March 5-6, 2019

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Square Peg, Round Hole: What Are We Missing?

Room 3 | 1:30-2:00 | Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Contemporary social shifts are outmoding the categories that dominate the way we conduct qualitative research.

  • How do you classify a three-person family who lives in a tiny house? Are they homeless? Are they employed if they are using the gig economy to make ends meet? Are they a family if they are unmarried? What state do they live in if their address changes every month?
  • What is the household income of four professionals who live together as roommates?
  • If we are recruiting primary care givers of young children, do we automatically exclude all men – gay, straight or otherwise?
  • If people opt out of traditional education paths, does that mean they are not articulate because they opted out of a college degree?
  • Do prenatal products pertain to women whose biological sex is different from their gender identities?

Our session will build upon these themes and discuss the quantitative screeners we use for qualitative research and how coded lists limit our ability to understand if we are truly talking to the right people.

It will examine how to conduct qualitative research in a way that recognizes the breakdowns of traditional categories and delivers relevant insights.

Now more than ever, our research has to consider the foundational changes that Millennials have brought to us. People who live in coastal cities are living the ways their parents lived much later in life. They are living with their parents or with roommates longer. They are having children later in life and many are forgoing marriage.

As Millennials and Gen Z, we are doing our clients a disservice by not addressing these changing needs. We can’t generate actionable insights if we don’t adapt our paradigms to the present realities and recognize that some of our old categories need to be eliminated.

Presentation type:

  • Best Practice Workshop

Subjects covered:

  • Industry trends – future of marketing research
  • New techniques – qualitative and quantitative


  1. We need to rethink our research categories and modernize our approach.
  2. Questions need to remain relevant to provide the right kind of insights.
  3. For our research to remain relevant, we need to address the social shifts that have started with the Millennial generation.


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