Archive for August, 2012

The Backroom Experience Matters, Too

Posted on: August 28th, 2012 by doyle

The Backroom Experience Matters, Too – August 28, 2012

I admit it.   It’s a pet peeve.  I go into the back room at a facility and the viewers are busy surfing social media, ordering school supplies, typing emails.  They may be listening, but they are not giving the research their full attention. I would argue that the back room experience can also add value to the research if viewers can be engaged.

Here are a few ideas for doing just that:

Expand the viewing team:  invite viewers from a variety of different functional areas — even those removed from direct responsibility for the project. This will vary the perspective from which the research is viewed, which can result in more insightful learning.

Provide a research briefing sheet to all viewers: Before the sessions start, review the research objectives with your viewers (often different from strategic planning objectives).

Change your note-taking practices: Consider “brainwriting”, the capturing of key thoughts, ideas, or “aha’s” on Post-Its, and then organize the Post-Its onto labeled easel sheets in the viewing room. In addition to the obvious functional categories, consider others such as “Surprises,” “Areas of Opportunity,” “Priceless Quotes,” “Recurring Themes,” or “Pipeline Ideas.”

Actively listen for intriguing nuggets: Don’t forget to record those fascinating insights and ideas you may not yet know what to do with.  These little nuggets may ultimately help you advance your brand or be used to create your next major product launch.

And finally a few viewing room survival tips:

  • Request energy boosting snacks such as yogurt, fruit, cheese, nuts and veggies.
  • Take a break: Schedule sufficient breaks that allow for a walk outside, or time to chat with colleagues about the findings.
  • Move around, change seats: That numbness from sitting in the same place can also numb your attention to important discussion details.

Good luck!  We look forward to seeing you in the back room.

Selecting a Qualitative Research Consultant | Selecting a Moderator

Posted on: August 21st, 2012 by doyle

How to Select a Qualitative Researcher – August 21, 2012

Three things to think about when selecting a qualitative researcher

Moderating is complex. So, it will come as no surprise that the quality of your results is tied directly to the expertise of the moderator running the project. After all, qualitative research isn’t just about asking questions and recording responses; it’s about probing for authentic feedback; recognizing subtleties in the various responses; understanding the broad implications of the data; and turning that information into actionable insights. While not technically rocket science, at times it comes close. Doyle Research is a leader in the qualitative research industry because we have the best moderators in the business. We find them by focusing on three things: Experience, Professional Commitment, and Trust.

Experience is key; but it’s more than just running groups

Effective moderators are better understood as qualitative research consultants that bring years of both research and real-world knowledge to the table. Our moderators are communicators, marketers, psychologists, policy advisers, and business people, on top of being the best qualitative researchers around. That matters, because we aren’t just asking questions; we’re probing for insights that will bring tangible results to your business. To achieve this, you need depth AND breadth of knowledge.

Commitment to the profession translates into quality for the client

Being an effective researcher requires professional commitment. It means participating in forums, staying on top of standards and best practices from colleagues around the country, engaging with professional organizations, and leading the pack with new methods, technologies, and techniques. Doyle Research makes it a point to teach what we know to our peers in the industry. We participate on the boards of professional organizations like QRCA. We spend time making relationships in the world of qualitative research that benefit our team, our clients, and ultimately, the respondents that trust us with their time. It is important that the moderator(s) you use are engaged; not just in your project, but in the industry as a whole.

If you don’t have trust, nothing else matters

Trust trumps everything when it comes to selecting a moderator. Our clients have to trust us; respondents have to trust us; if we don’t have that, we can’t be successful. Of course, trust doesn’t come easily. We have built our business around being focused on client needs, understanding research and business objectives, anticipating project requirements, and being a partner to both clients and participants alike. Moderators are, in essence, partners for your business. You need to be able to trust them implicitly, and that trust starts with an understanding of your business, and a respect for your unique situation. Because, let’s face it: every situation is, ultimately, as unique as the business you’re running. A moderator who understands that will get the best results.

Social Media Qualitative Research Analysis | Mixed Method Research

Posted on: August 21st, 2012 by doyle

Social Media Qualitative Research Analysis – August 14, 2012

Mixed Media Method Research

For many of our clients, a great way to begin a mixed method study is to invest in social media analysis. Over 2/3’s of the population is engaged in social media in some way, and the volume of unaided, qualitative commentary is unrivaled by any traditional market research method.

Before conducting focus groups, online research, ethnography, or another method, why not find out what is being said about your brand, your competitors’ brands, or the category as a whole.

Here are a few potential benefits:

  • Identify targets you weren’t aware of. For one client, we identified a highly active segment in social media that they were unaware of, and had never targeted.
  • To identify issues to explore further in subsequent research. Your issues are not always your customers’ issues. This is a great way to find out if you are asking the questions that are relevant to them.
  • Learn consumer language in your category before designing a questionnaire. As qualitative researchers, we’ve often been called upon to conduct focus groups to “hear consumer language” before writing a survey questionnaire. This is a quick and inexpensive way to do just that, without the time or cost of convening focus groups.
  • Category overview. If you do not have a robust market research program, this is a great way to get an overview of your category or brand before determining how to spend deploy limited resources.
  • To gain competitive advantage in the new product development process. One of our clients was entering a category that was new to them, but not new in the marketplace. We used social media to see what was being said about the brands they would be competing directly against after launch. We were able to identify key features critical to consumer acceptance, as well as identify unmet needs our client could capitalize on during the design process.

Mixed Method Qualitative Research | Hybrid Qualitative Research

Posted on: August 21st, 2012 by doyle

Mixed Method Qualitative Research – August 7, 2012

Hybrid Qualitative Research

We don’t live in a one-size-fits-all world anymore. So we think it’s worth considering that a single method approach to qualitative research might not always provide you with the full picture. Here are a few tips to consider before embarking on a mixed-method project:

  1. Clearly define your business objectives and map research methods to them. This seems obvious, but it really can’t be overstated. When you start with your goals in mind, it becomes much easier to determine which methods of inquiry will provide the most useful results, and better meet the stated objectives.
  2. Use research methods that are appropriate to your target. Be sure you’re taking the time to determine which methods will give you the best responses for a particular audience. In other words, Facebook may not be any more appropriate for talking to seniors than bulletin boards would be for engaging pre-scholiers in conversation.
  3. Don’t be afraid to start small, ramping up to larger projects. Don’t be afraid to engage fewer participants up front to identify key issues before launching a larger-scale study. You never know, you just might find what you thought was necessary isn’t even on your customers’ radar.
  4. Allow time for methods to fuel and inform each other. Part of the value of hybrid or mixed method studies is the ability to conduct them sequentially, and in a logical order that flows from the overall business goals. This will provide valuable information that can be used to steer decisions made in future phases; in some cases, it will inform the nature of the phases themselves.
  5. Recruit a community of participants and use them throughout your study. Recruit the right group of participants early on in your study, reuse those participants in multiple phases, and reduce overall time and project cost by eliminating the need for multiple selection efforts.

Online Qualitative Research with Teens | Mobile Bulletin Research Teens

Posted on: August 21st, 2012 by doyle

Online Qualitative Research with Teens – July 31, 2012

Mobile Bulletin Research Teens

When it comes to qualitative research, candor is critical. Cutting through the noise and pretense to understand what your audience really thinks is paramount to a successful project.

Fortunately, with teens–especially teens online–the filter is off … sometimes to a fault; and that can mean great things for a qualitative project. Of course, just knowing teens won’t pull punches isn’t enough. You need to know how to engage them; you need to know what’s likely to motivate a response; and (perhaps most important) you need to know what the limitations really are.

It may seem daunting, but we’ve got years of experience working with kids and teens that we’d love to share. That’s why we’ve come up with 4 things to remember when looking to teens for unfiltered, unadulterated feedback.

Online bulletin boards: a great way to maintain anonymity and encourage honesty

Teens may be predisposed to saying exactly what they think, exactly when they think it, but that doesn’t mean they’re all willing to take the risk just to satisfy a set of research questions. Teens are highly influenced by their peers, whether they like to admit to it or not. They pay attention to how others dress, to what they say, and to how they’re perceived by the group. Online bulletin boards provide a mechanism for teens to remain anonymous, which can be key to getting open, honest feedback. Rather than acting as a wall to hide behind, the safety of the bulletin board often encourages the free exchange of candid, critical insights, without fear of judgment or criticism.

Smart phones: Perhaps the one thing a teen NEVER loses … so leverage that!

It’s no secret teens live on their mobile devices. Whether texting friends, posting videos on YouTube, or updating their status on Facebook, mobile devices provide simplified access to in-the-moment responses; and they’re never more than an arms length away. Because these devices are so accessible to teens, teens become that much more accessible to researchers, and their insights that much more valuable to your business–especially if your business is geared heavily toward teens. When considering mobile research, we suggest you follow a few simple rules:

  • Use mobile when it makes sense for the project, not just because it’s a cool new tool
  • Use mobile devices when you can be sure it’s a benefit, NOT a barrier to your audience
  • Using these devices comes naturally to teens; don’t be afraid to get creative and leverage   audio, video, and images as part of the engagement

Teens are busy. Design research around their schedules, not yours.

This one is self-explanatory: teens are social creatures and they’re more committed than ever to a range of social, educational, and extracurricular activities. It’s important to understand their needs, their limitations, and the absolute requirements of your project before choosing the best way to engage them. If you make it difficult for them to participate, they won’t. If you make it hard (or unappealing) for them to be honest, they won’t. If you make their participation seem irrelevant, they’ll bail. So use the tools that are easy, make sense to them, and provide them a way to engage that is super-low impact for the greatest returns.

In the end, they’re still teenagers. Remember that!

When it comes to qualitative, teens bring a lot to the table. For better or worse, attention span usually isn’t one of those things. Teens live in a fragmented world where multitasking is just an understood part of the equation. If you’re conducting research with teens–especially research online–it’s important to remember that they will be texting while they’re talking; they’ll be surfing the web or watching YouTube videos while they’re responding to a comment on the boards; they will be doing two or three or four things simultaneously … and that’s ok.

If you need teens to stay focused, engage them in person. If you need them to be available (which is typically a much bigger challenge), online qualitative is your best bet. If you can come to terms with the fact that you’ll likely be one task among many, your efforts will pay off and the insights you’re sure to gain will bring significant benefit to your business.