May I Have the Envelope, Please? Six Movies Every Qualitative Researcher Can Love

Every year, movie fans pull for their favorite movie to win an Academy Award. This year, Qualvu is making its own awards – for the best movies ever made that involve some aspect of research. It’s a narrow category, admittedly, but one ripe with possibility and sure to stir debate.

So without further ado, the envelope pleasefor Movies a Researcher Could Love…

6. The Conversation. This 1974 film, nominated for Best Picture, revolved around a surveillance expert. Of course, listening to consumers is a bit removed from wire-tapping, but leveraging technology to find out what people are really thinking is a job we can all appreciate.

5. The Invisible Man. This 1933 classic tapped into a desire all researchers have: the ability to be invisible so that they can watch and listen to people in their natural element. The Invisible Man had to use a drug called monocane to achieve invisibility − which had the unfortunate side effect of driving him insane − but thanks to the advent of technology, we can do that drug (and insanity) free.

4. I Know WhatYou Did Last Summer. OK, most researchers would settle for being able to say, I Know What You Did Last Time You Shopped, but the name of this 1997 horror flick says it all. In fairness, knowing what people did usually doesn’t lead to discovering a murder, but rather, gives great insight into their attitudes and behaviors.

3. The Social Network. Nothing here about research per se, but rather, how social networks have become a critical research tool for reaching hard-to-reach consumers − making this a must for our list.

2. Magic Town. This 1947 picture featured Jimmy Stewart as a failed opinion researcher who stumbles upon a small town that’s statistically identical to the entire country. He and his assistants go there to run polls cheaply, easily, and secretly – secretly, because if the townsfolk knew they were being polled, they would become self-conscious and change their answers – defeating the point of research entirely.

1. What Women Want? What a great gift to be able to read women’s thoughts, even if you had to drop a hairdryer in a bathtub and be electrocuted to get them. In this 2000 film, that’s what happens to an obnoxious ad exec played by Mel Gibson. Too bad this movie was done in 2000− today, asynchronous mobile video allows virtually the same insights without having to ruin a good hairdryer.