If you think training is expensive, try ignorance

Derek Bok, Educator and Harvard President

Bespoke in-house training is most cost effective for small groups from the same organisation. You will have a course designed for your own needs, delivered at your own offices. All face to face courses have 3 months follow up support by telephone or email at no extra charge, to ensure people can apply what they have learned.

Assuming you need training  to do Depth Interviews or Focus Group/ Group Discussions, you will need to know most of what is below – as well as having a chance to practice and get feedback. Parts in bold are essential – the rest is optional, depending on the level of knowledge you already have.

  • Advantages and disadvantages of qualitative research – you have to know when and why to use it correctly
  • Range of qualitative methods – discussion, observation, collaboration, face to face and online. Are you really using the right method? Groups are not good for everything.
  • Stages of a project, recruitment and setting up
  • The mindset for working qualitatively – how to minimise and manage sources of bias, best practice in interviewing
  • Building relationships, empathy and rapport
  • Interviewing skills and practice
  • Group dynamics and how to manage the stages of a group
  • Managing difficult people
  • Using stimulus material
  • How to write a guide
  • How to maintain energy and engagement in a group or interview
  • Choosing and using Projective techniques
  • How to do analysis and interpretation (in outline)

The training is a mix of theory and practice – the most important practice being in interviewing skills and then moderating part of a group discussion.

Trainings are available at Foundation level (for people with up to 2 years experience but little formal training) and at Advanced Level, for active professionals

Other trainings cover methods, projective and enabling techniques, and analysis and interpretation, as well as more specialist types of interviewing.

How long does it take?

A basic moderating training is at minimum one intensive day. The recommended time is a day and a half, which allows time for the theory, practice in interviewing one on one, writing parts of the topic guide, experimenting with some simple techniques on the first day;  and then devoting the next morning to a practice group discussion with enough time to review the video, analyse what happened and give good individual feedback.

That gets you to the stage where you can get good quality data by interviewing, but does not cover analysis and interpretation (A & I) – other than to mention its really important. The essence of qualitative research is to discover the meaning of what people say.  The best way to learn A& I is to wait till you have some real data and then go through the processes step by step.

Feedback on videotaped groups and interviews

A lot of people just want feedback on their interviewing and moderating skills, with pointers for development.  If you can make available a recording of an interview or group, (with some notes on the objectives and topic guide), Joanna can provide written feedback. Full confidentiality of the project will be maintained.

Training Units

QualitativeMind can supply any combination of training units. The units are:

  1. Overview of market and social research  

Learning outcomes:
• Understanding of the context, benefits and uses of market and social research, with a focus on qualitative research.
• Correctly choosing qualitative or quantitative approaches for a project/ stages of a project
• Confidently justifying the use of a qualitative approach while being aware of its limitations
• Understanding of the language used in social and market research
• Knowledge of the skill base and what constitutes professional conduct

2. Setting up a qualitative project   

Learning outcomes:

  • Understanding of the stages and processes involved in a typical project
  • Ability to identify the business issue and create research objectives
  • What should be contained in a brief and how to  question a brief
  • How to write a proposal that sells and justifies the research approach
  • How to go about designing a sample, writing a screener and organising recruitment within the guidance of the Code of conduct.

3. Key qualitative methods  

Learning outcomes:

  • Understanding of face to face methods (groups and depths), observation and ethnography
  • Broad principles for using online and mobile methods
  • Know what workshops are and how they differ from groups
  • To be able to select and justify method/s for any given research scenario
  • To understand and compensate for the disadvantages

4. The mindset for excellence in QMR  

Learning outcomes:

  • Understanding of how researchers can inadvertently bias the findings 
  • Use tools to limit the effects of biases (combines later with interviewing skills)
  • Flexibility, skills, tools for further development

5.  Interviewing skills -includes feedback exercise 

Learning outcomes:

  • Being able to notice, analyse and improve your own and others’ interviewing styles
  • Probing without leading
  • Listening non-judgmentally but with full attention
  • Making interviews interesting and rewarding for respondents
  • Using emergent interviewing, eliciting and listening skills
  • Understanding and using rapport and empathy

6. Writing a topic guide  

Learning outcomes:

  • Understanding the different shapes, forms and roles of a guide
  • Principles of structuring a topic guide, including hypotheses and managing energy
  • Linking content to process
  • Evaluating other people’s guides
  • Managing client expectations

7.  Moderating skills – includes how to set up and feedback on a rolling moderator group  

Learning outcomes:

  • Understanding the role of the moderator
  • How to manage the expectations of the respondents, mood and energy
  • Managing group dynamics and processes, difficult situations and people
  • Question, tools and techniques to keep respondents involved and productive

8. Stimulus material 

Learning outcomes:

  • Understanding the main roles and types of stimulus material
  • Knowing how to introduce and manage it
  • How to create stimulus during the research
  • Best practice in working with concepts

9.  Projective and enabling techniques  

Learning outcomes:

  • Understanding the role and purpose of these techniques within qualitative research
  • Awareness of the theoretical underpinnings
  • How to use some basic techniques
  • How to explain them to respondents and clients

10.  Analysis and interpretation   

Overall learning outcomes:

  • Understanding the different processes of A & I and why they are necessary
  • How to analyse texts and visual material
  • Finding insights and developing interpretations that answer the client’s business issue
  • Principles of storytelling applied to QMR

If you want to attend an open training course, check out these links:

Market Research Society Training    The MRS offers courses relevant to qualitative research throughout the year

Association for Qualitative Research Training

Social Research Association Training

National Centre for Research Methods  A Postgraduate qualitative research methods course that can be taken as individual modules or a whole course. From 22 January 2015 at University College London.

And if you are in the US, this page: QRCA Training, will give you connections to a range of training providers.

Downloadable pdfs, internally hyper-linked to quickly navigate to the section you need.


Distance Learning for Depth Interviewing 

  • A flexible combination of Webinars, reading, exercises and interview feedback
  • Suitable for anyone with up to 2 years experience, who has not had formal training
  • Participants take it in their own time; use their own work interviews for training
  • Includes individual developmental feedback
  • Focus can be theoretical and/or practical
  • Customisation is possible

Webinars, reading, practice, feedback






Learning objectives:

  • Understand the purpose of qualitative research and how it fits into the broader context
  • Understand and use terminology appropriate to the interview process and the researcher’s role
  • Understand the Code of Conduct and how it applies to qualitative research
  • Understand how and when to use depth interviews and what their strengths and weaknesses are
  • Be clear about sources of bias and how to minimise them through processes and interviewing skills
  • Know the principles of designing and using a discussion guide
  • Demonstrate effective eliciting and listening skills showing best practice in interviewing
  • Understand the importance of eliciting good quality data for analysis and interpretation





If there are no courses running when you need them, and there are not enough people to warrant an in-house training, you can get Multimedia Interactive Coaching from QualitativeMind.  This fancy title is just a way of saying I can be really creative about getting the help you need. So far, I have used:

  • Skype or Join Me to deliver a presentation with questions and discussion
  • Private channels on YouTube to upload videos of groups or interviews for feedback
  • An online group platform to teach how to moderate online groups
  • Telephone mentoring and support
  • A collaborative workspace for coaching on project materials

We are now all part of the research and insight profession, and that means so much more than just running groups.

A professional:

  • Can understand and apply best practice for rigour and quality research decisions
  • Is able to provide strategic marketing intelligence and customer insight
  • Can plan, design, manage and lead research projects
  • Be aware of cutting edge thinking to assess and develop new methods and techniques
  • Work with other business functions and third parties

The Market Research Society now has a programme for Continuous Professional Development.  It enables you to demonstrate your achievements, gain recognition, and take control of your career.

The MRS CPD scheme is only available to members of the Society, but you may find your organisation has its own CPD scheme. The essence of any CPD scheme is to understand what you have yet to learn or master, and create a Development Plan. Then you record all your learning and development activities, track your progress and plan your future needs.

Learning and development activities would including attending courses, webinars, conferences, reading books and journals – all the things you may be already doing – as long as they meet set learning criteria.