Alice through the looking glass: the Qualitative researcher grows up

Luigi Toiati
Focus S.r.L., Italy


What you are about to hear – and see – is a story told in pictures by qualitative researchers (and others besides). It is the tale of a journey they made through the looking glass to catch a glimpse, like Alice, of a personal future that might be hiding behind a seemingly reflected image of the world.

In 2002 ESOMAR asked Alan Branthwaite and me to conduct a workshop on Elicitation and Projection Techniques. Alan was to develop the context for the techniques; I was to focus on the topic of collage, and tell attendees about a decoding system of my own invention: 'Tao Collage', so-called because it applies Taoist conceptual thinking to a semiotic framework. When I say 'collage' I refer to work done by a team who cut and glue images on a sheet of paper, and then write something underneath, about the topic submitted to them. The system I invented, as you may know, turns it into a legible 'story'.