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Research War Stories: Record verbatim in space provided...

In the popular War Stories column, which has run sporadically in Quirk's since 1994, Art Shulman, president of Shulman Research in Van Nuys, Calif., presents humorous tales of life in the research trenches, based on his own experiences and those of researcher friends and colleagues. Each month in our e-newsletter we feature a few anecdotes from past War Stories columns.

Freelance moderator Paul Schneller recalls reviewing screeners for a focus group he was to conduct. One of the questions asked was "What do you like to do in your spare time? (INTERVIEWER: RECORD VERBATIM IN SPACE PROVIDED.)" The replies were a bit briefer than Schneller had hoped. On every screener, the recruiter had written "VERBATIM," neglecting to record anything the respondent had said.

Market researchers always record responses verbatim, don't they? Ask that of a certain anonymous researcher, who tells about reading the recorded response to one of the open-ended questions in his study. "None of my business," the interviewer logged.

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