Information today is being collected and analyzed in an ever quicker and easier fashion to help decision makers stay informed. The qualitative research industry is no different.
In this blog post, we’ll describe five important reasons for researchers to contemplate introducing online qualitative research methods into their portfolio of services.
1. Stakeholder Participation and Engagement
Clients seek research methods and results that create immersive and experiential landscapes. This trend towards participatory consumer engagement and rapport building will only continue in the present social media driven online world. As a result, when online qualitative research becomes conversational and engaging, meaningful dialogue occurs - with many people and at a much faster rate than ever before.
2. Willingness to Share
The increasing openness of online respondents and their willingness to put time and effort into online activities, especially in gamified contexts, is quite encouraging. A quick look at the top social media platforms also supports the fact that people are more willing to share their lives and experiences online than ever before. Online qual tools can tap into that willingness to share and with, e.g. private versus public moderation, researchers can avoid the social bias traps that focus groups tend to lay, dynamically adjust to the online communicative norms across cultures and get more information out of more respondents.
3. So Much Data!
The fact that there are so many individuals from so many places all interacting online, points to the need for research processes that are able to handle and analyse more consumers and patterns. The scalability component doesn’t just apply in terms of how many participants you include in each project but also the number of projects that can be managed by a researcher. Platforms like Recollective that offer flexible subscription models that permit one-off projects, long term research hubs housing multiple studies and everything in between, eliminate many scalability issues and make it possible to manage dozens of projects simultaneously without having to linearly scale your research headcount.
4. The Participant Experience
Using an online research platform that makes the lives of researchers easier and more efficient is one thing, but what about the participants? Your participants should also find the software intuitive and easy to use, if not a little fun!
Leading online qual platforms like Recollective offer many possibilities to customize research design while reducing the mundane repetitiveness participants experience with surveys. They utilise conventions from popular social networking sites, creative question types and personalized moderation to build an engaging research experience for participants and an easier overall process for researchers. The end result? Deeper, more natural engagement with participants leading to a richer, more complete data set.
5. Time is Money
Most of the researchers we speak to are being pressed by clients for rapid research against an ever shrinking budget. So you need tools that help speed up project execution and turnaround. Online qual research is a methodology that can deliver in those situations. Not only can short, 3-day projects be launched rapidly, but ongoing "always on" communities make it entirely feasible to get same-day, in-depth responses from participants.
Using these ongoing communities eliminates the time needed for recruitment, onboarding and guide programming. So when a urgent issue needs feedback or ideas, your client has the tools and community immediately ready for action.
Is That Everything?
Of course there are many other compelling reasons for choosing to use online qualitative research in place of traditional qual methodologies or even surveys. You can adapt on the fly to changes very easily, dive deeper on any "hot" topic that gets uncovered and discover participant-led ideas or issues that fall outside your immediate brief.
As you begin using online qual, the benefits rapidly appear but to get started, we think these five are the most compelling and what we hear time and again from our Recollective customers.