Algorithms in qual research

Why I prefer the personal approach.

Whenever I am asked to use an algorithm for qualitative recruitment I am filled with disappointment (bit dramatic I know!).  Not all are bad but I feel most are suited to quantitative research where numbers are greater.

My issue with algorithms in qual is that they can be quite contradictory in terms of what they are asking. This can lead to screening out a number of people that should fit the criteria perfectly but don’t as the algorithm is too rigid a tool. As it does not take into consideration the respondents overall opinions and thoughts.

My preferred choice would be a pen portrait, which fits into the world of qualitative much better.  Pen portraits cover age and other demographics but can also focus on life-stage, attitudes and appearance dependent on the respondent profile needed. They can also give the researcher a good overview of who they will be speaking to.

Pen portraits used alongside specific statements they should correctly answer in the screener (defined by brief). It does more to ensure the right participant for qual research than I feel algorithms do.