Qualitative Research Has Changed: How Web 2.0 Increases Opportunities
Based on widespread Internet adoption, software enabling social interaction, ubiquitous camera access and mobile connections, Web 2.0 has changed qualitative research. Research is no longer limited by time and location. It can now access experiences as they happen, where they happen. Respondents can be global and engaged with each other. Spontaneous interactions and moments of self-discovery can be stimulated. And it is more cost-effective and much faster than focus groups, ethnographies or in-depth interviews.
No, Dorothy, you’re not in Kansas anymore. Marketers need to understand the new world as occupied by firms like Revelation (Visit their website here, where most of this information originally came from).
- Assume that you are interested in wine experiences. Respondents can keep a journal and show through video or image the context of their wine experience and their observations about it. A moderator can ask probing questions.
- Assume you want to test ads for a new service. With a commitment of 30 minutes a day over five days, you can get individual comments to test ads complete with insightful conversation among respondents.
- Assume you need to develop a new product to revitalize a frozen dinner brand. You start with seven days of respondents using an online diary to record their experiences and activities related to frozen dinners, complete with videos and descriptions. A moderator interjects with questions. Then, you expose another respondent set to 10 concepts presented with a video showing the package and user experience. An online discussion with moderator interaction is part of the process. Finally, three finished concepts are put to an in-home test where respondents film their test experience.
- Assume that you want to understand the food inventory of consumers. Instead of asking about a respondent’s refrigerator contents, you ask him or her to take you on a photo tour of the fridge.
- Assume you want to get into deep emotions surrounding a brand. Ask respondents to deprive themselves of it for a day, and record the resulting emotions. Or, ask the respondent to create or find images that reflect the feelings associated with a brand and post them. Encourage a discussion around the most interesting.
- Assume you want some insight into a brand. Post six pictures and ask which image jumps out at the respondent when in a certain brand context.
These tests can be conducted over a short period of time, can involve visuals, and often are enriched by social engagement.
Qualitative research remains a key tool through its ability to produce rich and to-the-point insights. The fact is that effective innovation needs the stimulation of qualitative research. Conventional techniques will still have a role, but knowing that the field has been taken to a new level is news indeed.
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