| Qualitative Research
| Online Qualitative Research
Online Qualitative Research
Decision Analyst conducts hundreds of in-person focus groups every year, but increasingly some of this qualitative work is shifting to the Internet. The reasons:
- Worldwide Reach. With our global Internet panels, online qualitative research can be conducted across time zones in multiple
countries and in multiple languages.
- Internet-Adapted Techniques. The online environment is not ideal for traditional qualitative methods, but we have adapted our
techniques to take advantage of the Internet's unique characteristics.
- Superior Sampling. Our online qualitative research uses probability samples to better represent the target audience and can include
rural areas and smaller cities. In contrast, most in-person groups are conducted in a few major urban markets.
- Minimal Bias. Group social pressure is minimal in online qualitative research.
- Honesty. An anonymous environment can be created online that leads to openness and honesty in discussing sensitive topics,
such as money, sex, politically incorrect views, etc.
- Convenience. Respondents can review the moderator's questions and post their answers at their convenience.
- Thoughtful Responses. In online qualitative research,
the respondents have more time to reflect on their answers and can, therefore,
produce more thoughtful and in-depth comments than any other form of in-person
Internet-Adapted Qualitative Techniques
Each of the following online techniques has its place, depending upon the target audience and the research objectives:
- Time-Extended™ Online Discussion
Forums. These sessions use a "bulletin board" discussion
format to conduct a moderator-facilitated discussion for the purposes of marketing
research. Typically, Time-Extended™ online discussion forums involve
12-15 participants and last between three days and two weeks. The group moderator
guides the discussion by introducing the topics from the discussion outline
and posting follow-up questions. Throughout the process, the moderator encourages
the participants to provide the greatest possible amount of detailed information
about any and all of their pertinent experiences, thoughts, feelings, attitudes,
decision-making processes and behaviors that are related to the purposes of
the study. The extra time available to the moderator (and to the clients)
allows them to ask more reflective and insightful follow-up questions than
what would be practical in other types of qualitative research.
- Time-Extended™ Online Depth Interviews.
These interviews use online communications between a formally trained moderator
and a respondent to conduct one-on-one interviews for the purposes of marketing
research. Typically, Time-Extended™ online depth interviews last between
two days to one week. This method is ideal for busy executives, physicians,
and other high-level people whose time is very limited. The advantages are
similar to Time-Extended™ online groups: richer content and deeper insights.
Clients can view the transcripts and communicate with the facilitator at any
time. The extra time available to the moderator (and to the clients) allows
them to ask more reflective and insightful follow-up questions than what would
be practical in other types of qualitative research.
- Online Pseudo-Depth Interviews. This technique
uses an online survey format and consists of 15 to 20 open-ended questions.
The sample size is usually 25 to 50 target-market respondents. The interview
is limited to 30 minutes in length. The goal is to create "soul searching"
questions that stimulate revealing responses. Pseudo-depths offer good quality
data, reasonable cost, and quick turnaround.
- Online Sentence Completion. This projective technique uses an online survey format and consists of 50 to 60 incomplete sentences
that respondents must finish. The sample size is usually 50 to 75 participants, and survey length is limited to 30 minutes. The key to success lies in clever
wording of the stimuli. Online sentence completion can be a standalone method or part of other qualitative techniques.
- Online Word Association. This projective technique uses an online survey format, and consists of 50 to 75 stimuli words that
participants respond to by typing the first word, association, or image that comes to mind. Sample sizes range from 100 to 200, and interview length is
limited to 30 minutes. This technique is best for exploring awareness, imagery, and associations linked to brands.
- Online Hypotheses Quantification. After focus groups or depth interviews, it is often wise to quantify the results. We accomplish
this by identifying 50 to 100 verbatim statements that support the major hypotheses and ask a nationally representative sample of 200 to 500 consumers to agree/disagree
with each statement. The statistical results are combined with the original qualitative data to create one integrated report.
Experienced Qualitative Consultants
Decision Analyst has over 3 decades of qualitative research experience and
is one of the pioneers in adapting qualitative research to the Internet. Our
moderators can recommend the qualitative technique (online or in-person) best
suited to your research needs. For more information about our Qualitative Research
Services, please contact Gwen Ishmael, Senior Vice President, Director
Insights & Innovation, (email@example.com)
or call 1-800-ANALYSIS (262-5974) or 1-817-640-6166.
Additional Resources From Decision Analyst
Qualitative Research Services
Qualitative Research Demos
Qualitative Research Brochures
Qualitative Research Case Histories
Qualitative Research White Papers