENT 53 QRCA PODCASTS VIEWS Podcasts: Fred John Discusses Storytelling in Market Research QRCA NAVIGATING THE COMPLEX WORLD OF DATA PRIVACY 12 BUSINESS MATTERS: This article provides qualitative researchers with tips to navigate the fast-changing privacy landscape with some practical examples. By Jessica Santos ETHICAL DILEMMAS IN STUDYING FAMILY CONSUMPTION 22 TOOLBOX: Professors Ratna Khanijou and Daniela Pirani share practical advice for navigating the ethical complexities of conducting qualitative research with families. By Sebastian Murdoch-Gibson HOW TO WORK WITH STAKEHOLDERS IN A UX RESEARCH PROJECT 44 TOOLBOX: Learn how to leverage your qualitative skills to work successfully with stakeholders in a UX research project. By Kay Corry Aubrey FEELING OVERWHELMED BY TECH? 54 DEAR EMERITUS: QRCA Emeritus members weigh in on best practices for staying on top of new methodologies and tools in qualitative research. By Philip Smith, Jeff Walkowski, and Michele Zwillinger REIMAGINE RESEARCH 2022 IN-PERSON CONFERENCE SCHEDULE 56 NEWS FROM QRCA: This year’s QRCA Annual Conference experience includes a fabulously cultivated combination of specially selected speakers, along with a slew of notable industry experts from within and outside our QRCA world. Join us in San Diego! THE TREE IN PRETORIA HOLDING THE ANSWER TO A MULTIMILLION-DOLLAR QUESTION AND WHY THE REST OF THE WORLD SHOULD CARE 50 GLOBAL: A South Africa-based researcher draws from her qualitative research experience in Sub-Saharan Africa to share the over-articulation power of extreme users and how a magic-selling poster can spark ideas for the insurance industry. By Jani de Kock Global Research: Oana Popa Rengle email@example.com Book Reviews: Susan Fader firstname.lastname@example.org EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Tamara Kenworthy email@example.com Trends: Sebastian Murdoch-Gibson firstname.lastname@example.org Podcasts: Mike Carlon email@example.com Travelwise: Ashley Paulson firstname.lastname@example.org Industry Focus Tom Neveril email@example.com Luminaries: Zoë Billington firstname.lastname@example.org Business Matters: Mark Wheeler email@example.com MANAGING EDITOR: Karen Lynch firstname.lastname@example.org Toolbox: Pamela Batzel email@example.com Toolbox: Natalia Infante Caylor firstname.lastname@example.org Dear Emeritus: Sebastian Murdoch-Gibson email@example.com MANAGING EDITOR: Susan Fader firstname.lastname@example.org Schools of Thought: Karen Lynch email@example.com Humor: Joel Reish firstname.lastname@example.org Proofreading: Quinne Fokes email@example.com Digital Editor: Frankie Lipinski firstname.lastname@example.org STAFF EDITOR: Laurie Pumper email@example.com 6 CONNECTING. EDUCATING. ADVANCING.
I Love a New Adventure In 2015 when I joined the VIEWS team, I was looking for a way to engage with QRCA and was intrigued with the VIEWS committee. I vividly remember my call with then-Editorin-Chief Kay Corry Aubrey and how passionate she was about working on the VIEWS publication. She quickly sold me on the idea that this was the committee for me. Who knew then that I would be given the opportunity to helm the publication, which I’m so excited about—thus launching me into this new adventure. Having first started as Feature Editor for Schools of Thought, and then as a Managing Editor, I’ve worked with so many incredible authors and thought leaders around the world. I always found sourcing a new quarterly column as a fun adventure with an author as they took me along for a ride as they crafted their story. I’ve always loved a new adventure—my husband and I have lived in three states, and I always saw each move as a wonderful challenge. And the work we do in qualitative research—I always view each new project as an exhilarating adventure that clients are paying me to go on. Now, I’m ready for this new adventure as Editor-in-Chief. I promise our members and readers that our VIEWS team is amped and ready to continue tackling each issue to bring the latest trends, innovative ideas, and applicable tools to your attention. We have a terrific committee who have executed another great issue for spring with loads of applicable and thought-provoking information. Thank you to our new Managing Editor Karen Lynch and current Managing Editor Susan Fader for leading their teams with precision and a quest for innovative thinking. The theme of adventure continues with our Travel column featuring a young professional who took five months to hike the Appalachian Trail, an adventure he will never forget as he shares life lessons he learned along the way. And in our Global column, we’re taken to South Africa where we’re challenged to explore how the pretext of a poster selling “magical insurance” in a local neighborhood has the potential to disrupt a global market. If you’re one for pop culture (I admit I’m one of those), our Luminaries column features an interview with Kevin Goetz on his research career working in Hollywood. Our returning Podcasts Editor, Mike Carlon, features another luminary, Fred John, and how he has focused on storytelling in market research over a 40-year career. I love how QRCA educational efforts focus on applicability in our work—VIEWS delivers on this as well. We have two key articles in Toolbox, the first on how to work with stakeholders in a UX research project, and a second on how to deal with ethical dilemmas in research via an interesting case study on studying family consumption. On the other extreme from application is enlightening us to think in thought-provoking ways, and our Schools of Thought column discusses polarity thinking and how to leverage the natural tensions of qualitative research. With the lens on data privacy escalating in the U.S., our Business Matters column focuses on how we as researchers need to navigate this arena. And our Trends column highlights the increasing dynamic of fake respondents and how to recognize and root them out. We adore our Emeritus members and their Dear Emeritus column, and they provide a slew of ideas on how to focus our energies when overwhelmed with so many tech platforms and applications to choose from. Finally, our myriad Book Reviews offer so many great titles— be sure to check them out and set a goal of reading at least one from each issue. Please share this spring issue (qrcaviews.org) with your network, post the digital flipbook link on social media, and email your clients an interesting article relevant to them. Lastly, we love feedback—please let me know if you have ideas or thoughts on VIEWS. Happy reading! Until the next issue, Tamara Kenworthy Tamara Kenworthy Editor-in-Chief QRCA VIEWS Magazine On Point Strategies Des Moines, Iowa firstname.lastname@example.org 8 CONNECTING. EDUCATING. ADVANCING. n FROM THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF n
QRCA 2021–2022 OFFICERS AND BOARD OF DIRECTORS Roben Allong President Michael Mermelstein Vice President Joel Reish Treasurer Susan Fader Secretary Farnaz Badie Director Pam Goldfarb-Liss Director Corette Haf Director Cynthia Harris Director Anya Zadrozny Director QRCA is dedicated to advancing the impact of qualitative research and all who practice it. The statements and opinions expressed herein are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the association, its staff, or its board of directors, QRCA VIEWS, or its editors. Likewise, the appearance of advertisers, or QRCA members, does not constitute an endorsement of the products or services featured in this, past, or subsequent issues of this quarterly publication. Copyright ©2021-2022 by QRCA. QRCA VIEWS is published quarterly. Subscriptions are complimentary to members of QRCA and are available to research buyers upon request. Presort standard postage is paid at Fulton, MO. Printed in the U.S.A. Reprints and Submissions: QRCA VIEWS allows reprinting of material published here, upon request. Permission requests should be directed to QRCA. We are not responsible for unsolicited freelance manuscripts and photographs. Contact the editor-in-chief for contribution information. Any views or opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of E&M Consulting, Inc., publishers. Advertising: For display and classified advertising rates and insertions, please contact E&M Consulting, Inc., 1107 Hazeltine Boulevard, Suite #350, Chaska, MN 55318. Phone (800) 572-0011, Fax (952) 448-9928. Ad deadline is May 9, 2022. 1000 Westgate Drive, Suite #252 St. Paul, MN 55114 USA Civicom Marketing Research Services.......... 3 www.civicommrs.com 203.413.2423 Fieldwork.............................................................BC www.fieldwork.com 800.863.4353 InsideHeads, LLC.................................................5 www.insideheads.com 877.IN.HEADS Market-Ease........................................................25 www.market-ease.com 312.654.9910 Murray Hill National. ........................................47 www.murrayhillnational.com 972.707.7645 Paramount Market Publishing Inc. ...............25 www.paramountbooks.com 607.275.8100 Precision Research. ...........................................65. www.preres.com 847.390.8666 RIVA................................................................. 11 www.rivainc.com 301.770.6456 Schlesinger Group. .........................................2 www.schlesingergroup.com 866.549.3500 Strategic Market Research LLC...................39 www.strategicmr.com 501.247.3330 THANK YOU TO OUR VIEWS ADVERTISERS VOLUME 21 • NUMBER 3 SPRING 2022 TRAVELWISE A Cheeseburger, a Wolf Spider, and a Confused Man Wander into the Woods TRENDS Here for the Incentive: Recognizing and Rooting out Fake Respondents Going behind the Scenes of the Movie Research Business with Audience-ologist Kevin Goetz LUMINARIES San Diego, California IN-PERSON CONFERENCE MOVED TO MAY 16–18, 2022 DETAILS INSIDE! Leveraging Natural Tensions Qualitative Research THE IN Get a Subscription to QRCA’s VIEWS Magazine The QRCA VIEWS magazine is mailed to all QRCA members (except for Graduate Student Members), as well as to a select group of research buyers. VIEWS is available to everyone with an interest in any type of qualitative research—including UX, ethnography, academia, in-house research, support services, and more. To sign up for a digital subscription, visit www.qrca.org/page/views_ subscription or contact email@example.com. To become a QRCA member and reap all the benefits of belonging to the global association of the most innovative, collaborative, and passionate research professionals dedicated to uncovering actionable insights, visit www.qrca.org/page/join_qrca. Tel (toll free in N. America): 888-ORG-QRCA (888-674-7722) Phone: 651-290-7491 Fax: 651-290-2266 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.qrca.org www.qrca.org SPRING 2022 QRCA VIEWS 9 n INDEX OF ADVERTISERS n
The Power of Connection Hello members, By the time you read this . . . we’ll be heading toward spring and into the swing of 2022. Springtime is often perceived as a sense of renewal and new beginnings. Nature comes out of its winter slumber, flowers begin blooming, and animals come out of their hibernation. So too are we coming out of the pandemic funk . . . or, at the very least, learning to live with it as part of twenty-first century human life. One of the more interesting “under the radar” movements I have observed alongside all the changes we are experiencing is the reinvention and rejuvenation of connecting with others—from how to why to when to what we can do when we connect, everything has been completely disrupted because of the pandemic. For most of the past two years, in-person contact for humanity at large was reduced to maskcovered mini-moments, if at all. Connections were broken. We have lost peers and industry titans such as Naomi Henderson, a champion of qualitative research and the understanding of human behavior. Some connections disappeared completely as we squirrelled away in our homes, our pods, the places of safety and isolation against the dreaded COVID-19 virus. Forced to adapt to our new reality, we speak through face masks, use virtual portals like Zoom, and stay socially distanced. Every one of us has been affected in ways we could never have imagined. I’d like to think the research industry, and especially quallies, using every means at our disposal, have embraced new ways to keep human connection thriving as mindsets and behaviors adapt to the new “no-contact” normal. It is well-known that staying connected is integral to the health of humanity, to us. With accelerated acceptance of conferencing technology such as Zoom, Blue Jeans, WebEx, Skype, and others, qualitative researchers have remained the tuning fork for human connection— helping brands continue to meet consumers where they are. As qualitative methodologies and approaches are adapted to maintain and sustain connection in this new emergent world, we must continue to ask ourselves, “How do we as QRCA remain relevant?” What are the best and appropriate tools for researchers to facilitate effective and efficient connection? Whether it is building different kinds of rapport and/or communities; designing studies, questions, and stimulating conversations that engage in different ways; understanding and interpreting new cultural signs, symbols, and lexica across generations—how do we continue to stay connected to each other and to the essence of what it means to be human? As quallies, I believe we carry the torch for connection through listening, probing, interpreting, and finding meaning in the cacophony that is human sight, sound, and experience. Because of, and despite the in-person connection deprivation brought on by the pandemic, we are on a quest—now more than ever—to reach out and connect to others, personally and/or professionally. One size does not fit all and, through ongoing qualitative research, we continue to help companies, brands, and ourselves elevate understanding of the diversity of human experiences. Voices, especially those that had been marginalized, are being heard, some for the first time as we find new ways to reenvision connection. Let us continue to lead the charge and elevate national empathy as more light is cast on disparities brought on by systemic racism and inequality. With every qualitative research study to which we contribute, we keep respondents, brands, companies, and ourselves connected. The great humanitarian, activist, anti-Apartheid hero, and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize Archbishop Desmond Tutu once said, “My humanity is bound up in yours . . . for we can only be human together.” As we, QRCA, continue to forge forward fearlessly—taking a leading role in elevating the understanding of humanity above all—as the organization has always done, we strive to stay true to that by which we stand: connecting, educating, and advancing. Best regards, Roben Allong Roben Allong Lightbeam Communications (M/WBE) New York, New York email@example.com 10 CONNECTING. EDUCATING. ADVANCING. n FROM THE PRESIDENT n
While this may sound like a far-fetched example, it can happen! Typically, there are qualifiers that include: 1. Geographic location of the commissioning company: As an example, if a company is registered in Japan, the company needs to follow APPI. (See the table on page 13 for a list of key privacy laws by jurisdictions.) Typically, legal obligations are passed down to subcontractors. This means that when we sign a project contract commissioned by a Japan-based end sponsor, the contract will state we need to be in compliance with APPI. This holds true even when we don’t know the end client, and it is a nonnegotiable part of the contractual obligation. 2. Use of equipment: While more clarity is needed, use of equipment includes computers, recording equipment, servers, the cloud, and remote access. For example, if a project requires the interview recording be sent to Germany, GDPR will need to be followed. 3. Geographic location of study participants: Study participants can and should claim their protected rights given by their geolocation. In practice, when we recruit participants living in California, we adhere to the CCPA. What Is Personal Data/Information? Different laws have slightly different definitions of personal information, personal data, or personal identifiable information. Under GDPR, personal data means any information which is related to an identified or identifiable natural person (data subjects). Please note that information can be personal data even if you do not know the individual’s name, email address, phone number, or other “obvious” identifiers. E.U. personal data refers to personal data originating, controlled, or processed in the E.U. Such data can now include online identifiers such as cookies or IP addresses, as well as identif- ication numbers assigned to a data set. With data breaches, cyberattacks, illegal disclosures, record-breaking fines, and an increasing number of class action lawsuits, the stakes can be high if something goes wrong. How can qualitative experts navigate this environment successfully? This article provides some practical suggestions to help quallies better understand and navigate the complexities. (Please note this is not a complete list, nor legal advice. Please check the jurisdictions involved in your research areas.) Know Your Research Jurisdictions Given that many qualitative research projects involve multiple parties residing in different jurisdictions, navigating applicable laws can be challenging. For example, a study sponsor in Japan collaborates with a life sciences company in Germany; the life sciences company hires a researcher living in Boston to interview study participants in California and Kansas—and study observers will join from the U.K. and Canada. As qualitative consultants, we have recently needed to add another tool to our toolbox—an understanding of data privacy. It is now necessary to navigate and practice amidst complex global privacy and compliance rules. Because we are the ones who have direct contact with data subjects, we are responsible for providing the necessary documentation, putting all checks in place, and executing our research according to complex and often-changing rules. NAVIGATING THE COMPLEX WORLD OF DATA PRIVACY 12 CONNECTING. EDUCATING. ADVANCING. By Dr. Jessica Santos n Global Head of Compliance and Quality, DPO n Cerner Enviza n Surrey, United Kingdom n firstname.lastname@example.org n BUSINESS MATTERS n
record, process, and store are considered personal information and should be treated accordingly. What Are Some Best Practices for Processing Personal Data/Information? The most frequently used legal basis for qualitative researchers is consent. Some may suggest using other legal bases (e.g., legitimate interest or public interest), but because qualitative researchers have a direct relationship with the data subject (participant), consent is the preferred method for most privacy matters. If you have a direct relationship with the participant and can easily present terms for review and acceptance, consent is the preferred pathway. Typically, there is no excuse for skipping consent if you have a direct interaction with the participant. However, in doing so, we must ensure that we can comply with the “Rights of Individuals” under GDPR (other legislations such as CCPA all have similar requirements). • Right of access: “What do you know about me?” • Right to erasure/right to be forgotten: “Remove me from your database.” • Right to rectification: “Amend/correct my details.” • Right to restrict data processing: e.g., “Stop filming me.” • Right to withdrawal of consent: “I don’t want to complete this survey.” • Right of data portability: “Move my personal data to your competitor X” (very unlikely). • Right to reject automated profiling: This is a rather new concept. Profiling refers to automated processing that is used to evaluate personal aspects of an individual (e.g., refusing a loan or insurance based on automated algorithm). According to the CCPA, personal information is defined as: information that identifies, relates to, describes, is reasonably capable of being associated with, or could reasonably be linked, directly or indirectly, to a particular consumer or household. For qualitative researchers, personal information includes name, telephone number, and email address. It’s also likely that the video or audio files we Table of Key Privacy Legislation/Guidelines and Regions Legislations Country/Region APPI (Act on the Protection of Personal Information). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Japan GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . E U (European Union) CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . California CPRA (California Privacy Rights Act). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . California U K Data Protection Act . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . U K Industry Guidelines Insights Association . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . U S BHBIA (British Healthcare Business Intelligence Association). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . U K EphMRA (The European Pharmaceutical Market Research Association). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . International www.qrca.org SPRING 2022 QRCA VIEWS 13
By Ryan Trismen n Andover, Massachusetts n email@example.com A Cheeseburger, a Wolf Spider, and a Confused Man Wander into the Woods 16 CONNECTING. EDUCATING. ADVANCING. n TRAVELWISE n
I wanted to face that challenge, to chart out a course on my own, and try to absorb some of the magnificence that the Appalachian Mountains exude. But throughout high school, college, and even my first job, I never felt like it was the right time to go. It was only when I was 25 and idle during the pandemic that I felt stuck and needed to follow my heart. I was blessed to be in a decent financial position and decided it was the right time, so I quit my job to pursue that dream. When I finally made the decision to start the Appalachian Trail, I was focused on the physical challenge and wasn’t thinking as much about the mental ups and downs that would make or break my journey. I found that I had to tweak my worldview and understanding of myself in order to have the mental fortitude to overcome the persistent discomforts and ever-reaching consistency of the trail. It required planning, fluidity, and willingness to roll with the punches. As they say, “If you fight the trail, it will crush you.” In 2021, I hiked 2,193.1 miles along the entire length of the Appalachian Trail from Springer Mountain, Georgia, all the way to Mount Katahdin, Maine, and it was one of the best things I’ve done in my life. It was a dream I have had since I was 12 years old, when I first read Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods. I remember reading Bryson’s description of the trail’s rich history and interesting characters coming from all walks of life to experience an epic journey of walking the Appalachian Trial. 17 www.qrca.org SPRING 2022 QRCA VIEWS
A Cheeseburger, a Wolf Spider, and a Confused Man Wander into the Woods CONT INUED Preparing for a long-distance hike involved hours of research about how best to carry a life on one’s back. Stuffing a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, tent, cooking set, fuel, first aid kit, water filter, jackets, clothing, and a food bag all into one pack was no easy task. Adding in the heavy-duty camera I chose to bring, my initial pack weighed in at a whopping 40 pounds, which took weeks to fine-tune and adjust down to what I truly needed. Every piece of gear needed to be evaluated as extra ounces that I would feel in the thousands of steps I would take each day. I elected not to bring a pillow to save a measly 2.5 ounces, and certain food combinations were selected based on calories per ounce (ramen hardly weighs anything). A general food resupply strategy had to be made—how much food was I going to carry in certain sections of the trail? Would I hitchhike, walk, or shuttle into town? How would I get the right blend of nutrients to keep going? Finally, at the behest of my worried family, I reviewed an action plan for worst-case scenarios. Although the Appalachian Trail is not inherently dangerous, things like broken bones, Lyme disease, and hypothermia certainly weren’t out of the question. STOP 1: PREPARATION 18 CONNECTING. EDUCATING. ADVANCING.
Enjoying the trail isn’t the typical type of fun like spending a night out, sitting back and watching a movie, or getting dressed up for date night. Instead, “Type B” fun, or maybe better known as “embrace the suck,” was what we hikers were forced to do when “Type A” fun wasn’t available. There were many chances to face down tough situations throughout the trail, and my fellow hikers and I found it easiest to make light of the challenge by leaning into the discomfort and misery: • Oh, it’s been raining for three weeks straight and all my clothes are dripping wet? Awesome! • Are you telling me there are two gigantic wolf spiders in the privy? Man, I’ve never seen a wolf spider before! • We have to hike eighteen miles in -4 degree Fahrenheit weather in the Smokies? Don’t tempt me with a good time! The list goes on and on, but embracing the suck is a lesson that has stayed with me. If you can lean into the expected discomforts, be happily bewildered at some misfortunes, and take any excuse to laugh in a tough scenario, the trek becomes a lot more manageable. STOP 3: “TYPE B” FUN STOP 2: THE “SHOULDS” But most importantly for me, deciding to undertake this five-month hike meant hitting pause on what I call the “shoulds.” I should have been furthering my career, I should have been saving more money, and I should have been more productive. Pushing aside what I believed I should do with my time was not easy, but I never once regretted that decision. Ultimately, that is the aspect of my trip that I’m most proud of: I fully invested in myself. I completely threw myself into what I hoped would make me the happiest, and the trail ended up giving me more novel experiences than my original “shoulds” could ever provide—opportunities to test who I really was, challenge what I could handle, and learn to float in the unexpected. 19 www.qrca.org SPRING 2022 QRCA VIEWS
A Cheeseburger, a Wolf Spider, and a Confused Man Wander into the Woods CONT INUED I am generally a person who likes to complete his to-do list. I like to get ahead on tasks, so in some future, nonexistent world, I can have some moments of pure relaxation. But that moment of pure relaxation rarely comes. There is always an opportunity to get ahead, always an upcoming responsibility. But the trail has a way of forcing you to be in the present, equally through awe or discomfort. Without the constant pressure to look forward, I found that I felt my emotions more fully. Being absolutely present led to days where I was tearfully emotional in the woods by myself or buoyantly floating over rocks and roots. I took advantage of my time alone to overcome the walls surrounding aspects of my life that were inconvenient to think about, and I chipped away until I could come face to face with how I truly felt. Sure, I didn’t resolve all my flaws or become my idealized self, but I did make another step toward coming to peace with who I really am. I recognized that my habit of looking forward didn’t allow me to fully feel or be present. Today, I still catch myself reverting to those old tendencies, and I have to remind myself—“turn off the phone, listen fully, and stop trying to always get ahead.” STOP 5: BEING PRESENT There were certainly days or sections of the trail where I needed to lean on someone, anyone. A phrase commonly heard while hiking is “the trail provides.” I’ve learned that this really means, “the hikers and trail community provide.” If I complained about not having enough stove fuel, I would have four hikers thrusting their fuel canisters at me. I can’t even count the number of times that I was low on food, rounded a corner, and a kind person from a nearby town had set up a stove with cheeseburgers ready for hungry hikers. While I may have started the trail alone, I certainly didn’t end it alone. I hiked with people as an organized “tramily” (trail family) and was with others for just a week, a day, or an evening meal. That’s the magic of living on the trail—people come and go, never to be seen again. But what remains among the fluidity is a sense of purpose. We helped each other through the challenge, as completely random individuals bound together by one goal. STOP 4: THE TRAIL PROVIDES 20 CONNECTING. EDUCATING. ADVANCING.
I can’t express the feeling of hiking for over five months and finally getting to the summit of the last mountain. The joy and almost crippling exuberance that washed over me as I saw the sign for the northern terminus isn’t a feeling I could ever replicate. The triumph, pure relief, exhaustion, and bewilderment all hit me with equal force. But coming back to reality after this adventure isn’t the easiest task. I’m able to distract myself with schoolwork, but staring at a computer for eight hours a day just doesn’t come close to conquering mountains. Many hikers experience post-trail depression, in that their normal nine-to-five jobs don’t live up to the rapid ups and downs of the challenges and experiences of trail life. I don’t think there’s any real solution to this but to work on planning the next adventure and try to make everyday life as much like the trail as possible. So, even while in school and work, I’m trying to pursue what makes me happy, allow myself to be fully present, battle indifference, and lean on loved ones. There are many stories of thru-hikers embarking on the Appalachian Trail to find themselves, confront themselves, see a sign from God, or otherwise gain a higher understanding of what it means to be oneself. In the end, I didn’t unearth a dark secret in myself or learn how to perfectly be at peace with who I am. I guess I just felt more myself than I had before, and I think that may be just as valuable. STOP 7: POST-TRAIL BLUES I was never more in tune with my body than I was during my thru-hike. After a month or two on the trail, I would notice the texture on the handles of my trekking poles or how my foot rolled forward from the center of my heel to the end of my toes. I instinctively knew how many tenths of a mile I walked in the past hour and at what speed I was walking. I could sense how much walking a twisted ankle could take or when I needed to slow down my heart rate. Now, as a fulltime student, I still try to center myself by reentering my own body. I find it too easy when overwhelmed or focused on work to ignore the very body that I relied on for so many months to carry me from Georgia to Maine. I try to concentrate and embrace what I feel at present, whether it be how I am breathing, the way my back rests upon my chair, or how my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth when I focus. By noticing the little things in my own body and around me, it’s easy to be more present. STOP 6: PHYSICAL AWARENESS “The joy and almost crippling exuberance that washed over me as I saw the sign for the northern terminus isn't a feeling I could ever replicate,” says Ryan Trismen. www.qrca.org SPRING 2022 QRCA VIEWS 21
The seconds in which a situation like this unfolds are beset with ethical and methodological challenges. Seemingly small actions taken at these sensitive moments can have an outsized impact on the outcome of the study. For instance, outside of the research context, we might instinctively act to diminish the tension in the room in situations like this—especially when we feel some degree of responsibility for introducing the conflict. However, though we might feel the same social impulse in the research setting, this could be an intervention that closes off our ability to understand the couple that we’re studying and the nature of their conflicts. So, how do we proceed? In their recent co-authored article, “Ethical dilemmas in studying family consumption,” in Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, Professors Ratna Khanijou and Daniela Pirani illustrate in-depth three critical issues: • How everyday situations like this can become ethically fraught • How instinctive reactions to these situations can jeopardize research • How we can better navigate the ethical tensions that arise when doing research in intimate spaces Furthermore, they theorize five main categories of ethical dilemma when conducting research with families, and they Ethical Dilemmas in Studying Family Consumption Have you ever experienced that awkward moment when while visiting with a couple they start bickering, and you don’t know what to do with yourself ? Imagine that happened while you were moderating an in-home ethnography. Even worse, imagine that something you did—perhaps inadvertently— was the cause of the conflict. By Sebastian Murdoch-Gibson n Co-Founder n QualRecruit n Ottawa, Ontario, Canada n firstname.lastname@example.org Interviewed with Ratna Khanijou n Professor n Goldsmiths, University of London n London, United Kingdom Interviewed with Daniela Pirani n Professor n University of Liverpool n Liverpool, United Kingdom 22 CONNECTING. EDUCATING. ADVANCING. n TOOLBOX n
advance strategies for dealing with them. Khanijou and Pirani shared some of what they’ve found with me in an interview. Q: I’d like to start by providing some background. You drew on your experiences conducting fieldwork from two separate studies to come up with your five categories of ethical dilemma. Could you tell me a little more about the studies you drew on? Khanijou: We were each conducting studies on family and food consumption from a marketing perspective. We each used a longitudinal approach, being immersed in our context for several months, which presented several challenges. By observing couples over a long period of time, I was studying how family consumption routines, particularly around dinner, are formed in new families (e.g., newlyweds or newly cohabitating couples). The interactions of couples sometimes yielded emotionally tense moments and times when I was asked to become involved in their arguments. Pirani: I was looking at the impact of advertising imagery in family practices, in particular breakfast. When talking about our experiences, Ratna and I found that there were a lot of “itchy moments” we had not foreseen in each of our studies. There was a gap between the painstakingly long and accurate ethical approval process academic institutions require and the ethical messiness of field research, where ethical dilemmas often play out in split seconds. We wanted to share this experience with consumer researchers out there. Q: For each of you, what situations in your fieldwork proved the most ethically challenging? Khanijou: The emotional dilemmas were the hardest to handle in this project, especially when collecting data out of people’s distress—for instance, during a couple’s fight. I was confused on how to feel about witnessing a conflict in action that was both rich in data and emotionally tense. This emotional dilemma sometimes also became a practical dilemma, for example, when couples asked me to take a side in their fights. Being “the third person” in a couple’s new lives together was a role I had not foreseen. Pirani: I was tested by a display dilemma, which made me realize how much of my personal life was disclosed. When I was recruiting participants for the study, the spokesperson of a conservative Catholic association who was assisting with recruitment revealed that they had screened my personal Facebook profile and noticed some LGBT acquaintances, a detail that raised mutual suspicions and which ultimately led to her withdrawal as an important gatekeeper in the study. This incident made me realize how much of my life was on display to my potential participants, and that my personal life was a matter that could be disclosed beyond my intent. 1. Consent Dilemmas: exposing the discrepancy between the procedural ethics a project started with (e g , study design ethics, including statements reassuring respondents they have the right to anonymity and to withdraw from research at any point) and the ethical decisions a researcher ends up having to make in the moment during research 2. Display Dilemmas: the tension arising from the work the researcher does to find a common ground with participants and yet not step into a personal relationship with respondents or reveal too much that can create biases 3. Positioning Dilemmas: the tension arising from managing different relationships in a network or system of people with whom you’re interacting in the research setting (e g , couples in in-home ethnographies) 4. Emotional Dilemmas: the tension arising when respondents display complex and unpleasant emotions, and the researcher needs to be aware of and manage their own emotions while observing respondents’ emotions 5. Practical Dilemmas: the tension when asked to become involved in the lives of respondents beyond that of being an observer (e g , being asked to pick a side in a fight between a couple who are respondents in ethnographic research) The Five Ethical Dilemmas The five ethical dilemmas are interrelated. One ethical dilemma can be intertwined with another. www.qrca.org SPRING 2022 QRCA VIEWS 23www.emconsultinginc.com