Vanity Fair Doesn’t Believe Their Readers Are Telling The Whole Truth

I started giggling while reading Vanity Fair, and it wasn’t because I was staring at Cristiano Ronaldo’s beautiful abs.  It was the intro to The 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair Poll. VF admitted in a sassy tone that they could not believe the results of their own telephone interviews; “for anyone looking over the results of our most recent poll, in which some of the answers seem to be, frankly, inside out”.  They go on to summarize some of the findings with such comments as, “we would have predicted the opposite…counter to our expectations…we’d venture that those proportions would be reverse.” And concluded with, “how would we know for sure?”

I love Vanity Fair. I know they’re smart and I applaud them for being bold enough to publicly question the results of their survey. I don’t believe that 9 in 10 Americans tell their doctors the absolute truth about everything either. But when clients ask why we so strongly believe in qualitative research versus quantitative I feel like I have some new support in my back pocket now. It’s in the follow up question, even if it just a “really?” which I believe this polled lacked. It’s the way she crosses her arms, averts her gaze, even laughs after saying something out loud to your face, the body language, the way she interacts with the other women in the group.  Not blindly answering questions on her cell phone while cooking dinner, painting her toenails or watching TV. Why do we believe in qualitative research? So we can see the Whole Truth.

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July 9, 2020
by Mary Lou Quinlan

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