From the desk of Kathy Doyle
Over the past few years, the qualitative toolkit has vastly increased with the addition of online and mobile methods. These additions have brought significant benefits and the ability to conduct research that was simply not possible before.
With that in mind, we thought we’d take a closer look at some of our favorite online methodologies – webcam interviews, online communities and digital chats.
Webcam interviews are online interviews in which the participant and moderator can see each other as well as any stimuli (storyboard, video, website, etc.) utilizing webcams and a split screen.
Webcam interviews take geography out of the equation, allowing you to conduct interviews across the country in a single day. You get a close-up of participants’ facial expressions as they view the stimulus, something that is difficult to achieve in a focus group facility. This makes them ideal for web usability studies and advertising communication checks.
Online communities take place over time (short term or long term, ranging from two days to two weeks or longer) with respondents answering questions or reacting to stimulus posted by the moderator. They allow for anonymity, unlimited response time, and iterative or longitudinal learning. Respondents also have the ability to upload photos and video and complete homework assignments before or during the session.
Online communities are ideal for exploratory research when rich, nuanced feedback is needed. They also work well for message development or evaluation, and whenever a topic is sensitive.
One-on-one chats function much like an instant message or text chat, but one that is led by a moderator who engages with the individual participant in real time. A great way to get beneath surface-level insights, with this technique the moderator can also share stimuli for respondent feedback.
One-on-one chats are ideal for creative and message testing and allow anonymity that also makes it well suited for discussion of sensitive topics. Furthermore, this approach can be used as a stand-alone qualitative exploration or added seamlessly to a quantitative survey, routing qualified participants from the survey instrument to a moderated chat to provide greater depth and context.
If you’d like to explore whether, or how, these methods could be used to answer your business questions, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.