We all know qualitative research is an important tool in the marketing research arsenal. Not only are you able to hear directly from your customers, you also get a picture of why people act the way they do in certain situations. You are able to understand what perceptions, beliefs or values, create those actions with the help of qualitative market research.

Why Qualitative Research Requires Intuition & Curiosity

While these benefits are tremendous in terms of developing new products, communications and/or brand strategies, if you haven’t selected a moderator with expert intuition and innate curiosity, you won’t reap these benefits.

What does it mean to have expert intuition and innate curiosity? What enables some moderators to have it and others to still be working at it? And most importantly, how you can identify if your moderator has truly developed these skills?

Expert Intuition

Did you ever have a gut feeling based on, well, nothing logical or rational, you just knew there was something more to a situation? That’s intuition. It’s the inner voice that guides, yet has no attachments to any outcome. Having it not only allows the moderator to build rapport with qualitative participants and deeply connect with them. It’s about being able to understand how someone is feeling not only via their words but also their body language and energy. Having expert intuition also enables the moderator to know where to go with the discussion – even if it means going ‘off guide’ to get there.

Expert intuition is not a skill which is easily developed. It requires a considerable degree of self-trust. While many people sense the intuitive messages coming to them, they’re fearful about acting on them and this is because they haven’t yet developed enough self-trust. Instead, their rational mind takes over and creates self-doubt. It’s this self-doubt that hinders many moderators from further developing their intuition.

When selecting a moderator for your next qualitative project use your intuition (and trust it) to gauge theirs. How well do they pick up on the culture or dynamics of your business? How well are they able to connect with you and different members of your team? Effectively doing these things are clues you are dealing with an intuitive moderator.

Innate Curiosity

Understanding science, the universe, the common cold – all of our knowledge and advancement and ‘aha’ moments across the millennia is a result of curiosity. So, why shouldn’t your brand and business reap the benefits of that?

A moderator with innate curiosity stays open to what they are hearing, actively seeks out different points of view, and follows the threads of conversations, even those that were not anticipated when developing the discussion guide. All of this is done so they can take the topic and it’s learning to a deeper and better place.

Like expert intuition, innate curiosity can be a difficult skill to develop. It too requires self-trust, not fearing you will ask the wrong question. It also requires never accepting things as they are, relentlessly asking questions to understand why and never perceiving anything as ‘hum-drum’ –because the minute that happens the doors of possibilities and opportunities close.

When having initial conversations with your moderator, pay close attention to their engagement with you and your team. Do they ask questions and take advantage of your subject matter experts? Do they display enthusiasm for the topic? Do they work collectively with you to understand the end goals of the project? If they display innate curiosity in their discussions with you, that’s usually a good sign they’ll moderate with the same sense of engagement.

Combining Intuition, Curiosity & Expertise

Working with a moderator who has expert intuition and innate curiosity can make all the difference in the world when it comes to the level of insight your business takes away from qualitative research. Only a moderator who has highly developed these skills will get you past superficial insights and get you the true ‘aha’ moments – the ones that create lasting change for your brand or business.

If you’d like to learn more about our qualitative consultants and how they leverage their expert intuition and innate curiosity to deliver results, contact us! Our qualitative research team’s enthusiasm and genuine interest in your brand drives us to ensure we find the insights you need.