Consider the advantages of online qualitative research!

by DJI

While not always time- or money-savers, online qualitative research techniques have some exciting benefits. Qualitative research using technologies such as online focus groups, bulletin boards or mobile research can offer methodological breakthroughs that make it well worth exploring

  • Participants no longer have to be selected based on geographical distribution, and can therefore be chosen based solely on attitudes, behaviors, interests, or other attributes.
  • Both moderator and clients will be freed from a travel itinerary; thus research decisions regarding who, when, or how many can be based solely on what the research objectives dictate.
  • Some online qualitative software allows moderators to switch seamlessly between group, individual, and closed or private interactions, which allows for deeper probing and follow-up as needed. You can have an open group discussion, or let people tackle a question separately, and “pull someone aside” to investigate their feelings privately, without biasing the others’ reactions.
  • No stone need be left unturned if the discussion is not tied to real-time or a two-hour moderator’s guide.
  • Likewise, if you are using mobile research to allow participants to respond to questions about products or displays in-store via texting on mobile phones, it can yield very helpful insights or provide a useful supplement to in-person, on-site interviews.

Although online qualitative approaches are rarely cost-savers in the long run, we feel that the exciting possibilities they offer make them very tempting to use either instead of, or in combination with, traditional approaches.

We’d like to hear about your own experiences with online qualitative research projects.  Drop us a note on Facebook, tweet or email us – it would be great to hear from you.