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21 May 2007


Mark McGuinness

I usually find that when a client says something like 'This sounds silly but...' it's usually the sign of something important that's in danger of being overlooked. It doesn't necessarily invalidated the rest of what's being said, and it needn't necessarily be a 'bigger issue', but ignoring it can set you up for problems further down the line. I usually look at it as a clue about something interesting that can add to our understanding of the situation. As you say, it's a tricky balance to strike, but healthy curiosity can be a really useful response to a 'wobble'.


Completely agree Mark.

I guess I'm thinking that a wobble in the artificial microcosm of a group (where people are unusually focussed on an issue and keen to be seen to be making sense) could represent the decision between buying something and choosing a competitor (without thinking too hard about it) in a retail environment.

Or, it could be that unspoken concern that gets picked up, researched further then blown into an issue by the media.

Or as you say, it's just an indication that there's something interesting we haven't yet got to the bottom of.


Being a client (obivously not yours) and therefore on the other side I had a wobble today dealing with a couple of agencies on some feedback on first creative drafts ... my biggest concern is that 'it does not feel right and I dont't know why' and of course being the client have trouble expressing why (english is not my first language techie speak is). Am I projecting. and therefore I will ruin some great creative thinking, or should i really stick my neck out and redirect ... ergg hard to know.

understand the dilema ... do I quietly listen more and hope something comes out and whacks me in the face or do I probe to get to a truth and risk getting sidetracked or worse still end up with rubbish creative becuase on endless interferance


Thanks for commenting and sharing your dilemma H.

If it's any help, I've generally found that when I have that sort of 'it doesn't right but I don't know why' feeling - it takes me about a week of worrying about the problem (in idle moments and in conversation with others) before I can articulate why. Do you have the luxury of time?


Fortunately was able to have coffee with my marketing manager, by then the words were flowing 24 hrs can make a difference


Hurrah! Glad to hear it.

Reshma Anand

Helen, I agree with your point of view. Somehow even in qualitative research, there is a subconscious tendency on part of the researcher and the client to fall back on 'numbers' - views expressed by 'many' take precedence over views expressed by a 'few' - though one of the motivations for doing qual should be to hear as many different views as possible. The respondent who said ' sorry i'm just being silly' could be using that statement in defense to cover up his view point that seems diametrically opposed to the one expressed by all others

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