Market Researchers Resources Researcher's Guide to Using Mobile Qualitative

Getting the Most Out of Your Backroom Experience

Expand your 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.
Request that team members attend as many sessions as possible (be they groups, interviews, dyads or triads) so they can see patterns, or the lack of them, for themselves.  This will help prevent jumping to conclusions based on one respondent’s comment.

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.”

Hire a transcriber: Why not hire a note-taker so everyone can just concentrate on listening?

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.

Note respondents’ body language and vocal inflections when they make comments to assess their degree of passion or enthusiasm about your product, positioning or advertising.

Listen objectively — hear what respondents are saying and not what you are hoping to hear.

Listen for contradictions as well as consistencies. 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.
  • Play with toys to counter fatigue and re-energize your mind.
  • Bring a sweater: Temperature control is rarely ideal. Circulation suffers when you’re sitting in the dark for hours!

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