I'm a freelance qualitative researcher, specialising in media, the arts and lifestyle brands. My job lets me talk with people from around the world about the stories that give meaning to their lives.
How I work
My craft is connecting with people, and luckily people find it easy to open up in front of me. I listen to people with curiosity and without judgement, creating the conditions that let them speak honestly.
Like - how is the nature of 'community' changing, from Inverness to Islington? What are the magic ingredients of a hit like Love Island? What elements make up the 'feeling of home'?
Tell a story
Like a journalist, I work by choosing what's relevant from a sea of sources to create a narrative that can have impact within an organisation, sparking creative ideas and guiding successful strategy.
"When I look at the world I'm pessimistic, but when I look at people I am optimistic."
What I do
My bread and butter is facilitating conversations in the form of focus groups, in-depth interviews, ethnography, online communities, and creative workshops. I'm inspired by having conversations with different people from all walks of life, from Sao Paulo to Sutton Coldfield.
I support teams across the lifecycle of a project, from designing proposals to shaping discussion guides and recruitment specs, through to writing topline reports and delivering engaging debriefs. I lead teams and act as the client contact, as well as delivering stand-alone support.
I work on multi-market studies, coordinating with international partners to understand local cultures. I've been lucky enough to be taken around the world with my work - whether observing groups in Seoul, looking through wardrobes in Beverly Hills or going on a night out drinking in Bucharest.
I work with research agencies including C Space, MTM, Hope + Anchor, Plural Thinking, PAPA Media and Join the Dots to deliver projects across sectors. Recently I have worked on projects for brands including:
"Ben is simply one of the best qualitative researchers it has been my pleasure to work with. I've engaged him for a range of media related projects where he has been a natural with respondents, engaging them to speak naturally and helping to draw insights beyond the superficial. He is also a first class analyst and communicator - with an exceptional ability to illustrate themes in an intelligent, compelling way."
"The pluralthinking team have really enjoyed working with Ben across a number of international qualitative projects in the States and Asia amongst others. He has a fantastic ability to connect with the human target being researched and to get to culturally sensitive insight efficiently. His thinking is always sharp, nuanced and very well expressed, making him a huge asset on our projects."
"Ben has a unique knack for putting consumers at their ease whilst conducting research. From fashion and cars to accountancy degrees, Ben has tackled a range of topics for me as a freelancer - and I have to say our clients always loved working with him and watching him conducting groups and depth interviews, and seeing how he seemingly effortlessly got consumers to open up and talk about their worlds."
Who I am
I have been working in qualitative research and advertising for over eight years. I studied Classics & English at Oxford University, where I read other people's stories, and compared the values and aspirations that make different cultures tick.
I regularly take formal training - most recently Advanced Qualitative Practice with the MRS, Human-Centred Design with Ideo and Fashion Trends Forecasting at LCF. Books, magazines and podcasts keep me learning too.