Future of Qualitative Research

Introducing the bounded, project based qualitative approach: Pre-conference interview with Dr. Raman K Attri from KLA-TENCOR

Developing a generalizable ‘how to’ framework of best practices: Introducing the bounded, project based qualitative approach is the challenging topic Dr. Raman K Attri from KLA-TENCOR chose for his talk at the upcoming QUAL360 APAC conference. The presentation is based on a brand-new method that has not been discussed anywhere in the literature or any other forum elsewhere. We had a conversation with him about the highlights of his session and the current state of Qualitative research.

Qual360: Without giving too much away – what is the core message of your talk and what would you like delegates to remember?

Dr. Raman K Attri: A little extra work of system analysis before the data collection phase goes a long way in speeding up the development of a robust best practices ‘how-to’ framework. The secret to developing a highly useful, educational and insightful how-to best practices framework efficiently and effectively lies in combining the power of Six Sigma project structure with systems thinking.

Qual360: Why did you choose the topic of your talk?

Dr. Raman K Attri: Professional, education, business and several other sectors rely heavily on conducting benchmarking and then developing best practices for a cross-sectional understanding of what works best with the best of the players for a given process, project or method. This is a crucial market intelligence tool not only to set new strategies but also for the content generation to educate the clients.

It is a big challenge to develop a generalizable how-to framework that could be applied across broader contexts, such as how a given problem has been solved by the best organizations. Qualitative research is the way to go. However, qualitative research, due to its virtue of being in-depth and measures to ensure reliability and quality, takes a long time. In fast –paced, moving markets or where the practices could evolve or change dynamically, a slower approach would be a killer. In such cases, the researchers need a quick but highly reliable, robust and trustworthy approach that does not compromise with the rigour of qualitative research.

I see it as a key gap in qualitative research which does not seem to offer such a robust method. The proposed topic will present an innovative method of using a bounded, project-based qualitative approach to develop a generalizable “how to” framework of best practices. The method was developed in rigorous research involving 66 bounded project cases which were compared to each other across several parameters through a structured approach. I think it will be insightful learning for the conference delegates.

Qual360: What motivates you to join QUAL360 APAC and what are your expectations?

Dr. Raman K Attri: QUAL 360 APAC is the only known forum in Asia-Pacific which covers the latest and greatest methodologies on qualitative research. Due to its focused nature, I think it is a great platform where the audience is a mix of practitioners, market researchers and professional researchers.

Being an industry-academic researcher, I am always keen on knowing more about what a given method can do and what further refinements can be added. I would be excited to see some business researchers keen on applying the approach in their context and share results or case studies.

Qual360: There is a lot of talk about the current state of qualitative research – how would you sum up the current state of qualitative research in 1-2 sentences? And what do you think QUAL360 APAC as a conference can contribute?

Dr. Raman K Attri: There are tools, software and technologies that can analyze the human interviews and qualitative data. These tools can produce inferences, themes and subtle relationship far more quickly than a human can do. However, we should not forget that no qualitative research is complete without human touch, eyes and heart. The qualitative researchers will have a tremendous responsibility to faithfully combine human experiences and technology appropriately to understand a deeper level of human experience in evolving times.

I think Qual 360 conferences lead the way to advocate a balance of human senses and technological power today’s time offers to provide insights into complex social problems.


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