Archive for the ‘Field Tips’ Category



Four Reasons to Consider Outsourcing to a Qualitative Strategist

Posted on: November 9th, 2018 by doyle

I have been noticing a trend among clients who want to bring some qualitative and quantitative research in-house. I get it. It’s expensive. You know what you want, so surely you should be able to do it yourself.

And the truth is, you probably can! But should you?

Absolutely. Some of the time…

But here are a few reasons to consider outsourcing, and perhaps they’ll help you decide when to DIY and when to go the full-service route.

  1. An outside perspective can yield insights that the internal team is too close to see. A qualitative strategist can spot trends you might miss or help you connect the dots in new ways.
  2. Full-time qualitative researchers know how to maximize the value of the research. Through clever/efficient study design, guide development and the use of specialized techniques, they can get beyond surface responses and group bias.
  3. Going the full-service route allows the client team to concentrate on listening, note taking, and convergence activities. This moves next steps along further and faster.
  4. We hear from clients who have tried DIY that “It’s harder than it looks!” There are myriad details that can make or break a project, and we’ve learned them all the hard way. Why should you?

Still thinking about tackling your project on your own? Email me at Kathy.Doyle@2020research.com. My team is happy to offer advice on how to get the most out of the research you are conducting. And we hope you’ll remember us kindly the next time you do decide to outsource!

 

 

Three Tips to Avoid Surprise Objectives

Posted on: August 21st, 2018 by doyle

We’ve all been there. We ask thoughtful and detailed questions upfront to understand the business needs and the research objectives.  We use this information to create a study design and craft a targeted discussion guide.   And then suddenly, brand new objectives pop up and derail the carefully conceived plan. 

Here are three tips to help minimize the unwanted appearance of surprise objectives:

  1. Define success at the beginning of the project – and write it down. The definition of success varies from person to person, leaving room for misinterpretation so make sure all key stakeholders are in alignment on their expectations of a successful outcome.  Document this in writing and be sure the definition of success is clearly stated on all collateral.  If objectives change as the project evolves, update them and be sure they’re clear and present at each stage of the project.
  2. Press for details. No question is a stupid question, especially when it comes to forming a partnership based on mutual agreement and understanding. Ask for as much detail upfront as possible—moderators of the client, and the client of their team members. When stakeholders and researchers begin to assume, we run a considerable risk of misalignment when the project ends.  As curious, inquisitive researchers, our job of collecting information begins well before the first respondent engages – we must engage our stakeholders from the start by asking smart questions, clarifying any lingering assumptions and confirming that we are meeting expectations.
  3. Check-in early and often. Throughout the project, plan check-ins at key milestones where important information is shared efficiently. This gives ample opportunity for reaction, response, and redesign if needed, or to bring attention to initiatives that aren’t aligning with expectations. When everyone participates in a well-designed, efficiently executed process, we can all share in the successful outcome and diminish the potential of surprise objectives coming to light too late.

Have any tips that have worked well for you? We’d love to talk further about how to avoid or manage surprise objectives.

 

Recruiting Online Qualitative: Best Practices from the Trenches

Posted on: February 20th, 2018 by doyle

From the desk of Natanya Rubin

Online qualitative research is a terrific way to accomplish a national or even international recruit, save time and money on travel, and to gain deep insights from respondents.  But the success of a project can only be assured by getting the details of the recruit right.  We’d like to share some best practices that help ensure that your online project delivers!

Understand your recruiting target.  When you’re deciding whether to conduct mobile diaries, online communities, or webcam interviews, take a good look at your respondent profile and ask yourself, “What is the right method for this target? For example, you might find that with a youth-oriented recruit, you will get richer insights from a mobile journal, where respondents can speak intimately and in their own voice, versus a traditional online bulletin board where they may not have the patience to provide in-depth, written responses.

Be prepared to offer an appropriate incentive. Make sure your incentive is appropriate to the investment of time and effort you’re asking of the respondent, to reduce drop-off during the study and the need for more over-recruits.  Online qual often asks respondents to return to the platform on multiple occasions, since tracking behavior over time is one of the many benefits of the methodology.  The incentive must entice (as well as fairly reward) the respondents in order to get good completion rates.

Screen smart. Screeners for online qual should always include questions around technology ownership and user comfort with their devices, along with questions about online behaviors that ensure that they will be able to navigate the chosen platform. Additionally, we select recruiters who use recruiting methods that meet respondents on their own turf.  For example, a mobile pre-screening link is a natural method of outreach for respondents who spend a great deal of time on their smartphones, and who might be great candidates for a mobile journal.

Choose the right recruiter.  It’s important to select a recruiter with a substantial qualitative database for online methodologies.  Although there are some studies where a panel recruit might be appropriate, it is not recommended for online qual, as respondents who are more used to online surveys might not understand the robust commitment expected for an online qualitative study.

By taking a good look at your target, offering the right incentive, asking the right questions in the screener, and choosing a recruiting partner who can deliver committed respondents, you can ensure that your online study delivers rich, in-the-moment insights!

 

Five Key Factors That Impact Qualitative Costs

Posted on: December 18th, 2017 by doyle

From the desk of Kathy Doyle

When you ask your qualitative partners to provide a cost estimate for your research project, do you know what the key factors are that impact the price they provide? Knowing that information could help you save money, avoid surprises, and provide you with a better idea of how to evaluate competing bids.

In any qualitative bid, there are five key factors that impact price:

1. Screening criteria: The more difficult the screening criteria, and the more questions that need to be asked of respondents during the screening process (which impacts cooperation rates) the greater the cost. For that reason, focus on the “need to know” questions, such as key demographics/psychographics, and category/brand usage. “Nice to know” information can be covered in the research.

2. Size of the recruit: The more participants you recruit, the greater the cost. Because qualitative is designed to provide direction rather than to be projectable to a larger population, be conservative with your sample size. Tip: don’t forget to account for last minute cancellations, no shows and respondents who don’t pass a re-screen. We recommend over-recruiting by 20% to ensure that you end up with the number of respondents requested. When comparing bids, make sure to ask whether the cost estimate includes the cost for over-recruits.

3. Incentives: There are three things that influence how much respondents are paid: the difficulty of the recruit, the location of the research, and the amount of work a respondent is being asked to do. The difficulty of the recruit goes without saying: the harder it is to find respondents (very low incidence, consumers vs. professionals), the more you need to pay to make sure they agree to participate. And if your research is being conducted digitally vs. in-person, incentives will most likely be lower because respondents are able to participate from the convenience of their home or office. Finally, the more you ask respondents to do, the greater the incentive. Do you need them for 30-minutes, 2 hours, 2 weeks? Be realistic about how much time you need to accomplish your research objectives, so that you are not paying more in incentives than is necessary.

4. Facility Rental or Platform License Fees: Time is king. The more time you spend in a facility, or licensing a technology platform, the greater the cost. Know how much time you’ll need to accomplish your goals, and set the length of the research sessions accordingly. Padding, because you haven’t adequately scoped out the research, can cost you. And conversely, not allowing enough time can shortchange results.

5. Deliverables: The type of deliverable required can dramatically impact your costs, easily increasing professional fees by 50% or more. Do you need a detailed report, an executive summary, or just a post-research debriefing session? A multi-media PPT presentation, or a professionally edited video report? Be realistic: contract only for what you know your team will use.

Armed with this information, you can be confident that you have designed your research to maximize results and minimize costs.

We can see clearly now! Tips and tricks for making the most of your qualitative webcam interview.

Posted on: October 26th, 2017 by doyle

From the desk of Natanya Rubin

Qualitative webcam interviews are an exciting opportunity to see a respondent in her native habitat, but there are plenty of tech pitfalls that can make that time less rewarding.  Here are some of the best practices that we and our platform partners employ to make sure the interview goes well:

The tech check is key.  We always recommend scheduling a live tech check prior to the interview, rather than relying on the respondent to complete an automated one.  This allows a technician to connect personally with the respondent to test bandwidth in the area where the respondent will do the interview, work with them to confirm that their audio functions well, and help them adjust their lighting (see below for more on both topics).

Separate audio and video allows for flexibility, should something go wrong.  Although advances in VOIP stability and clarity make it tempting to have both video and audio run through the respondent’s computer, we recommend that the audio for the qualitative interview be done through the respondent’s phone line.  That way, if the respondent’s internet is spotty and happens to go down during the interview (which sometimes happens despite best efforts to vet bandwidth in advance), the interview can still be salvaged using the separate audio.  During the tech check, we also instruct respondents to make sure their phones are charged and that the power cord is within reach, to ensure that there are no interruptions to the audio.

Lighting is a make or break proposition.  Ensuring good lighting is critical to the success of a qualitative webcam interview.  If the respondent is just a dark, backlit mass, it’s hard to read emotion or see details of their space.  During the tech check, we often help respondents adjust their lighting set-up by asking them to grab a desk or table lamp to get light on their faces, while closing drapes or turning off the lights behind them so they’re not silhouetted.  Then, on the day of the interview, they’re ready to be seen!

By preparing the respondent for the interview through a live tech check, separating audio and video as a safety net against bandwidth issues, and guiding the respondent to be sure they can be seen on-screen, Doyle Research ensures that each qualitative webcam interview is both technically seamless and rich in insights.