Archive for the ‘Field Tips’ Category



Loving the List: A Qualitative Perspective

Posted on: April 27th, 2017 by doyle No Comments


Reading-a-list-225x300From the desk of Natanya Rubin

Recruiting qualitative respondents from a database can be a challenge when the target is very specialized.  The solution is sometimes a list provided by the client.  But list recruits come with their own challenges and it’s important to face them with creativity and realistic expectations.

Factors to consider when determining the viability of a list include:

  • The type of contact information available: Does the list provide the full name of the respondent?  Does the list provide an e-mail address, home phone number, and cell phone number?  Often, e-mail is the most efficient way to reach respondents, but the subject line and body text must be very compelling to break through the general bulk of spam that people receive.
  • The accuracy of the list: How current is the list?  The longer ago the information was collected, the less likely it is to be accurate.
  • The size of the list: Conventional wisdom in the recruiting sphere says that for a “good” list—that is, one with full, current information—there should be 30 names provided for each desired recruit. But that number can go up to 70 or 100 depending on the factors above.
  • The ability to reveal the sponsor of the research: Can the sponsor of the research be identified, or is it a blinded study?  Often, there are compelling reasons to obscure the origin of the study.  But in a world where people are trained not to click on a link from an e-mail address they don’t recognize or pick up a call from an unknown number, it’s an uphill battle to get a reply from respondents not primed for research.

So how to break through and make a list work harder?  It’s important to consider the pitch that you’re going to deliver to potential respondents.  Thought needs to be put into a catchy subject line, a clear and compelling explanation of the study, and an appeal that makes it clear why they, personally, are so important to the study.

It’s also necessary to understand that even with a brilliant pitch, a lot more unprimed respondents are going to say no than yes.  Allowing more time for recruiting and considering sweetening the deal with a higher incentive are both ways to improve the possibility of a favorable response.

Sometimes a qualitative recruit can’t be completed without a list, but the challenges can be considerable!  Knowing the difficulties in advance can prepare you for success through careful planning, patience, and making the best case possible for a respondent to join the study.

Show Me the Money! Four Factors That Impact Qualitative Research Incentives

Posted on: November 22nd, 2016 by doyle

From the desk of Natanya Rubin

How much should we pay respondents to participate in a qualitative research study?    Answering that question is more of an art than a science.  Incentives provide both motivation for respondents to follow through on their commitment to the research, as well as compensation for their time and effort.moneyvote

While there is a basic formula that recruiters use to estimate respondent incentives, there are four key considerations that influence the recommended amount:

  1. The “time and inconvenience” factor:  Is it a 15-minute telephone interview?  A two-hour focus group at a facility that is a 20-minute drive away?   A series of activities over an extended period?
  2. The difficulty of the recruit:  Does virtually anyone qualify?  Or are we looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack?
  3. The time of day.  Are you asking stay-at-home parents with school aged children to participate in research at 3 PM?    Are you asking full-time professionals to participate in research during business hours?
  4. The market where the research is going to be conducted:  Is the research being conducted in coastal urban markets or in small Midwestern towns or rural markets?

The time and inconvenience factor assumes there is a basic cost to get people “out the door,” whether that involves logging onto a website, dialing into a webcam group or interview, or driving to a facility.  After that the other consideration is whether we are asking for a one-time commitment, or a commitment over time.    A one-time commitment might involve visiting a store to complete a diary exercise; or, driving to a focus group facility for a 90-minute focus group.   A commitment over time might involve asking a respondent to shop and prepare a specific food item, or to keep a diary of their workflow or food consumption for an extended period.  An incentive for an over-time commitment factors in the actual hours it will take for respondents’ to complete the tasks, but it also factors in a dollar amount that will keep them engaged and participating for the days, weeks, or months that are required.

The difficulty of the recruit comes into play when it is necessary to talk to a highly trained or very specific, low incidence target market.   If there are a limited number of possible respondents, when recruiters find them they want incentives to be higher than average so the qualified person is more likely to agree to participate.   In this case, increasing the participation rate reduces the number of recruiting hours needed to successfully complete the project.

Don’t underestimate the importance of time of day when determining incentives.   If you need stay-at-home parents to participate in a group or interview at 3 PM, just when the children are coming home from school, you are going to have to factor in the possibility that they will need to hire a babysitter.   If you are asking full-time professionals to participate in research during business hours, they will need to be compensated enough to make up for missing work.

Finally, the market where the research is going to be conducted can directly impact incentives.  Large urban markets command higher incentives than small town or rural markets where parking is free, and the cost of living is lower.

One other time when incentives are adjusted is in the moment, if weather is expected to impact show rates.   When it’s raining hard, or a snowstorm is expected, people are more likely to cancel.   To make the trip in inclement weather worth their while, we may increase incentives at the last minute, or offer a bonus for people who show up on time.

So when determining incentives, remember that there is not a “one size fits all” answer.   The real answer is “it depends!”

Costing Qualitative, Part 4: Can You Save Money by Conducting Your Research Online?

Posted on: August 3rd, 2016 by doyle

From the desk of Kathy Doyleproject-costing-image1

There is a perception among clients that online research is cheaper to conduct than in-person research. Is this really true? The answer is “It depends”. Let me explain…

Both online and in-person research studies include all of the same cost components: recruiting, incentives, moderating, report, and location fees (what you save on facility costs is spent on software licensing). So when comparing an in-person group to an online group, the costs are about the same.

Where the cost-savings come into play is in study design. Let’s say, for example, that you want to conduct research in 3 different regions of the country. With in-person research, you must travel to each of the 3 regions, and conduct a minimum of 2 groups per market (you should never rely on a single group), in order to achieve your research objectives. With online research, each group can be recruited to include a regional mix. So you may be able to conduct only 2-3 groups in order to achieve your research objectives. And therein lies the savings. Six in-person groups compared to only 3 online groups saves you almost 50% while still achieving your objectives.

So, can you save money by conducting your research online? It depends!

Wrapping up this 4-part series:

In sum, there is no standard qualitative bid.   Each project is unique and complex, with many variables to consider.   Understanding the variables that impact price can help you better design research projects that meet your budget constraints and minimize surprises.

To read the other posts in the series:

Part 1: Four Key Factors That Impact Price

Part 2: Apples to Apples Comparisons

Part 3: Hidden/Forgotten Costs

 

 

 

Costing Qualitative, Part 3: Hidden or Forgotten Costs

Posted on: July 20th, 2016 by doyle

key-selection-criteria-writing-serviceFrom the desk of Kathy Doyle

This is the 3rd of four blog posts with the goal of de-mystifying the process of obtaining and evaluating a qualitative bid.

Hidden or Forgotten Costs

Before securing a P.O. number for a project, make sure that the project’s cost estimate is all-inclusive.   Services like translation or transcription might not be needed for every project and therefore may not be top of mind.

To avoid surprises, we suggest that you create a checklist to ensure you haven’t forgotten the services that can make a project run smoothly.   Checklist items might include…

•Translation fees
•Transcripts
•Videographer
•Video editing fees
•Equipment such as cameras, recording devices
•Car and driver for transportation to/from ethnographic interviews
•Travel-related costs
•Production costs (Development of mood boards, animatics, concept boards, product prototypes, etc.)
•Product purchase costs
•Client/respondent food.

Forgetting any of these line items (some of them with significant costs attached) could put you in a position where the budget approved in your P.O. is not adequate to cover the costs of your project.     And no one wants to deal with the fallout from that situation!

Costing Qualitative, Part 2: Apples to Apples Comparisons

Posted on: June 10th, 2016 by doyle

project-costing-image1From the desk of Kathy Doyle

This is the 2nd of four blog posts with the goal of de-mystifying the process of obtaining and evaluating a qualitative bid.

Not all cost estimates are created equal. To ensure that apples-to-apples comparisons are made, check that all bids have based their costs on the exact same factors…

Number of recruits—Are all bids assuming the same total number of recruits? Note the difference between recruiting 30 total vs. recruiting 36 for 30 to complete.
Session length—Three 120-minute sessions vs. three 90-minute sessions is the equivalent of one additional 90-minute group discussion. An increase of 30-minutes per session will not only impact facility rental fees and respondents’ incentives, it will also increase the moderation and reporting fees.
Markets—Some markets are simply more expensive than others. If an RFP requests that the research be conducted in New York, a bid that’s based on conducting the sessions in Albany will likely be far less expensive than a bid based on conducting the sessions in Manhattan.
Incentive fees—Incentives are paid to entice consumers to share their experiences. If an incentive is too low, it makes recruiting difficult and tends to yield higher no-show rates. While a bid that includes a lower incentive may appear more budget friendly, in the long run it may cost more in terms of securing a solid recruit. Tip: Some estimates include respondent incentive fees, while other estimates state that incentives are not included and will be billed as a line item on the final invoice. Check this carefully!
Line item expenses—Review the bids to understand what items are included vs. those that will be billed as line items on a final invoice. Items such as client/respondent food, video recording, and shipping expenses, if not included in the project’s costs, can add substantial costs on a project’s final invoice.

For a copy of our whitepaper: “The Inside Skinny: Costing a Qualitative Project” click here.