Serpents with tails in their mouths

Date of publication: November 12, 2007

Catalogue: Qualitative 2007

Company: Ipsos MRBI


Picture the Garden of Eden and the Tree of Knowledge. Around this tree stand so many Eves qualitative researchers who revere, create and deliver knowledge. They look upon the apples that represent knowledge with a hunger to consume and appropriate that knowledge for themselves and their clients. But in doing so, they often forget to ask the Serpent, who represents the respondent that gives the knowledge, about their experience. The Serpent's experience of sharing their knowledge as a respondent is often ignored in favour of a focus on how they reacted to the new product, packaging or ad as a consumer. This paper aims to address precisely this issue of being a respondent. It goes full circle and uses qualitative research to delve into respondents' experiences of being researched qualitatively in the UK, USA, India and China. It is about turning the tables, reinventing research and situating it in a different paradigm. Expect to come away with a sense of how research has got into certain habits and long-unquestioned assumptions. What prizes can be won if we dare to challenge these assumptions? Would we acquire richer, deeper, better and more actionable knowledge? How would we benefit? How would our clients benefit? Come and find out. Be prepared to have your assumptions about qualitative research challenged and your sacred beliefs questioned as we take you through the Garden of Eden.

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