Online Research Communities: Common Design Elements

Research agencies that consistently conduct community based projects tend to do so using the same set of features and design elements for most of the projects they run. What design elements compose that set, however, vary considerably from firm to firm. Given this variance, there is opportunity to learn from one another and to think about how the wide breadth of possibility introduced by a community platform can help to sell more research.

To seize this opportunity, we’ve identified and reviewed the different emerging or commonly executed community design elements on Recollective. In doing so, we provide a window into how the industry currently works with communities, give you a sense of where future opportunity exists, and how you can better position your own research bids.

Design Elements

  • Private – IDI replacements, no sharing between participants
  • Collaborative – Focus Group replacements, aim to generate conversation
  • Blue Sky – Open-ended structure, participants only engage with what interests them
  • In-The-Moment – Capture designated transactions in a participant’s life
  • Journal – Ethnographic, document elements of a participants day-to-day life
  • Ongoing – Always accessible research platform, achieves speed and convenience


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