Online Qualitative Research
Internet-Adapted Qualitative TechniquesEach of the following online techniques has its place, depending upon the target audience and the research objectives:
These sessions use a secure online platform to conduct a moderator-facilitated group 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, though some projects could have over a hundred participants in total and go on for months. A series of topics from the discussion outline are typically revealed on a daily basis by a moderator 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, allowing participants with varying schedules to participate. 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 electronic or 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 sensitive topics, like finances, personal hygiene, business strategies, or other private subject matter. The advantages are similar to Time-Extended™ online groups: richer content and deeper insights. Clients can view the forum and communicate with the moderator 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.
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 typically selected based on specific response triggers within the survey design. This allows a deeper understanding of why certain responses were given in the survey, exploring the drivers of opinions and behaviors and preferences, and ultimately making sense of data trends.
Time-Extended™ Close-Ups (Single Posting)
Time-Extended™ Close-Ups are similar to Time-Extended™ online depth interviews in design and use of an online forum. However, in the Time-Extended™ Close-Ups, respondents answer a more limited number of questions. This method is ideal for helping to guide a quantitative questionnaire or to get a quick qualitative feedback on a few questions.
Time-Extended™ Concept Reactions
Time-Extended™ Concept Reactions are based on Online Depth interviews or Online Discussion Forums. After creating new product concepts, these concepts can be presented to respondents, to get their immediate reaction and suggestions for improvement. It’s particularly important that concepts accurately and clearly articulate the essence of the new idea being presented before subjecting them to quantitative testing. This determines that the success or failure of a concept in a quantitative test is based on the merit of the idea, not the clarity of the concept.
Online Text or Chat Discussions
These sessions use a text or other instant messaging discussion format to conduct a live, scheduled moderator-facilitated discussion for the purposes of marketing research. 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 any and all of their pertinent experiences, thoughts, feelings, attitudes, decision-making processes and behaviors that are related to the purposes of the study. This approach is great for getting quick feedback on a limited number of questions.
Online Video Forums
These sessions use an online video stream to conduct a moderator-facilitated discussion for the purposes of marketing research. Respondents will be 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 Forums involve 1-5 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, weblinks, etc. during the session to observe and collect respondents’ reactions. Throughout the process, the video stream is recorded so respondents’ facial expressions, tone, and thoughts can be further evaluated later.
Benefits of Moving Traditional Qualitative to Online Qualitative
Decision Analyst conducts hundreds of 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 qualitative.
Experienced Qualitative Consultants
Decision Analyst has over 4 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 on our Qualitative Research services, please contact Clay Dethloff, Senior Vice President (firstname.lastname@example.org), or call 1-800-ANALYSIS (262-5974) or 1-817-640-6166.