Sitting in his college apartment, candles burning in wine bottles, a young Charles Cleveland would outline his dream to eager listeners and nay-sayers alike, that one day artificial intelligence would interview people. It was his futuristic dream.

The story starts in 1973. The year the MRI was invented, when Shrinky-Dinks were top sellers, when All in the Family (CBS) was the most popular show on television, when Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown (Jim Croce) landed as the number two hit on the Billboard’s Top 100, only to be beaten by Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree (Tony Orlando and Dawn).

It was also the year Quester’s founder, Dr. Cleveland by then, began conducting qualitative research built on the foundation of his dissertation, “Institutional Rhetorics of Discourse”.

Dr. Cleveland believed in the power of language. He also believed that individual thoughts, ideas, experiences, and opinions could only be captured in in-depth interviews (IDIs), not focus groups. He believed, even back in 1973, that they were widely misused, lacked individual attention, and didn’t allow enough time for an individuals to reflect and expand on their personal experiences without biasing others.

He also knew, however, that interviewing needed to be more efficient and conducted at a larger scale. The weaknesses of traditional qualitative research were too great. He successfully predicted that qualitative would be more widely accepted and appreciated if the timelines could be trimmed, and if qualitative themes could be quantified.

For the next 28 years, until successfully launched in 2001, Dr. Cleveland and his team of technology experts and computational linguists developed Socrates®, technology we leverage today to interview many people, in many places very quickly. This is paired with Aristotle®, our legacy technology that helps synthesize the language we collect.

Since then, Quester expanded its offering to integrate seamlessly into quantitative surveys, to explain abstract data.

Today, our research is planned by moderators, executed by artificial intelligence, and analyzed by trained linguists.

No more data without depth. More depth without scale. No more settling.

What’s next? Contact us to talk about it.

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