What We Do

Understanding; in a word, that’s what we do. We define the problem, the field of enquiry; we investigate and learn; we develop an understanding of the field; then we communicate that understanding to you.
Our task is to help you turn your ambitions into workable reality. To do this, you need to understand the environment you are working in. We believe that rigorous and intelligent qualitative research and analysis is the best way to achieve this.

Qualitative Services

research is a
core area for us

you name it,
we do it!

Qualitative research is the high end of the market research world. It allows you to see the subtleties and anomalies that quantitative methods often conceal, without losing sight of the bottom line. It is a difficult enterprise, demanding more of the researcher and the analyst; but the richly textured data sets – and profound insights – that it leads to are invaluable. We are experts in planning, carrying out, and analysing qualitative research; our reputation is founded on our rigorous and comprehensive approach to qualitative work.

Focus Groups

The focus group method is the most common qualitative approach. Conventional group formats comprise a number of respondents (conventionally eight) convened for a guided discussion for up to two hours.

The group format is not set in stone, and we suggest variations as appropriate: smaller sessions, split sessions, re-convened sessions, extended workshops and client immersion sessions. The group format is often viewed as ‘staid’ in light of new technologies and channels of feedback. In fact, the format is and always has been as good as the researchers undertaking the project. We believe that focus group methodology remains an important tool for garnering ideas about products, services, packaging, or concepts. They deliver direct access to your target audience.

Depth Interviews

Depth interviews – or face-to-face interviews – are typically employed when dealing with sensitive or esoteric topics. They involve only the researcher and respondent, in circumstances where the focussed opinion of the individual is required.

The interview can be more fluid and holistic – generally taking place at a respondent’s home or local venue. With the benefits of new feedback channels, we have developed a more fluid and collaborative approach to depth interviews. We can have a number of discussions over time, for example, through a service experience. In a recent project, we completed a number of sessions with patients about to have elective surgery. They completed a diary throughout their experience (written and video) followed by a further face-to-face interview after the operation. We believe this experiential approach results in richness of data, but keeps the material within the parameters of traditional research.

Hall Tests

Hall tests are a very useful research tool, often overlooked. They are fast, they generate significant qualitative samples, and they are very flexible and cost effective. Hall tests are particularly suited for tactical checks on communication, packaging or product. Equally, they offer an opportunity for initial exploratory testing without committing to higher-cost options.

Hall tests consist of a series of interviews conducted in a central venue, such as shopping centres or local community centres. The target respondents are usually recruited spontaneously from the High Street;this gives researchers access to people who might not otherwise filter through to mainstream groups. The venue can be utilised flexibly – we’ve tested new radio station concepts, advertising, packaging and campaign materials. We often incorporate filming to produce ‘vox pops’ –to give you the experience of hearing and seeing your target audience.


What we say is often at odds with how we think, feel or act. Sometimes this is by choice, but often it is a consequence of poor diction, rambling thoughts, inaccurate memory or conflicting emotions.

Ethnographic films offer a new approach. They reveal things which language alone cannot capture, observing what people really do, rather than just relying on what they say they do. They focus on environments, behaviours, attitudes and lifestyles, disclosing new insights that subjects may not be capable of articulating, or indeed even be conscious of.

Apart from the fact that it produces engaging and highly accessible footage, ethnographic film has established itself as a legitimate tool for analysis. It is particularly useful for fleshing out what makes the respondent ‘tick’ and explaining why they hold the views that they do. It can be used as a standalone methodology or as an extension of one or more of our other techniques. When it is used sensitively, ethnographic filming can bring to life the ‘unsaid’ or ‘unsayable’.

Immersion Work

Immersion work involves the researcher spending extended time with an individual respondent;this approach results in detailed and panoramic studies of peoples’ lifestyles. Typically, immersion work involves a number of stages, with extended periods of filming. This method is truly open-ended, allowing the respondent to take the lead and reveal ‘my world’.

Expert Review

Many clients wish to become more involved in the research process;you may want to engage more directly with your target audience.

We have developed a format called ‘Expert Review’. This involves staging workshop days with clients involved in initial focus group sessions, followed by an analysis session, drawing together thoughts and recommendations. Clients are energised by these sessions and they fuel greater creativity and application of the research findings. They are useful for a wide range of issues, spanning communication development to product or service exploratory research.

You can derive real benefit from a closer interaction with your target audience.


Analysis is the critical element, the business end of any research project. Our approach is rigorous and always questioning – what does this finding mean?We generally undertake structured content analysis,but we are familiar with other analytical systems. Our approach involves:

  • listening to our tapes, preparing analysis sheets

  • listening to other researchers’ tapes

  • mapping themes, tone, emphasis

  • leading to insights and recommendations

We feed back to clients on an ongoing basis throughout the project lifecycle. We adapt to each client’s preferred approach. Involving clients enhances the process;a co-operative approach always adds value.

We provide focussed, thought-provoking and concise presentations – with conclusions up front, and action-orientated findings: we promise to save you from death by Powerpoint.


All our projects involve a set-up or recruitment stage in accordance with the sample specification for each individual project. Recruitment sets out the specific type of respondents required. Our recruitment procedures comply with Data Protection requirements and adhere to the Code of Conduct set out by the Market Research Society. We are ICO registered and follow clear data-handling procedures.

We work consistently with our partner recruitment suppliers on all our projects. We use a mix of recruitment approaches: free find, contact lists, invitation or panel. Recruitment is carried out through market research industry-trained recruiters (also known as field personnel).

We believe quality research starts with effectively planned recruitment. We devise screening questionnaires for every project to ensure clarity, accuracy and peace of mind. We maintain day-to-day contact with our recruitment suppliers, to ensure success.

Our recruitment process is consistently quality checked and monitored.

Quantitative Services

Our quantitative work is bespoke – we are not a large quantitative house and believe we bring a flexible integrated approach. We build quantitative research and analysis into projects as required, whether standalone quantitative studies or multi-layered projects combining primary quantitative and qualitative elements. We believe we offer a unique service delivering insight, not reams of figures and data sets.

Our quantitative work includes:

  • Evaluating Communication Campaigns

  • Tracking studies (linked with on-going qualitative work, thus providing our clients with joined–up research)

  • Online/telephone/face-to-face studies


Market Intelligence

Why not get more value from the information available either internally or through public sources? Many clients have considerable insight and intelligence which could add value to new strands of work. Our trusted and experienced practitioners review, digest and crucially present useful reports. Our clients have gained value prior to embarking on primary research. Findings have helped shape thinking and begin the process of effective decision making.

Organisational Change

Change is a part of organisational life but can be challenging on many levels – from strategy development requiring senior management thinking in different ways through to implementing change across the organisation.

We offer a senior experienced team who can deal with the ‘tough’ changes often facing an organisation. Our team includes professional business mentors building on our research and insight expertise.


Know Your Audience

Otherwise known as ‘video pen portraits’, this process involves the filming of different sub audiences within, or across, a segmentation study.

The written explanation of a segment is not always sufficient. Not everyone is necessarily research-literate; the use of film can be critical for broader understanding of a research issue. The ability to present iconic individuals (as interviewed) is potentially powerful and far reaching.

Clients such as the Department of Health, NHS Direct, Cancer Research UK, and HM Revenue & Customs have benefitted from video-aided encapsulations.

Video Diaries

Video diaries are most powerful when done in stages; ‘before and after’ diaries are particularly effective and insightful.

For the Department of Health we conducted fully moderated video diaries (to ensure respondents kept to the topic) – this was for research into patient perceptions of heathcare-associated Infections. We assessed the thoughts and concerns of each respondent before they went in for an operation; we then recorded their views in hindsight for comparative analysis.

The end product was a series of thoughts, concerns and experiences fresh from the patients – allowing a ‘front seat’ for the client when evaluating patient perceptions of healthcare-associated.

Environmental/Ethnographic Filming

Environment and ethnographic filming work more or less hand-in-hand.

Our experience of environmental observation is far reaching.

We have observed a wide range of audiences of different ages, genders and ethnicities to gain closer understandings of their behavioural or attitudinal traits. We don’t simply observe these individuals, instead we go the extra mile to unearth why they behave the way they do, and what influences such attitudes.

With this understanding, decision makers can experience a ‘fly on the wall’ perspective of their chosen demographic. Decisions are more informed, when they are armed with a closer knowledge and familiarity with the audience concerned.

Vox Pops

Spontaneous interviews are great for capturing a snapshot of public opinion on any topics or issues on location. Vox Pops can be conducted in all sorts of places, such as: in-store, hall tests, on the street, sport centres, shopping centres, bars, pubs, airports, train stations, etc.

Typically, we spend a day interviewing to represent one location (much like a Hall day) – then we compile what has been said into a short film clip and present it in a way that answers your research objectives.

Vox pops have proven successful as introductory pieces at client gatherings or events, or as a supplement to more pinpointed and intensive fieldwork, such as focus groups and depth interviews.

Internal Staff Policy Development

Our film experience includes conversations with potential end customers, staff members and the general public regarding a whole range of issues. We have generated simulating video clips from filmed depth interviews for both the public and private sector.

We have delivered filmed insights with the versatility and quality to be used in workshops as well as presentations and ongoing training material for internal reference. This is a very successful product for generating fast interest and understanding of departmental movements or shifts, or anything that requires a clearer communication of issues, views or policies.

Film Works is a fresh and innovative development – our services offer you the following benefits:

  • We combine research with filming expertise, allowing researchers and clients to work and explore together

  • Illumination and discovery through participant observation. A client window going beyond the ‘spoken word’.

  • Innovative research methods that are film-based, but qualitatively engineered (e.g. video diaries).

  • Strengthening of research findings: greater impact, new dimension, further insight.

  • Fast access to key research findings across your organization.

  • Products can be delivered either in a presentable DVD format, or as individual AVI clips (burned onto a DVD/CD), which can then be embedded into presentations and reports. Talk to us; we can discuss your needs and tailor our service to ensure you get the right product.