Observer role in qualitative research
One of the key takeaways of the new quantum science for qualitative research is this question of import, theoretically and methodologically:
What is the role of the one who is researching and observing consumers? How do we -- me, you, client teams, subjects/consumers, recruiters, and final audiences -- affect the research results and process?
We have a couple of choices to contemplate:
Is it us observing them as if We are solid observers separate from the observed and that an Other exists that I/we can observe without changing anything in that act of observation? If we take the traditional position/assumption of Us vs. Them, or Me observing Thee, it suggests that quantum findings are not more than a passing thought. We continue in qualitative research that has been formed upon assumptions created in traditional physics and older Newtonian-Cartesian thinking.
Or, is there a major revolution going on? That... the gaze, the filter, and the interconnectedness of such verifiable findings as electromagnetic field theory, symmetry, asymmetry, and synchronicity are indicative of a quantum, fractal reality that informs every research effort and expands them into quantum implications? This newer, more relativistic, more changeable version of yet-developed qualitative research is what might be suggested by quantum thinking that started in the 1930s with Einstein, then Bohm, Jung who connected the dots of quantum to depth psychology, dreams, and archetypes, adding in Pauli's work on alpha factor, and continuing with recent quantum thinkers winning Nobel prizes and moving at exponential speed of thought.
Things are not what they appear...nor are they otherwise.
Despite the fact that much of qualitative research is only addressing, peripherally, the new findings within quantum physics' revelations of what reality, relativity, and interconnectedness are -- we can and should ask these qualitative questions with some seriousness. Perhaps it's worthy of a paper at a qualitative research conference so that other interested researchers can join in the conversation.
Quantum thinking suggests that our role as observer in a research effort substantially influences and changes the research because the observer perspective is as much a part of the research as are the subjects under investigation.
And that the relationship between us as observers and research subjects, findings, teams, output, and action steps continue indefinitely within an interrelationship whether we are together formally or not. This is because...
...of an exciting but little-understood factor called quantum entanglement, a key part of particle physics proven in experiments but strange and hard to comprehend for research implications. Entanglement is called nonlocality; Einstein's term is spooky distance. When two particles interact, they become entangled, which means that one particle affects the other at a distance. The connection lasts long after they are separated. In entanglement, particles go into a state called superposition, which opens the way to unbelievable computer advances but also suggests that research components are interconnected in greater significance than we can possibly imagine from our current qualitative theories. And that research implications may continue at an asymmetrical pace that goes beyond the original project's length, objectives, or stages...the sum of the parts is and expands in far greater significance than the sum of the original parts. There is a new whole that continues to change, expand, and develop.
Asking why in a research universe that may have acausality as a key part becomes arresting and intriguing.