Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Enigma Farewell

As many who read this will know, for the last two years we have been running a viewing facility alongside our research business. But this week sees the end of Enigma as we close its doors for the final time.

Reflecting on the experiences we have had, a curate’s egg is the phrase which comes to mind. It has definitely only been good in parts.

Good when we’ve had pleasant visitors and clients who have treated our facility and its staff with respect and a touch of dignity. Not so good when our members of staff have been treated as minions and respect has been notable by its absence.

When we took on Enigma I think I was living under the impression that people who did a similar job to the one I did – moderating groups, often in viewing facilities – were probably all at least a little something like me. I tend to be quite friendly and pleasant to people whom I meet for the first time. It is part of what I think makes me good at what I do.

The reality is that through running Enigma I now realise that I may be a rarer species in the world of qualitative research than I thought I once was.

Because at Enigma I’ve had people grunt at me when I’ve offered to make them some labels. At Enigma I’ve had people telling clients that they’re ‘stuck with’ our facility because there aren’t many places like ours in the north-west. And that was before they had walked through the door.

At Enigma I’ve had someone ring to ask directions saying that she thought she was nearby because she’s just turned into a road which feels like ‘Stig of the dump’ land.

So not too many tears will be shed as the keys are turned for the final time. The state of the economy has meant that this has not been the most successful venture we have undertaken. But possibly equally as depressing as that has been the insight this has given us into the way some researchers operate when they use viewing facilities like ours.

Come on qually types – some of you are giving us a bad name…