Being There – Face-to-Face Qualitative Research

Human beings are social animals. In our herding together at a sporting arena, theatre or cinema auditorium we instinctively feel a power greater than ourselves. Football fans describe themselves as the twelfth man, participants in their team’s struggle, not merely observers. The chanting and barracking of opponents is robbed of potency if directed at a TV. This desire to be there is integral to emotional engagement at any live sport. Despite camera phones and the sharing of footage on social media we know, deep down within us, that we can’t take the live moment home. As the Olympics gained momentum so the demand grew for tickets that granted access only to the park. ‘I just wanted to be there’ people said. Examining a spectator’s uploaded video will not reveal to us their memory of time spent because ‘being there’ is about having your individual senses awakened by the bigger, communal focus. It is about enjoying heightened personal moments that occur within the fold of the wider group.

Research based solely on digital reaction and response will not track emotional pushes and pulls. To understand the role emotion plays in influencing the choices consumers make requires face-to-face qualitative research. It is by encouraging participants to engage with one another that the research comes alive. It is by observing the codes and dynamics at play. Visceral responses are not apparent from the start. Substanceqi create forums that afford our clients access to these tell-all emotions.

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