FEATURE7 July 2023

Carlene Wilson – research hero

Features People

The Market Research Society launched the Research Heroes programme to celebrate the sector’s unsung heroes. Carlene Wilson has joined the cadre of Research Heroes 2023.


Carlene Wilson, Senior Researcher, Kids Industries

Carlene is a quantitative researcher with over 10 years of experience working in market research. She specialises in online methods and is an experienced trainer, responsible for upskilling teams in software, analytics and research methods. She is constantly on the lookout for new and innovative storytelling techniques to ensure voices are candidly represented in all projects.

Carlene was nominated because she is "extremely collaborative, supportive, sharp – she is a colleague that we’ve loved having on the team. Carlene has really strengthened our work and continues to do so, by focusing on two specific aspects: software and data accessibility."

What is the biggest challenge you have faced during your career?

A big challenge, but also an ongoing challenge, was when I inherited a legacy research project (over 10 years old). It was during the pandemic, at a time of furloughs, remote working and all of the other things that we had to face. I inherited a methodology that had evolved overtime with minimal notes as to how to replicate for the most recent dataset. I made the most of the situation and flagged where I felt further attention was needed. Thankfully I was working with a team that I could lean on to resolve the issues as they arose to fulfil the editorial commitments required within the timelines originally set.

Inheriting someone else’s research is always tricky because although the process is the same, for the most part, people think differently and approach things in ways that naturally match their thinking. Learning to adapt to those situations however they occur have been challenging but also incredibly valuable for my career.

What will be the next big trend or development in the research industry, and why?

I personally think it will be a development in human validation, online research is incredibly valuable, and we need to be able to confirm that what happens online is between our research platforms and humans. I’m increasingly seeing the advances in AI and conversational responses online research and while we as an industry are reacting to what we know. I’m incredibly keen to see how we get ahead of this known issue. I don’t think it needs to be as extreme as intruding on people’s right to privacy, however I think there is a solution where we can more easily extract the humans from bots.

Who inspires you as a researcher?

The people I represent. As a researcher, I respect the time and effort that it takes for someone to participate in a research project – whether it’s an online survey, focus group, secret shopper.  I love getting to know them and what they are passionate about, as well as being the conduit to the organisations I’m working with.

View the full list of Research Heroes 2023