Five steps to chat-based online focus groups success

Conducting a face to face, traditional style, focus group requires careful preparation to ensure the ninety-minutes spent with the panel of people is not wasted. Tasks such as checking your audio and video and making sure the refreshments are ready to be served.  You have people arriving in the waiting room where they are reading their consent slip, which explains their right and obligations by participating. The observers are already waiting for the group to start in another room looking at the group area through a one-way mirror or a video monitor. Just like traditional focus groups an online chat focus group takes the time to prepare but enables you to cut out a lot of the expense, time and logistics. However, you still need to prepare for the online group, and the more time you invest, the better the results. The advantage of online is that once you prepare for one group the easier, faster and cheaper it will be to conduct additional online focus groups. To get the most out of a chat-based online focus group follow these five steps for success. Schedule groups to run on a day and time that suits you and your participants. Forget about traffic and travel time, it’s no longer relevant, but do think about the times your participant’s might be sitting down to dinner or relaxing at home for the evening. Leave it too late and they become too relaxed and are likely to forgo participating at the last minute, start it too early you might not give them enough time to get home. Check with the recruiter, or the...

7 recruitment tips for online qualitative research

Free participant recruitment Guide! The key to successful people recruitment for online qualitative research projects begins with the first contact. Being able to clearly articulate what you expect of participants and how you will reward them. Recruiting for online research is different from traditional recruitment methods and requires an agile and proven online approach, as well as understanding how to engage participants once they enter the group. Participants recruited need to be able to jump on-board and learn how to use the online technology while participating, and without having to be trained in how to use the software before the group begins. A requirement for participant training only adds to the cost of recruitment and creates unwanted friction before the project has even started. 7 tips for online research automation recruitment: Don’t be afraid to inform – include a summary of the purpose of online focus group or discussion. To do this you need to understand what you are asking them to do and what value their contribution will make? The incentive reward is vital, but you will get an improved buy-in if you can help participants identify with the subject matter. We all like to be valued, and the same goes for individuals’ opinions. If people feel their views are appreciated they would be more likely to log into your group after a long day’s work. Set clear expectations and confirm – include a clear list which provides a summary of what people can expect when agreeing to participate in an online focus or community discussion group. A confirmation email should outline what a participant can expect on...

Ten tips for online qualitative research discussions

OK, so you think you are ready for your online market or social research community discussion? You’re full of nervous anticipation, and you are excited about what’s coming next. Your expectations are high, and you have relied on your knowledge and experience to get you to this far. There is only one problem, you have left everything to the last minute, assuming the online technology will automate everything for you. But you quickly discover there are new processes to learn and participant responses are being influenced by the way you have visually presented your online discussion. You hear yourself say, “if only I had known these things before .…!” There are no doubt advances in technology has improved the process of managing online qualitative market and social research projects, but it’s important to remember there is an inverse relationship between the time you invest in preparing for an online project and the effort required to capture the data. It is true that online qualitative research projects demand the learning of new skills and even relearning some old ones, but the time you spend preparing is rewarded ten-fold by the insights you will gather at the end of the process. Your online market or social research project will only be as good as the information you put into it. To repeat a cliché, ‘Garbage in, garbage out!’ Whether conducting online market research or evaluating the success of a national program, a clear understanding that you need to invest the time to learn the tools and become familiar with the process will ensure your online project is a success and delivers...

How to start utilising the efficiency and flexibility of online qualitative research methods.

Online qualitative research methods of capturing insights are complementary to traditional approaches, but it is a methodology which will continue to grow as people choose to live, work and play online! While some people will just jump in (sink or swim), this is not necessarily the best way to take your first step. Not to dampen your enthusiasm, you will still need that, but like anything new, your first experience will not only determine the outcome of the project but will shape the attitudes of all those involved towards online qualitative research as a viable method. So how does one transition to online methods after building expertise capturing qualitative insights using ‘physical’ face-to-face focus groups and interviews? Anyone who remembers the movie ‘The Karate Kid’ will recall a moment when Mr Miyagi instructs the ‘Karate Kid’ to “wax on, wax off”, those of you who don’t, it just means from basic tasks comes greater knowledge and wider application of that knowledge. Start with something small, but invest the time in planning and treat it as a large project. One of the most constructive ways of introducing an online qualitative research methodology into your research mix is to start with a complementary scenario. What I mean by complimentary is choose a project where an online component will add value to the result, but if it doesn’t go the way you planned, it does not adversely affect the outcome of the whole project. This approach will constructively help you ‘test the waters’, but also add greater depth to your qualitative research project. If things don’t go the way you planned (as...

How to invite people to a community discussion

We often get asked: “What is the best way to invite people to an online discussion…”, in many cases, it will depend on the kind of group you are running, but here is one process that works pretty much all the time. When you invite participants to take part in an online discussion board, it pays to keep it simple! From the very beginning assume participants don’t know anything about the platform or process you are using. This doesn’t mean sending them a very long and laborious email detailing every aspect of the research method. A long-winded explanation only serves to create negative expectations and ultimately adversely affects the discussion board participation rate. To get an online discussion up and running follow this three step process: (I am assuming here you have already screened participants through some kind of recruitment process – this is a topic for another day.): I strongly suggest you make contact with participants before sending out the actual invitation to the discussion boards; this can be done by email or by good old fashioned telephone. I can’t tell you how many times we have seen discussion boards started where participants have no idea why they are receiving an invitation email to log into a forum. It only leads to confusion, frustration and in some cases spam complaints against your organisation. Send participants the invitation email from the discussion board tool; this should include the board details, start time, how long the discussion will last, how they should contact you if they have any issues, the username and password, and a link to your organisation’s website...

Agile research method – user experience diary

Obtaining real customer experience insights and not just making assumptions based on secondary (analytics data) is absolutely critical before finalising your concepts and requirements. There is no substitute for talking to real people about what you are proposing before investing real money in App or Website development. This article shows you how to use an agile user experience research method know as a user experience diary. Using an agile research user experience diary enables you to run ideas and concepts by a selected group from your target audience. An online user experience guided diary is a cost effective and time sensitive option to find out if people will understand and accept your idea. Agile methods of testing using online user experience guided diary enable you to set some tasks for individuals to complete over a particular period. The objective to confirm their needs and find out what works and what does not. You can ask a group of people from your user audience questions and present concepts to comment. From a user’s point of view, it is a one on one conversation with the diary and the organiser or moderator. You can also include a topic which includes wireframe images and selects a topic task to have individuals click on a website wireframe image based on a set of instructions you provided. The combination of both visual input and qualitative data in the form of comments provides both action and behavioural feedback Why an agile research user experience diary? Stay informed subscribe   First Name Please add your first name Email Address Please add your email address Submit A...