Use Of Video In Online Research

We’ve just completed a round of interviews with customers using our Recollective platform to talk about what they anticipate to be important online research capabilities for 2013. Many of those research agencies spoke about the increasing importance of video in their presentation of findings and recommendations.

Unsurprisingly, after discussing the subject with them in more depth and looking back over studies we’ve run in 2012, a number of different approaches and perspectives were used that I think are useful to summarize.

Asynchronous Video Activities

First, since Recollective provides capabilities for asynchronous video, I should also clarify that I’m going to focus on that rather than synchronous approaches such as webcam-based focus groups or one-on-one webcam interviews. Asynchronous video isn’t done in realtime; it’s most often captured by a study participant and done at a time convenient to them. The video is then provided to moderators for review and analysis. The participant uses either a camcorder they own, a device the researcher provides or their smartphone or webcam.

Typically we find that most researchers prefer to mix video activities into a wider qualitative study, but occasionally we have a study that’s entirely video-based. Both seem to work effectively, although in general any study with video activities does tend to require a significantly higher incentive for participants to complete them. For example, one Canadian researcher we’ve worked with distributed an iPod Touch to participants in a mixed video / photo study after which the participant got to keep the device as their incentive payment.

The highest response rates seen in Recollective so far have come from webcam-based activities, possibly because it’s the easiest for participants to complete. Of those, most activities are designed to capture respondents simply talking into the webcam to answer questions. It’s pretty standard stuff, but the researchers we spoke to love how quickly and effectively video highlights from those webcam recordings can get a point across to an end client. Continue reading