Tips for Getting More Value From Qualitative Research | Part 2: Staying on Track

Staying on Track

In this blog post,  we will explore additional ways to add value and/or control costs when you conduct a qualitative research project.

Avoid last minute screening changes.   Make sure everyone involved with the project has signed off on the screening criteria before you begin the recruit.  Once you get into the field, any changes that are made—unless they are to loosen screening criteria—are costly.

Plan for no-shows by recruiting overbooks or floaters.  It’s inevitable.  A child gets sick, there is a traffic accident, someone forgets, or someone shows up and doesn’t pass the rescreen.  Rather than being thrown by it, plan for it!  Our rule of thumb is to over-recruit by about 20% for groups, and to schedule a floater for every 4-5 IDIs depending on the length of the interview.

When technology is involved, little things matter.  When conducting telephone/mobile interviews remind respondents to charge their cellphone batteries and have cords and chargers on hand.   When conducting webcam focus groups or IDIs, require the platform hosting company to do a “tech check” prior to the scheduled research to make sure the interviews go smoothly.  And when stimulus is involved, request that it be provided 1-3 days in advance of the research (depending on the complexity of the stimulus) to allow time for uploading, checking, adjusting, etc.

Plan ahead to avoid overtime charges. Last minute projects often incur overtime charges to complete. And with a short recruit time, there’s less time to look for specific quotas and significant pressure to relax criteria and sacrifice the perfect respondents.  If you’re not recruiting in a rush, ask your field manager to set a schedule that completes the recruit without overtime.

Reduce group size. You can save up to 20% on both recruiting and incentives by simply reducing the number of respondents required to show. Smaller groups (6-7 respondents for in-person, 3-5 for online) are typically just as rich in quality and quantity of information gathered.

Schedule research to avoid hard-to-fill time slots. With the increase in working moms, daytime slots have become more difficult and expensive to fill. Even research with stay-at-home moms must be scheduled with care; a group between 2:30-4:30 (when kids are getting out of school) is going to be much more challenging to recruit and is likely to require a higher incentive.

Control backroom requests. Last minute copies, ordering off of menus vs. ordering in advance, food for 12 when only 3 show up…all contribute to an increased bottom line.  And as with all fine dining, the bar bill adds up quickly!