Qualitic analysis: You heard it here first . Qualitic analysis is where you use qualitative research methods to help analyse and process large scale volumes of open ended feedback. Text analytics software is powerful but largely stupid and so letting humans train these systems through qualitative analysis is the way forward. With the merging of social media and traditional research I think this sort of hybrid approach is going to have a big future.
Lifestyle mapping : with geographical tracking now readily available via mobile phones I believe we are going to layered on top of maps a whole lot more information about people's lifestyles and activities and when we start wearing glasses (https://plus.google.com/+projectglass/posts) which act as mini computer screens which I believe is pretty inevitable all this information is gonna get a whole lot more valuable.
Social influence tracking: Mark Earls has be evangelizing how many of our decisions are influenced by the crowd, but who is taking account of this in their every day brand tracking research. I think tracking of social influence it going to become an important benchmark measure for certain categories of products in the future.
Tribal research: Linked to this is looking at people as tribes and the people who buy certain types of brands as tribes of consumers. There is some very interesting pioneering work being conducted by the University of Bath School of management that is worth checking out. This book is worth a read on this topic.
Bonzia research: there is a global trend toward working out how to make shorter more efficient surveys with mobile phones set to become a primary channel through which research is conducted pressures to do this will only increase. Bonzia research is the art of designing small but perfectly formed surveys
Habit specialist: understanding how we get into habits how we break them and how we set up new ones is a really valuable piece of knowledge for market researchers trying to understand how to influence behaviour. Everyone should read this book i can see it being a hot topics in the next year. The Power of Habit
Research data banks: We are generating shed loads of personal data that is clearly potentially very valuable. Right now Google and Facebook and Twitter etc think it's theirs, its not its ours! I envisage a consumer revolution over the ownership of all this information in the future. The furore caused by Instagram trying to claim ownership of the picture we upload is a case in point to illustrate the power of mass consumer revolt, causing them to instantly back track on their plans. Someone someday is going to create a bank for it all and turn it into a personal asset that we and only we control and have the marketing rights to. You can have my purchase history if you like I am selling it to you for £10!
Implicit research: The mutli award winning work by Cog research showing how the speed of association between words and brands can help understand the underlying personality of brands is I think going to turn this into a must have technique for research tracking studies in the future.
Things research: all sorts of things now have technology embedded into them from cars to fridges to billboard. I see new research companies will emerge that specialise in turning these into to data gathering research tools.
Now research: OK we currently have some pretty quick turnaround research products out their that can give you responses in hours. The demand for this is growing and could fuel new breeds of research companies that offer instant real time research.
Social research networks: I see the potential for a next generation group of micro social pollsters and aggregators who keep abreast of what their friends think and report back. A step up from mroc.
Smart intercept research: as the quality of research that can be conducted on tablets improves (watch this space next year) I believe we are going to find these anchored all over the place to gather consumer opinion related to the experience people are having, be it in the queue to the bank in the changing rooms of shops handed around on train and planes, in hotel receptions, at the exit of every Mcdonalds. The future will be made up of an increasing amount of intercept research with a menu of research studies that people have the option to do based upon their experiences.
Segmenting by decision making processes: Watch this presentation delivered at the recent New MR festival by Elina Halonen I think she is onto something! Understanding how we "like to think" and how it effects our decisions is the hot new area of behavioral economics for next year.
Organic respondent generated research : Instead of writing a survey you simply pose a question and let respondents work together to answer it.
Consumer media: newspapers radio already heavily rely on consumers to shape content. Next stem handing it all over to them completely a newspaper entirely written and produced by the crowd, a radio station who's entire content is crowd driven. Researchers could have a critical role in helping to facilitate this.
Consumer products : likewise we have seen the emergence of co-created products in recent years but again the role of the consumer has in the main been that of a bit part, the last decisions being left in the hands of the marketeer. I see consumers taking over and completely ruining things in the future. Why not have consumer run bank where they vote on the fees they charge the profit they make co-create their own advertising promote the bank themselves. Instead of passive shareholders we have active ones who contribution is rewarded buy partial/micro ownership. Why not set up 2 banks like this at the same time and let them compete with each other. I am not sure if this is research or marketing but surely its an opportunity.
Prediction research: has not the us election proved to us the power of predictive markets once and for all? Why are we not all doing more of this. I think we will all be in the future.
Social brains: looking at the collective thinking of social networking and treating them like a giant brain. Now I am not talking about large scale semantic analysis. More mass ethnography mapping the patterns of thinking expressed in social
Survey games : Obviously this is a specific area of interest for me, surveys that cross the divide between entertainment and market research that can sit and be positively recieved within the social media space - watch this space
(ok this is only 17 as someone has pointed out! - any suggestions to fill the last 3 spaces?)