When we start out in our careers, we are told that ‘objectivity’ is the holy grail – that we must stay objective at any given cost for fear of ‘skewing’ the results. However, have we stopped to consider that, in 2019, this is an altogether unhelpful – and archaic – golden rule? That in 2019 MRX’s ‘objectivity’ seems to represent keeping your distance, not giving any of yourself to the process and using ‘neutral’ environments in a world where intimacy, immersion and sharing is common place.

For example, consider the shared economy which operates on the proviso that it is okay to take as long as you give something.

Or consider the fact that the millennial mindset – which is trickling through to all generations – means formal boundaries and hierarchies are becoming a thing of the past, and there is a greater fluidity and flexibility in the way we interact with the people we come into contact with.

As market researchers, we need to reconsider both our role as researchers and the context in which we execute research. In terms of role, perhaps we should actively avoid being a ‘researcher’ as it risks putting us on the outside looking in. We need to remember that we – researcher, participant and client – are all participants in the process, working together to reach a goal. In terms of context, instead of insisting that research stays within a research environment, it needs to be more connected to specific customer culture. We need to enter their world and capitalise on their ways of communicating and living in order to get the best out of them.

Come along to Room 1 at 11.55 on Tuesday 12th March where our very own Rhiannon Price will be exploring how you can smash the one way mirror and better immerse yourself in your customers’ lives.

Rhiannon Price is Head of UK Qualitative Research from Northstar London

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