Online Qualitative Research
Internet-Adapted Qualitative TechniquesEach of the following online techniques has its own strengths and weaknesses. Which of the following online qualitative technique is best suited for your project depends on your target audience, the research objectives and your budget.
Benefits of Moving Traditional Qualitative to Online Qualitative
Decision Analyst conducts hundreds of in-person focus groups every year, but increasingly some of this qualitative work is shifting to online formats. The reasons:
- Worldwide Reach. With our global online panels, online qualitative research can be conducted across time zones in multiple countries and in multiple languages.
- Online-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, and politically incorrect views.
- Convenience. Respondents can review the moderator's questions and post their answers at their convenience.
- Thoughtful Responses. In most online qualitative research, respondents have more time to think about their answers and can, therefore, often provide deeper and more insightful responses than in-person qualitative.
These sessions use a secure online platform to conduct moderator-facilitated group discussions. Typically, Time-Extended™ Online Forums involve 20-24 participants and last between three days and two weeks, though some projects could have over 100 participants and go on for months. Topics from the discussion outline are posted by the moderator on a daily basis, and follow-up questions are posted periodically. Respondents are allowed to visit the forum at times convenient to their individual schedules during set discussion dates, which enables participants with varying schedules to participate. Throughout the process, the moderator encourages the participants to provide the greatest possible amount of detailed information about all of their experiences, thoughts, feelings, attitudes, decision-making processes, and behaviors related to the purposes of the study. The Time-Extended™ format provides extra time to the moderator (and to clients) that allows them to ask questions that elicit more reflective and insightful answers than would be practical in other types of qualitative research. This results in richer content and deeper insights from respondents.
These sessions use online video streaming to conduct a moderator-facilitated discussion. Respondents are able to see a video feed of the moderator, and the moderator (and client) can see the faces of all the respondents. Typically, Online Video Deepdives/Forums involve 1 to 5 participants and last between 60 and 90 minutes. As with in-person focus groups, the moderator manages the discussion by introducing the topics from the discussion outline and asking follow-up questions. The moderator can also share various stimuli, (such as images, videos, or links to online content), during the session to evoke respondents’ reactions. Throughout the process, the video stream is recorded so respondents’ facial expressions, tone, and responses can be further evaluated during the analysis phase.
These sessions use online video streaming to conduct a depth interview. The respondents and the moderators are able to see each other. Typically, Online Video Deepdives last between 60 and 90 minutes. As with in-person depth interviews, the moderator manages the discussion by introducing the topics from the discussion outline and asking follow-up questions. The moderator can also share various stimuli, (such as images, videos, or links to online content), during the session to evoke respondents’ reactions. Throughout the process, the video stream is recorded so respondents’ facial expressions, tone, and responses can be further evaluated during the analysis phase.
These interviews use electronic or online forums between a formally trained moderator and a respondent to conduct one-on-one depth communications. Typically, Time-Extended™ Online In-depth Interviews last between two days and one week. This method is ideal for sensitive topics, like finances, personal hygiene, business strategies, and other private subject matter. The advantages are similar to Time-Extended™ online forums: richer content and deeper insights. The client can view the forum and communicate with the moderator at any time. The extra time available to the moderator (and to the client) allows them to ask more reflective and insightful follow-up questions than what would be practical in other types of qualitative research.
Time-Extended™ Deep Dives
Time-Extended™ Deep Dives use an online forum to further explore responses to a quantitative survey. Respondents are recruited into the Deep Dive after completing a quantitative survey, such as a concept test, and they are typically selected based on specific response triggers within the survey design. A Deep Dive provides a greater understanding of why certain responses were given during the survey, by exploring respondents’ underlying drivers of behaviors and preferences.
Time-Extended™ Close-Ups (Single Posting)
Time-Extended™ Close-Ups are similar to Time-Extended™ online in-depth interviews in their design and use of an online forum. However, in the Time-Extended™ Close-Ups, respondents answer a more limited set of questions during one session. This method is ideal for providing input to improve the design of a quantitative questionnaire or to get quick qualitative feedback on a few questions.
Time-Extended™ Concept Reactions
Time-Extended™ Concept Reactions are based on Online In-depth interviews or Online Forums. Once new product concepts are drafted, they can be presented to respondents to determine if the respondents fully understand the concepts and to get suggestions for improvement. It’s particularly important that:
- The concepts accurately and clearly communicate the essence of the new product idea being presented before subjecting those concepts to quantitative testing.
- The success or failure of a concept in a quantitative test is based on the merits of the new product idea, not on the style or quality of the concept.
Online Text or Chat Discussions
These sessions use an online text or other instant messaging discussion formats to conduct a live, scheduled moderator-facilitated discussion. Typically, Online Chat Discussions involve 5-8 participants and last between 30 to 90 minutes. The group moderator guides the discussion by introducing the topics from the discussion outline and asking follow-up questions. Throughout the process, the moderator encourages the participants to provide the greatest possible amount of detailed information about all of their relevant experiences, thoughts, feelings, attitudes, decision-making processes, and behaviors related to the purposes of the study. This approach is great for getting quick feedback on a limited number of questions or issues.
Experienced Qualitative Consultants
Decision Analyst has over four decades of qualitative research experience and is a leader in the development of online qualitative techniques and methods. Our experienced moderators can recommend the online or in-person qualitative technique best suited to your research needs.
For more information on our Qualitative Research services, please email Clay Dethloff, Senior Vice President, at firstname.lastname@example.org), or call him at 1-800-ANALYSIS (262-5974) or 1-817-640-6166.
Qualitative Team Leader
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