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Mike wallace and research

May 23, 2006

Legendary journalist Mike Wallace left from 60 Minutes after close to 40 years on the show. At 88 years old he still packs a punch and can teach reporters and perhaps a few researchers a thing or two about their trade.

Last week’s 60 Minutes profiled Mike, showing clips of him going for the jugular, including one famous interview with Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran, where Wallace called him a lunatic.

Wallace is clearly a polarizing character, but he always asked the questions he believed people at watching the show would want to ask.

How often in qualitative research do we let respondents, who are being paid $100+ for their time, off the hook?

We let them contradict, we don’t push through the tough question and we let them off lightly. No one wants to make respondents feel uncomfortable, but it shouldn’t be a cakewalk.

Perhaps a little more “Wallace” would help us get closer to those insightful truths that everyone keeps asking for.

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