7 Responses

  1. Annie Pettit, Chief Research Officer, Peanut Labs

    I wouldn’t want to work with someone who wasn’t emotionally affected by the research they did! That would be a pretty boring person, and likely very ineffective person!

  2. Edward Appleton
    Edward Appleton at |

    Hi Annie, thanks for your comment. Sounds like you never met a Researcher who wasn’t emotionally affected by a Project? But just as a matter of interest – why would someone who is analytically brilliant, for example, but more emotionally detached, be ineffective? Cultural aspects?

  3. Paul Bolls
    Paul Bolls at |

    As a communication scientist who uses Media Psychophysiology (Biometric Research) to examine how individuals process and respond to media content and technology this is a great reminder that research should never be solely about using people as “measures.” It’s easy for social empirical scientists to adopt that perspective. This is my geeky quant researcher take on being moved by my research. That and the passion I have for the research agenda.

  4. Ellen Woods
    Ellen Woods at |

    I used to do a lot of one on ones in the medical arena. For a couple of years, I was doing work with HIV+ patients for a company that was creating drug cocktails back in the days when methods were less effective than today.

    It was very difficulty to listen to their stories knowing that the purpose of the research was to ultimately create an effective price mix for next generation products. Often the discussion on side effects led to the knowledge that a life partner was also infected, had passed away or was not showing symptoms but lived in fear. Many of these patients also had HIV related cancers.

    Those interviews were incredibly hard to conduct but after awhile you begin to realize how random life events can be and how much we take for granted everyday. I was reminded of this again when I did interviews with homeless women with children. They wanted the same things all parents want and they weren’t the stereotype of drug users, irresponsible or worthless. They were poor, often had high school educations or some college and often their circumstances came from layoffs or firings because they had no support network and missed work because their kids were sick.

    Although the reports were generally pretty easy and there were clear findings, it was still a funny feeling to strip out the emotion and boil the findings down to nameless participants, open ends and key drivers. Most of the client researchers outsourced the work for that very reason. You do what you get paid to do and when you feel like you have had enough you move on. In my case, I moved on to corporate research where people lover or hate products and the world doesn’t end on any decision. The worst thing you see is a client who doesn’t buy the findings and you have to justify.

    It’s fun to see people get excited about a potential product and its interesting to see people reject a product or brand and even more interesting to study how loyalty evolves and at the end of the day, it stays on your desk, not in your head.

    I got into research with the idea that the world could be a little better with the right research and I am not sure that is really true but I’d like to think that the things I do at least don’t make it any worse. If you love what you do there is always an emotion because you are invested. When you quit loving it, you need to move on and find something that does make you feel happy.

  5. Edward appleton
    Edward appleton at |

    Ellen – “thank you for sharing” is a tired phrase, but honestly, thank you for writing such a moving comment.

    Paul – we’re all geeky. I’d love to hear more about your take on the research agenda. Thanks so much for chipping in

  6. dave mccaughan
    dave mccaughan at |

    nice article, great debate material. I suggest ESOMAR think about putting this on stage some time at CONGRESS. Like Annie I can’t imagine a researcher who does not get involved in any subject. we are afterall human. everything, everything is subjective from the way we express ourselves in a meeting with the client to how we design research. we are certainly subjective in our selection of methods and how we interpret what we find. it does not make for lesser research. It often makes for better learning. Surely we have all been involved in a study where we violently disagreed with what respondents were telling us … but learnt from it ? I know I certainly have.

  7. Edward appleton
    Edward appleton at |

    Hi Dave, it would be a great thing for Congress – “if only connect” motto, and then putting some WOW into that, which Ellen certainly did for me with her comments, or rather her moving narrative. Submission for papers is closed, as I recall – but maybe there are other platforms.


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