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My Mobile Qual “Must Read” List from MRMW2011




Missed this week’s high octane MR in the Mobile World 2011 in Atlanta?  If so, here’s my “ignore at you own risk” list of presentations to review if you’re planning to provide or use mobile qualitative research in the future.  Powerpoints and videos of all the MRMW2011 presentations will be available for free online (see details below).

For starters, I recommend these:




1. Using mobile qualitatively to transform insight generation – Dana Slaughter (Slaughter Branding) and Kristin Schwitzer (Beacon Research)

This 20-minute overview from two experienced qualitative consultants concisely summarizes practical hands-on tips drawn from five mobile-enabled qualitative explorations:

  • Two all-mobile event-based designs;
  • Plus three different hybrid designs, using multi-media communications (text, speech, photos, videos) via participants’ mobile devices and computers.

This valuable overview will inspire you to experiment with your own mobile-enabled qualitative research, and to reach beyond tiny texts & tweets to try rich, hybrid multi-media designs.

If this presentation piques your interest, check out the QRCA Conference 2011 in Las Vegas October 12-14 where Dana and Kristin will go deeper with qualitative case studies that utilize mobile-enabled and hybrid methods, including one-time and on-going approaches.




2. Web technologies for mobile engagement: navigating the entry points for engaging on-the-go customers – Mark Salsberry, Co-Founder & CEO, and James Gardner, Co-Founder & CTO (JetJaw)


Techophiles and techophobes alike will be thankful for this enlightening primer on the mobile technology landscape today, and its future roadmap. Even if you’ve never wondered about the difference between web apps vs native apps, the vexing incompatibility between computer and mobile device browsers, or whether HMTL5 will ultimately save the day, you’ll be grateful that you took a few moments to let Mark and James de-mystify these key issues and instill some confidence about how they are likely to work themselves out.


Two client presenters provided rare glimpses into their companies’ mobile MR experience to date, and their outlook for continued use of mobile MR:

3. Brand Management during a crisis: leveraging insights for instant course correction – Ravi Parmeswar, VP Global Consumer Marketplace Insights (Citigroup) – presentation is not available.

4. Using Social Media for market research and new product development: the case of Hallmark – Thomas Brailsford, Consumer Understanding & Insight Manager (Hallmark Cards)

It’s hard to imagine anything more inspiring to qualitative researchers and users than hearing two top insights executives declare that — despite the significant amount of sophisticated quantitative research they need to do — nothing delivers “more bang for their buck” in terms of “activating decisions” than the compelling “human connections” that qualitative research can provide.  This includes mobile qualitative, which has made human connections possible in countries that previously fell beyond the reach of research.  Ravi and Tom agreed that mobile qualitative research will continue to gain a larger share of their total research budgets as mobile adoption and utilization continues to grow worldwide.

Once you’ve looked through these four presentations, don’t be surprised if you find yourself fired up to review more.  For some deep and different thinking about the very nature of research design and interpretation, here are two more sessions that are sure to intrigue:

5. The new era of expressive research: using technology for cultivating insights
– Tim Stock, Managing Director (secnarioDNA)


6. Mobile vs. online: modality considerations for data quality – Elaine B. Coleman, Co-Founder & Chief Research Officer (Resolve Marketing Research) and Dean Wiltse, Founder & President (Thumbspeak)

While Tim makes his case for designing “expressive” (vs. “reflexive”) experiences that “find the human within the growing noise” of our interconnected world, Elaine and Dean call some of MR’s most sacred cows into question in an effort to find new ways to make valid mobile “connections” with people.

In any case, don’t let the titles of the other 20+ sessions deter you.  Several that focus on surveys, panels, or other quantitative topics are also relevant to qualitative research designers and users because they discuss common issues such as:

  • Sourcing participants and privacy concerns (especially when photos/video/GPS are involved), which affect all types of mobile-enabled research;
  • The need to clarify (perhaps re-define) what “quantitative” and “qualitative” really mean in a world where mobile and social media channels make qualitative research possible on a massive scale, or where qualitative and quantitative methods may need to seamlessly co-exist within the same study.

Click on the image below to download almost all of the presentations from the MRMW11 conference (available from around August 3) and video (August 10) — it’s free.

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Betsy Leichliter

Betsy Leichliter

Qualitative Advisor, Leichliter Associates Llc