The day before the interview, the organisation conducting the research sent me the following email:
Subject: Big Bad Pharmaceuticals Interview Confirmation: Treating the common cold with cake
You are scheduled to take part in a one-on-one interview at 6:00 PM on Tuesday, June 11th at the Ritz Hotel, 150 Piccadilly, London.
Thank you again for your interest in this study and we greatly appreciate your participation.
As I’m used to being on the other end of these things I carefully checked the email for any special instructions before I set off for the interview, but there didn’t seem to be any so I just headed along to the hotel.
The other day one of my clients was talking about multiple choice questions and it was strange – the term really jarred in my head. It just didn’t feel right in the research context. How odd, I’ve really never noticed that before.
I know what multiple choice questions are of course – they are what you see in magazine quizzes or some types of exams at school or university.
The response options are multiple, and the person answering has a choice of which to choose.
In the broadest sense there is no huge difference between a questionnaire I would write and multiple choice questions in these situations.
So why did it feed so weird to me?
It’s a great, varied, challenging career and I’d certainly recommend it.
Another year has passed, and almost before I notice it I’ve been self employed for three years. Three years! Wow! That is longer than I’ve ever had a post-university job for so the elapsed time that I’ve been running my own business is a significant thing for me. And in October I’ve submitted my 100th invoice, which seems like a significant milestone too.
I hear from all around that this is tough times, and that if I can do this now I can do it anytime. Well I can do this now, so fingers crossed.
Celebrating the third birthday of Ruthless Research is therefore all about permanence.
Something that self employment allows me to do is to watch TV at lunchtime. I like to watch TV shows about real people living their real lives. I do actually consider this to be work – although it is very enjoyable – but it is something that is really important to me.
I talk a lot in my work life and my personal life, with a lot of people, and people tell me about their lives. Sometimes more than they expect to. Because I’m interested, because I empathise, because I’m a trained listener, because I care. All of my life I’ve been interested in people. I’m interested in how people are the same, and different. I’m interested in behaviour, and motivations. I’m interested in what makes people as they are and how circumstances affect outcomes. This has led me to a degree in sociology, and a career in research. I now work primarily in the public and third sector because I think real people matter. I have a strong sense of social justice and I wish the world was fair. Through my work I’m out in the community talking to all sorts of people about all sorts of subjects. Often they are vulnerable people, often they are people whose lives are nothing like my own.
This happens when a respondent says something along the lines of:
- I love to have an ice cream on a hot day.
- Going to see a comedy show makes me happy.
- I enjoy spending time with my children.
… and then stops talking.