A day in my life as an integrated researcher



It’s Tuesday morning and I’m trying to find everything I’ll need for today’s trip to Norwich for focus groups. I knew I was going to Norwich yesterday - this isn’t a surprise trip, so you might well ask why I haven’t packed already? My only excuse is that an old episode of Australian Masterchef was on last night – my favourite. Luckily, semi frequent research trips away are part and parcel of being a quallie so I’ve mastered the art of packing my staples quickly and efficiently.


I get to the office and my colleagues are discussing what they got up to last night. Light-hearted chatter is par for the course at this time of day. The table pod next to me are discussing Valentine’s Day etiquette and I have to try really hard not to get dragged in (nosiness being a key reason I enjoy my career in market research so much!)


I check my list of jobs for the morning and look through emails – with a few live jobs and a few in the pipeline my emails are wide-ranging; updates on online surveys, a new project commissioned and a request for the evening’s focus groups are just a few. I’m an integrated researcher so my time is split between the two disciplines of qual and quant. Sometimes I’m in the office, sometimes I’m out on fieldwork – it’s very varied and keeps me on my toes.


I check some data tables and then join a proposal brainstorm on a new brief from one of my main retail clients. Everyone is encouraged to contribute, and I come out of the meeting happy that we can answer all of the client’s questions and offer them some new ideas as well.


The morning is flying by and I now need to sort everything out for my groups this evening. Printing and organising stimulus, collecting incentives, it’s all go. I’m ready in plenty of time and even remember to factor in the extra time I’ll need just to get to the other end of the office as everyone’s interested in where I’m going and why!

12:30pm - 5:00pm

We’re right by the train station so I’m settled in my seat in no time. 4 hours, 2 trains and a taxi later I’ve made it to the venue in Norwich. Stopping off on route to pick up some refreshments for the groups. This takes much longer than you’d think, the perils of doing retail research are that you suddenly over analyse every shopping trip – my weekly shop now takes me an eternity.

At the venue it’s an unusual set up, we have videos to show, boards to talk through and all this whilst being live streamed to the client’s offices. Anyone who has to deal with technology knows the risks but happily tonight everything’s going in my favour.

5:30pm – 9:30pm

My empty nester first group are chatty and even laugh at my feeble attempts at humour. They bear with me through all the different tasks we do and just before the end I pop out to call my client and check there’s nothing else to cover. Mild confusion follows as the delay on the streaming means to them I’m still sat chatting away not on the phone. All good from them – phew! We have a quick turnaround between groups, but it’s enough time to have some food to keep me going before we’re off again.

The second group of pre-family participants have slightly less to say for themselves, but I’ve had training which has taught me some techniques for how to handle scenarios such as this and I still get everything we need out of them – the client is happy.


Exhausted but pleased, my day is over, I jump in a taxi back to my hotel. I’ve got a train back to Leeds in the morning but for now I settle down to watch the highlights of curling in the Winter Olympics. Thankfully, tomorrow I’ll make the most of some lieu time, a perk of working here that makes life as a quallie a whole lot easier, maybe I’ll spend it actually learning the rules of curling!

Stephanie Gow, Research Manager

Chris Handford