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 customers to an Agile Insights Micro Community

We often get asked: “What is the best way to invite a particular audience to a 3 day agile online insights community discussion…”, it depends! …on the kind of micro community 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 agile online micro community discussion, it pays to keep it simple! A micro insights community is a small community of 15 to 30 people who come together to talk about particular topics over days or weeks. From the very beginning assume your targeted 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 online research method. A long-winded explanation only serves to create negative expectations and ultimately adversely affects the community context and discussion participation rate. To get an online community 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; 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 for your organisation. Send participants the invitation email from the agile...

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...

Agile testing of product and service ideas

“Test your ideas early and test them often!” a statement applied to both physical and digital products and services. When developing an idea into a product or service, it is far better to start testing at inception than wait until the horse has bolted. An idea evolved using co-creation, and agile testing is more likely to meet the needs and expectations of the target market. Agile testing of products or services shouldn’t be an afterthought, rather the cornerstone of your product development project plan. So why wouldn’t you test a product or service idea before going into full release? For large organisations, with established budgets, there aren’t any excuses. For small to medium sized businesses who work within fixed budgets – particularly start-ups – there are conflicting priorities, and it can be difficult to sell the value of pre-testing an idea. The discipline of agile testing can be especially challenging when dealing with entrepreneurial personalities, who tend to have an emotional attachment to the “next big thing”. For a person’s ego, it is a personal risk as well as a commercial one, especially if others shoot down the idea or financial backers push the founder to alter the idea from its original form. It’s only human nature not to want to hear your idea is not worth anything. For some, the personal attachment ‘s too great, and as a consequence, objectivity is thrown out of the window. But, the reality is that if it does not solve a real world problem, it’s just not going to fly. A failed product or service can be a costly exercise and leave...

Online surveys & discussions work hand in hand!

An online survey doesn’t always give you the depth of insight you might get from sitting down and having a two-way conversation with a person from your target audience. There is no doubt that online surveys are an easy way of facilitating a one-way question and answer session with many people at the same time, but it does require you first to craft one side of the conversation. There is a degree of guesswork involved because each question requires you to anticipate a response. It may seem counter-intuitive, but it does require you to have a good grasp of the intended audience and more importantly the objectives of you survey. Online surveys allow one way or asynchronous method of insight collection. Surveys are simply not built, or intended to facilitate two-way communication and engagement. Online surveys capture immediate responses and reactions to structured questions, but they do not promote the same level of discovery generated from a two-way (synchronous) post and answer discussion. Stay informedsubscribe First Name Please add your first name Email Address Please add your email address Submit Website and mobile survey environments train people to respond to questions according to a predefined response pattern, which means how the questions are structured and how they flow from one question to the next. In most cases, this tends to be short and sharp answer options framed by the question format. Surveys can also include open-ended text-based questions, where survey respondents type out a verbatim answer based on their interpretation of the question. People will often answer open text questions based on what they deem a ‘reasonable’ and ‘expected’...