The Role of the Qualitative Strategist in Mobile Research

Posted on: January 16th, 2019 by doyle

The widespread adoption of mobile phones is a great advantage for marketing researchers.  Mobile qualitative research gives us the ability to observe the customer experience when and where it occurs, providing in-the-moment reporting that helps surface rich insights. How much better to have the consumer record themselves each time they get a midnight snack than the alternative of waiting days or weeks and relying on recall when discussing their behavior with more traditional techniques.

Of course, mobile qualitative relies on participants operating somewhat independently of the researcher and outside of a research facility. So, what do we – as researchers – actually DO now that respondents are completing assignments without us?

In reality, respondents aren’t completing assignments without us. The role of the researcher in mobile qualitative is even more important precisely because the respondents are more independent. To complete qualitative research without losing participants midway through, and to keep participants engaged and thoughtful, researchers are needed to:

  • Design effective assignments that optimize the capture of critical moments. Identifying and then reacting to these moments is the key to successful mobile qualitative.
  • Provide instructions and guidelines for participation that keep the participant interested, willing and able to complete the research.
  • Build rapport and trust with the respondent. We have learned that it is always best to talk to the respondent before sending them out to complete the research assignment.  This creates a personal connection and encourages more robust engagement for the participants.
  • Capture and observe mobile responses (videos, photos, texts) from respondents and probe for additional information or modify subsequent assignments to reflect new learning.
  • Actively monitor responses for depth, accuracy and quality – and skillfully encourage maximum participation.
  • Engage stakeholders with highlights from ongoing respondent input. Periodic topline reports, daily briefings, or even high-level interim reports (depending on the length of engagement) can all be used to develop optimal outcomes.
  • Conduct follow-up interviews. After the mobile data collection, a follow-up phone or webcam interview to debrief with each respondent, as well as ask general follow-up questions, provides the opportunity to probe into specific observed behaviors.
  • Analyze responses to identify findings, implications, and meaningful insights.
  • Provide rich, multi-media final reports that bring the insights to life.

So while we are no longer in the presence of the respondent, or interacting with them in real time, our engagement is still significant and critical to the success of any mobile research study.  Questions? Contact Kathy.doyle@2020research.com

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