Nicky Kearney

About Nicky Kearney

Nicky Kearney is a vice president of research and consulting in the qualitative group. She joined Market Strategies International in 2012, is insatiably curious and passionate about her work as a researcher. She has 15 years of research experience, including qualitative and quantitative ranging from local to global, including B2B, B2C, government, non-profit and education, but she has focused in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries for the past eight years. Her expertise spans a variety of methodologies and approaches ranging from in-home ice cream use tests to in-shower video ethnographies. She is a RIVA-trained moderator known for putting respondents at ease while speaking their language and seeking their story.

How Filler Words Undermine Your Knowledge

As a lover of language, I deeply appreciate that words are living, breathing things. They reflect our culture, and they evolve as we change the ways we live. Given enough time, some words fall out of favor while new words spring up to take their place. The meaning of many of those new terms is often beyond my understanding—I didn’t know what “Yassss Queen” meant until recently, and I’m still not sure I could use it effectively. For those of you who are as clueless as I am, this may help. Yet, as language evolves, there are inevitable irritations that emerge as well. One such trend is the overuse of filler words such as “so.” Have you noticed this trend? Have you participated in it?

“So” is most often used at the beginning of a sentence or statement and seems to serve as a transition, giving the speaker time to form the rest of her thought, e.g., “Sooooo, this research shows how our brand positioning is resonating with the key segments”. I’ve also heard “so” used as a means to soften what comes next, e.g., “Sooooo, I know we just stopped fielding, but I’d like to see the early findings from the APAC countries in three hours. Is that doable?”

And lest I be accused of throwing stones from my glass house, I use these filler words, too. Continue reading

Asynchronous Video & The Patient Journey

2015-07-newAs researchers, we hear–and are frequently asked about–‘new’ approaches, methodologies, deliverables…and so on. I believe true innovation in research (and perhaps in most industries) comes at a glacial pace, simply because many of the tried, true and tested methods are amazing, wonderful and solid members of our research family. This is especially true in quantitative research. However, lately I have been riding a wave of new research approaches that leverage today’s technology.These are fun and exciting projects to be a part of and are offering our clients deep learning, intimate insights and the opportunity for real-time, global collaboration as a team.

This is the first in a series of blog posts about these options. Today’s topic? Asynchronous video.

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Joe Bonamassa and the Power of Brand Affiliation

Sometimes, we researcher types need to kick back and have a little fun. So a few weeks back, I got an email announcing that blues guitarist Joe Bonamassa was to perform in my town. I was excited to see this musician in a great, small-ish venue. When I realized my travel schedule would find me at home that night, I bought tickets.

Why is this worth talking about, you might be wondering?

  • Because I had never heard much of his work.
  • Because I own none of his music.
  • Because most people don’t even know who he is.

And my decision to spend nearly $300 on two tickets was based on a brand expectation set by someone else entirely: Eric Clapton.

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Connected for Life: Mobile Technology and Our Health Care

Mobile Technology and Health CareI love my personal physician. She has shepherded me through challenging terrain with not only medical expertise but also candor, kindness and wisdom. I am especially impressed by her willingness to be on the cutting edge of technology, perhaps because I do not dwell on that early adopter cusp.

Over the past couple of years, I have seen more and more physicians tap into a smartphone or tablet while I’m interviewing them. All of this made me curious about physicians’ use of personal devices in their medical practices. What is really going on outside the confines of my discussions?

Last summer, we conducted a very short study* to get a gauge on this. The respondents were board-certified, practicing in cardiology, endocrinology, general or internal medicine, neurology or oncology, and they told us they use their personal smartphones, tablets and laptops in their daily interactions with patients. I was intrigued by the findings: only 1% of physicians who responded do not use a personal device in their work or practice, and 13% noted that they rarely, if ever, use such a device with patients. Seventy-two percent use a device daily with patients, and there is also significant use of multiple devices.

We have begun to answer why this is so prevalent, and we know it makes a difference. What we don’t know is how…yet. Here are six reasons mobile technology has become a common part of our health care experience:  Continue reading

Channeling Carnac for the Future of Healthcare

2014-05-carnacChange is very hard—this is not a ground-shifting observation so don’t abandon reading just yet. The degree of hardship varies with any change and can be dependent on a single variable but, more likely, dozens.

The sea changes in US healthcare have almost everyone talking.  As a qualitative researcher, I find myself either leading, involved in or listening to these conversations. Unbelievably, my close friends and family actually expect me to have answers about the impact to them personally, as if I were Carnac the Magnificent from “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” (if you don’t remember Carnac, I’m sure it’s on YouTube).

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Is n=1 Ever Enough?

2013-06-n1Three Dog Night was wrong. One is not the loneliest number. In fact, one is getting a LOT of action these days.

As a researcher who primarily works in the qualitative space, the question of whether an n=1 is ever enough really intrigues me. So, for the past few months, I’ve posed the question to researcher colleagues and clients. The answers are rich, diverse, often long, heated conversations.

Three Conversation Categories

Simply put, they are:

  1. “NEVER!”
  2. “Sure, we do it all the time.
  3. “It depends on the research goals.”

Why even consider this question? Because more and more RFPs ask for a sample plan to accomplish a broad—but thin—recruit, resulting in “skinny qual.” By this I mean filling a cell or quota group with only one or two participants within the broader scope of a research engagement. Our clients are under pressure to satisfy questions about ‘Group A,’ but aren’t given the budget or time to match the request. And so the n size suffers.

Let’s look at the different points of view for a moment: Is n=1 ever enough?

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When Generics Grow Up, Do They Want to Become Brands?

2013-05-genericStop for a moment and think about how you personally define the broad term ‘generic.’

What do you think about first? What feelings come with that term? Does generic mean banal? Unpredictable quality? Or do you think about generic products as equivalent quality and significant cost savings?

We recently conducted research on over-the-counter (OTC) treatments that left me thinking differently about the term ‘generic.’ I look at shelf space differently now when I’m shopping. And I’m intrigued by how brand names and generics share shelf space in our homes, a significant shift in just one generation.

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