Ilka Kuhagen

Brief Bio

Ilka Kuhagen is an independent researcher and consultant, based in Munich, Germany. She graduated from the Ludwig-Maximilian-University, Munich, in business administration, having focused on marketing and psychology. After several years in consultancy with Roland Berger and UBM International Industrial Research, Ilka began working as an independent qualitative consultant in 1994. In 2016, she founded IKM GmbH. Bilingual in English and German, and fluent in French and Spanish she is a truly international researcher. Having been trained by CPSI in Creative Problem Solving, Ilka also leads workshops for ideation and co-creation.

She was a member of the Board of the Qualitative Research Consultants Association from 2006 to 2010. Since 2010, Ilka is engaged in Germany in Fachbeirat BVM and AKqua.

Ilka is a frequent speaker on topics related to global research and new methodologies such as online and mobile for qualitative research.

Member of ESOMAR. QRCA, AQR, ICG, BVM and AKqua

Category Experience

Experienced in b2b market research as well as employee studies, pharma and healthcare with KOLs, patients and physicians. Ilka also has conducted many consumer projects ranging from incontinence to online shopping.


A skilled facilitator of focus groups, executive interviews and idea-creation workshops, Ilka is also very experienced in online qualitative research (online focus groups, bulletin boards and communities) and loves to combine methodologies in a hybrid approach.


Tips To Successfully Organize International Research
This article discusses the different project management stages and special requirements of global projects. Spring 2014, Greenbook

Fact or Perception? Qual Differences in the Big Three Western European Countries

Summer 2013, QRCA Views

Interview: Online and Mobile Qualitative Research: Are we there yet? (in English)
At the 2012 Qualitative 360 conference, Ilka Kuhagen discussed with Elke Eich (Merlin Institute) and John Williamson (Qualvu) the latest trends and developments in mobile research.

Taking Advantage of Smartphones for Responsive, Targeted Findings (in English)
In 2011, Ilka and Janina Kuhagen set out to trial the latest tools for mobile research in a real project setting. They summarized their impressions and learnings for QRCA Views.

Webinars with Ilka Kuhagen

Mobile: New Methods for Qualitative Research – Changing the Research Landscape (in German)
Together with Janina Kuhagen, Ilka Kuhagen discusses the newest developments in using mobile technology for marketing research. The article published in Planung & Analyse (January 2012) is based on an actual case employing various mobile methodologies in exploring the eating culture and life style of young adults.

Listening to Nonverbal Cues When Conducting Online Qualitative Research (in English)
In this collaboration with Janina Kuhagen, Ilka Kuhagen gives practical insights into useful approaches in analysing online interaction with research participants. (related Webinar)

“Ein gutes (!!!) Gefühl” – Erfassung von Emotionen in der Online-Marktforschung (in German)
Ilka Kuhagen on the special rules applicable to online marketing research, their pecularities and on how non-verbal communication can help transmit emotions in this special form of interaction with research subject. (related Webinar)

Wohin steuert qualitative Online-Marktforschung (in German)
In May 2009, Ilka Kuhagen published this article in “Research+Results” (R+R) to summarize and analyse the key trends in online research. It is based on a discussion with corporate researchers in a hands-on practical forum trial.

Patient Experiences With Oily Skin: The qualitative development of content for two new patient reported outcome questionnaires (in English)
Following up on previous research by Ilka Kuhagen and her colleagues on the use of online methods in clinical research (see below) this article was co-authored by Ilka Kuhagen and published in “Health and Quality of Life Outcomes” in October 2006.

How Global is Your Village? – Why You Should Do Online Qualitative Research in Your Corner of the World! (in English)
This cover story on qualitative online research featured in “Views” (Spring 2008) is a detailed overview of Project Global Village. A similar analysis was published in German in “planung & analyse” (January 2008) and is available in print-format on demand. (related Webinar)

Virtuell in die Tiefe: Möglichkeiten und Grenzen qualitativer Onlineforschung (in German)
Published in “Research+Results” (R+R) in January 2008, this article analyzes the chances and limitations of online market research.

Online vs. Offline Research (in German)
Ilka Kuhagen’s follow-up article on online research in “Research+Results” (R+R) from May 2008 contrasts the advantages and pitfalls of online research methods with the traditional offline tool set.

Teenager und die digitalen Medien (in German)
This article from the German Magazine “MarketingProfile” (February 2008) investigates teenagers’ internet habits and behavior towards digital media.

A promising method for identifying cross-cultural differences in patient perspective: the use of internet-based focus groups for content validation of new Patient Reported Outcome assessments (in English)
A study on the use of online methods in clinical research. Co-authored by Ilka Kuhagen and published in “Health and Quality of Life Outcomes” (September 2006).