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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.