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Let’s Work Together: The Consumer Co-Creation Camp

Posted By Isabel Aneyba, 11 hours ago
Updated: Monday, June 24, 2019

Let’s Work Together: The Consumer Co-Creation Camp

 

While focus groups have long been a part of the innovation process, many clients have voiced their frustration about the limitations of traditional focus groups. To respond to this and other client needs, COMARKA created a methodology called Consumer Co-creation Camp. It is designed to expedite the research process while making it fun and provide a more direct connection between the client and consumers.

 

We had a client that decided it was time for his company to start an innovative process. This is how he requested the research: “I do not want boring focus groups, I want a fun process like a reality show, where we are looking to discover new things. I do not want to listen to top-of-mind responses, I want a deeper understanding. We want to achieve a year’s worth of research in one comprehensive study: understand the target, create product/brand concepts and evaluate those concepts

 

To address this client’s broad request, we facilitated three groups simultaneously in three days to create products and brands with consumers. This process involved multiple stakeholders: the client team, the advertising agency and the consumers. We called this engaging process: The Consumer Co-creation Camp.

 

At the end of the fieldwork, the client stated: “We clearly know what we need to know to make this product a success in the marketplace”. How did this project provide such clarity and confidence to the client team and agency? In my view, it was the co-creation of compelling consumer-ready ideas. Three successive stages lead them to:

Stage One: Storytelling Turns Participants into Friends 

 

We wanted the participants to get to know one another first, so we asked Millennial participants to introduce themselves using a collage they created prior to the Camp. This set the stage that this process was about the Millennials and about being together. They felt appreciated while they found new friends and were free to use their own colloquial language.

 

During this process, our clients moved from feeling “I want to hear this and that” to “These people are interesting”” to “This is going to be big”. There was a perception shift because it was the first-time clients had a chance to see how these Millennials saw themselves. 

 

Stage Two: Concept-Generation Exercises Produce Meaningful Product and Brand Ideas 

 

Millennials created new concepts after testing the product. Collages helped participants to articulate their feelings because many times participants do not know how to describe their feelings and emotions. Collages were a springboard to show their feelings and it was a great equalizer, giving them all the opportunity to adapt the product and the brand to themselves. Our clients witnessed how the brand concepts matched Millennials’ needs and personal styles.

  

Stage Three: An Open Forum Motivates Clients to Truly Listen to Consumers' Ideas 

 

This stage motivated the clients the most. The Millennials presented their ideas directly to them, in the same room. The client team and Millennial teams had a vigorous conversation. There was ‘one voice in the room’. Consumers and clients worked in tandem focused on the unifying goal, with no barriers, mirrors or attitudes. After the final presentation, all the clients knew what the final output of the research was! 

 

Three Key Outcomes

 At the end of the process, three key outcomes would significantly impact product management, the brand vision, and consumer engagement.

Product Management. The global R&D and Marketing team became aligned and felt empowered to make necessary product and packaging changes.

Brand Vision. The client and ad agency gained a deeper understanding of Millennials, their needs, and shared this with the entire corporation. This understanding inspired them to create a new brand vision.

Engagement. The marketing teams learned how Millennials made friends, and this insight helped them to better engage with this target – utilizing a relevant marketing platform.

Even after the camp, the participants’ ideas were referred to constantly by the clients and the agency. Their vivid experiences allowed for crisper memories. The co-creation experience anchored the clients’ understanding on this target audience through a human connection. It was clear how the Co-Creation Camp streamlined the research process, and in the end, saved the client money and time while enhancing their understanding.

 

Do you believe your corporate clients would value working together with the consumers in a fun, engaging process that yields high quality insights and speedier outcomes?

 

 If so, how can you streamline your next research project to generate compelling consumer -ready ideas? Consumer Co-creation Camp is a great alternative. When empowered and enabled by the research process our experience has shown that Millennials and Clients are happy to embrace the challenge of creating new products and services.

 

Isabel Aneyba is president and chief insight generator of COMARKA, an Austin, Texas research firm. COMARKA empowers marketers to develop meaningful product and brand ideas with their customers through dialogue. www.comarka.com

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/isabelaneyba/ 

Twitter: @IsabelAneyba

 

Tags:  focus groups  market research  Millennials  QRCA Digest  qualitative research  Research Methodologies  Research Methodology 

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Annual Conference Reporter on the Scene: Bid Adieu to Bad Proposal Habits

Posted By Anya Zadrozny, Thursday, June 13, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Annual Conference Reporter on the Scene: Bid Adieu to Bad Proposal Habits

Kayte Hamilton’s session Bid Adieu to Bad Proposal Habits focused on the current trends in proposal writing. As the co-chair of the QRCA Qually Award (which is an award given to the researcher that submits the best proposal to a set RFP) Kayte has had the unique experience of peaking behind the curtain and checking out what today’s proposals look like. With that knowledge along with interviews she conducted with fellow researchers, she took attendees through ways they could update and refresh their proposal writing, content and presentation to win more business.

Before we get to the meaty slide – here are two tips to remember before you start creating your proposal.

  1. View your proposal as the first expression of your company and brand identity. Make sure your brand personality and style shine through.
  2. When you receive an RFP, ask questions to the potential client about the target audience, budget, timing to return proposal, etc. Worst case – you don’t get a response, best case – you form a connection with the potential client and stand out from the crowd.
  3. Get feedback. Set reminders when you send in proposals to send a follow-up e-mail in a week to check the status of the proposal. Set another Email reminder to get feedback on why you did or did not get the job. Remember to use that proposal feedback to update your next proposal.

Here are five main trends from Kayte’s presentation that are helpful for you to know, and research further, as you go forth and submit proposals.

  • Brevity
    • The trending length of your proposal should be around 8 pages or slides. That’s 1 cover + 7 supporting pages and it should be sent in PDF format.
    • Be aware and find a balance between articulation and over-explanation.
    • As moderators we are great at mirroring and use it to our advantage, however - mirroring is not helpful here – don’t waste space copying proposal wording or creating a long run up to your design – the clients know what they asked. Answer the question, don’t pose it again.
    • The KISS method – aka keep it simple stupid – is the best way to present your ideas. Clients are often opening proposals on their phones or checking out proposals during small breaks during the day. Present them with something they are not going to dread or be intimidated to read.
  • Design
    • Your proposal should be presented in a visually appealing way, it should add to the streamlined, clean feeling of the content.
    • How do you get to design? After digesting the RFP, start with an outline of what you want to cover, then get into the heavy, meaty writing, then edit and trim that brain dump to get the executive summary level of the content, and finally add that text into your design.
    • Don’t have a proposal template? Piggyback off of your report template, or search for free proposal designs in Google with a few keywords and go from there. Don’t discount hiring a professional here. This is often the first impression of your brand.
    • Terrified of going from word to PPT? Try turning your word page from portrait to landscape and give that a try.
  • Multi-Phase Research
    • This is more of a research trend than a proposal style trend – but Kayte found that multi-phase research is in! If this isn’t something you are already doing, she suggested a few ways to implement multi-phase research, without it being a giant undertaking.
      • Integrate the pre-research you are already doing as the first phase into your proposal.
      • Utilize the same respondents or a select few respondents from part one into part 2 to save on recruiting costs. For example, a mobile board to focus groups.
  • Collaboration
    • We are facilitators, we juggle various stakeholders and agendas. Why not officially involve these stakeholders in your research phases? From a debrief session at the end, to a mini working session or co-creation session between phase 1 and phase 2 or a facilitated findings co-creation exercise before report writing - getting stakeholder involvement and awareness during the whole research process can be time-saving and beneficial.
    • Adding research phases where your client can observe the participant in the real world was also suggested.
  • Social
    • Using Social media is trending.
    • Monitoring and scanning online reviews, videos, comments and forums to assess the topic.
    • Using social media research as the first phase or pre-research information as pre-research and a dose of reality.
    • Check what awareness there is from your client of their customers opinions of their brand via their social media presence.

QRCA Reporter on the Scene:

Anya Zadrozny

AnyaZMedia

Twitter: @Anyazmedia

 

Tags:  proposals  QRCA Annual Conference  QRCA Reporter on the Scene 

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Qualitative Research with Employees – Why You Should Be Doing it

Posted By Janet Standen, Tuesday, June 11, 2019
Updated: Friday, June 7, 2019

Qualitative Research with Employees – Why You Should Be Doing it

If you’re an experienced qualitative researcher and you haven’t done any employee experience research yet, perhaps it’s time you did!

First Things First

Why do I find employee qualitative so rewarding?  We spend about a quarter of our life working, so if I can unearth an insight or two that can really make a difference in bettering the experience employees have in the workplace, I’m making a real contribution. By elevating the happiness of people on the job – where they spend so much time – my job seems more worthwhile and – in turn – makes me happier!

When and Why Is Qual Needed?

As is often the case, qualitative is a comfortable (and critical) companion to quantitative research. Most medium to large companies have a comprehensive annual Employee Engagement or Employee Satisfaction Survey – and each year they review the resulting data. Survey questions vary depending on the company, but they are usually around enjoyment, pride, understanding of and fit with the company vision, diversity, management performance, rewards, work/life balance, career development, and so on.

But what happens when the data show a shift or a trend, and no one is quite sure why it’s happening?   Or, there’s an unexplained exodus of people; there may be gossip and rumors but no firsthand, deeper understanding about its cause.  Exit interviews may or may not get to answers; by this point, the individuals leaving often don’t care enough to help make a difference for the people left behind.

And, what about all those subtle nuances of day-to-day life at work that don’t actually get captured in the big bucket questions?  In order to have one standard survey that can be applied across all roles and levels in a company, the survey questions can become so bland – and we all know how dangerous it can be to include honest, open-ended answers if we think it might be possible to track it back to us. This is why qualitative is needed.

Different Roles for Qualitative

To ensure a quantitative survey will provide greatest value, its design is as critical as understanding its output.  Qualitative should be used to inform the right questions included in the survey.  Qualitative can be invaluable in ensuring the questions are being asked in the right way. Following the survey results, a third use of qualitative is to help explain the reasons for any negative shifts in data, ideally before employees start walking out the door.

Steering Qual.  This should come first to ensure that the right questions are asked. Mini-groups are a good way to include a greater number of employees than IDIs, even if it requires some travel. Participants can be cross-functional and cross-level, at least to some degree. The conversations should be informal around key areas that matter to people. The discussion guide should be loosely designed with input from key stakeholders like Directors of Human Resources or Insights, but the moderator should be guided most by the natural direction that each group’s discussion takes. Specifically: what impacts their working environment and success every day; what really matters to people, how much it matters, why it matters.  A comprehensive list of topics that impact employee happiness needs to emerge with a good understanding of the right way to think about the topic.  Only then should an analysis of the output and learnings translate into a draft survey.

Tune-up Qual.  This should come second. Once you have your draft survey, conduct a series of UX IDIs – where respondents think out loud as they take the survey. They need to take place with a range of people in different roles and levels. The survey can iterate throughout the interviews—but once you think it has evolved and been polished to a state of readiness for primetime, do a final 6-8 interviews to ensure it is as good as it needs to be,  i.e. has comprehensive and relevant questions for all, that are asked in a clear, easy-to-understand way.

Directions Research.  In this next stage, the learning becomes actionable given the benefit of a deeper understanding of the reasons behind shifts in data or behavior. IDIs or mini-groups can be considered, but ideally it’s a combination of the two. The topics up for discussion are driven by the data from the quant. Usually 5-6 topics can be covered in a 90-minute mini-group or a 30-minute IDI.

A great structure once the topics have been carefully introduced is:

  • What’s working well?
  • What’s not working so well?
  • What fears do you have?
  • What do you wish for?

There is a huge benefit in the research being recruited by an independent recruiter to allow for anonymity and to avoid manager bias of “favorites” being put forward. When moderated by an independent moderator, openness and honesty from participants is encouraged.  Employees should be guaranteed anonymity during these sessions, and ideally, a note taker should scribe the session rather than recording it. Reassure individuals that their opinions and experiences will feed into an overview report of themes and that nothing will be attributed to an individual.

Suggestions for change resulting from the research can be grouped into “quick wins” ensuring employees experience the impact of their input, and “longer term challenges” to make sure some of the deeper challenges can be prioritized and tackled by management.

If you haven’t brought your qualitative skills to bear on employee happiness yet, you may want to consider adding it to your “to do” list for the future. You won’t regret it!

 

Janet Standen is Co-Founder of Scoot Insights, a qualitative provider specializing in helping decision-makers choose a better direction, effectively and efficiently. Her background is in innovation, business strategy and brand positioning.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/janetstanden/

Janet@ScootInsights.com

@Scootinsights

 

 

Tags:  Employee Experience  Employee Research  QRCA Digest  qualitative research  Research Methodologies 

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Annual Conference Reporter on the Scene: Many Ways to Tell a Story: Exploring Different Approaches to Displaying Data

Posted By Randi Stillman, Thursday, June 6, 2019
Updated: Monday, June 3, 2019
Annual Conference Reporter on the Scene: Many Ways to Tell a Story: Exploring Different Approaches to Displaying Data

UX Live!

Summary:
At the 2019 QRCA Annual Conference, Caroline Volpe, Compass Market Research LLC and Maria Virobik, ResearchScribe, presented on the “Many Ways to Tell a Story: Exploring Different Approaches to Displaying Data”. Through their hands-on presentation, the presenting team shared inspiration, ideas, and tools to communicate research data in text-based reports by the creative use of visual elements to tell a story with all in attendance.

Key Takeaways:
QRCs can apply a few simple guidelines and have access to free or low-cost online tools if they want to transform the bulleted text of a traditional PPT report into a visually compelling story. The presenters recommend creating a desktop inspiration folder to save icons, vector graphics (for infographics), images, and report formats, such as the methodology section for depicting the who, what, when, where, and how of your project. Don't forget to use built-in visual design elements, such as size, color, spacing, etc. for clarity, direction, and importance when you put your report together to tell a story. Some of the resources mentioned include: The Noun Project, Flat Icon, Free Pick, CanStockPhoto, 123RF, Slideshop, SmartArt, and Inkscape.

Putting it into practice:
I will continue to think visually as a storyteller when doing my own reports and I'll explore some of the resources mentioned for inspiration and new ideas. 

A-ha moment:
For best results, allow yourself some time to explore and be playful when getting ideas and searching images that will help you tell a compelling story.

Kayte HamiltonQRCA Reporter on the Scene:

Randi Stillman
Bottom Line Market Research & Consulting
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/randistillman/
Twitter: @bottomlinemrv

Tags:  QRCA Annual Conference  QRCA Reporter on the Scene  qualitative research 

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Annual Conference Reporter on the Scene: Opening Closed Doors with Role Play

Posted By Vidhika Bansal, Thursday, May 30, 2019
Updated: Monday, May 20, 2019

Annual Conference Reporter on the Scene: Opening Closed Doors with Role Play

Summary:

Although immersive ethnographic research is the gold standard for gathering real-world insights, there are situations when financial, regulatory, logistical, privacy, and ethical constraints make such contextual research extremely challenging, if not altogether unfeasible. Luckily, as Elizabeth George shared with attendees at the 2019 QRCA Annual Conference, role play is a fantastic alternative research method that can allow us to learn a lot about the nuanced conversations that occur “behind closed doors”.

By pairing a respondent immersed in a scenario with an actor who engages with the respondent to simulate a real-world situation, we can begin to better understand the natural language used and interactions characteristic of dialogue around a given product or topic. We can also gain deeper insight into the dynamics of complex decision-making, such as how potential customers may react to two different sales pitches. These insights are especially helpful in developing messaging strategy, educational content that addresses gaps in awareness, as well as gauging receptiveness to specific ideas or approaches.

 

Key Takeaways:

  • When to use it: Role play research can be especially helpful when attempting to glean nuanced information from stakeholders in industries that are highly-regulated, prohibitively-costly, or ethically-challenging.
  • The process: There are several steps to the process of conducting role play research, namely: identifying the research objectives and scenario of interest, determining appropriate roles and recruiting actors for them, creating profiles and guidance for your actors and respondents, “setting the scene” for respondents and observing interactions play out, and finally debriefing both parties.
  • Valuable outcomes: Content and messaging strategy development is often a key outcome of such research, along with a better understanding of receptiveness (or lack thereof) to certain products or approaches.

 

Putting it into practice:

The next time I work with a client in the financial or healthcare space or am struggling to get “behind a closed door” of any sort for immersive research, I will keep this invaluable tool in my back pocket as a high-quality alternative approach.

 

A-ha moments:

  • Especially in salesperson-prospect and physician-patient scenarios, respondents often are able to act relatively natural despite being in a simulated setting with an actor because they tend to be accustomed to using role play when they are first being trained.
  • Using the physical space to your advantage, by walking the respondent over to the actor (and conducting setup and debriefs in a different space), can help limit the influence of the environment being simulated vs. real for the respondent.
  • Role play research can be a fantastic way to validate personas that you have already created, especially if they were proto-personas largely based on assumptions.

Liz was an absolutely fantastic presenter—engaging, knowledgeable, and able to explain her process in digestible and relatable terms—and this research method is a great one to add to our expanding toolkit.

 

QRCA Reporter on the Scene:

Vidhika Bansal

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/vidhikabansal/

Twitter: @Vidhster

 

Tags:  qrca  QRCA Annual Conference  QRCA Reporter on the Scene  qualitative research  Research Methodologies 

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How To Create Effective Screeners

Posted By Jeff Walkowski, Tuesday, May 28, 2019
Updated: Friday, May 24, 2019

How To Create Effective Screeners

Whether you’re experienced or just breaking into qualitative research, it never hurts to review what makes a screener effective in finding just the right people for a research project. It is a questionnaire that recruiters will use to find qualified participants for the study. It is called a “screener” because it is like panning for gold—we have to sift through many people to find the nuggets (qualified people) to be invited to participate. Screeners are used by telephone recruiters, or they may be online surveys as a way to automate the recruitment process. Automation helps reduce expense by eliminating the human effort of dialing phones and talking to potential participants. Keep in mind that automated screeners still have costs associated with them – most notably programming costs which may include quota control, skip patterns, and conditional questions (all of which are typical of any online survey).

All the rules/guidelines about questionnaire construction apply to qualitative research screeners. The most effective screeners have the following characteristics:

They Are Short

If a screener is too long, participants may hang up the phone with a recruiter or simply decide to discontinue completing an online survey. Ideally, screeners have no more than 10-15 questions, or they take no longer than 5 minutes to administer (online or offline).

 

They Are Clear about the Purpose at the Beginning

Tell participants that it is not a sales call. Explain that we are looking for people to participate in a market research interview, but we must spend some time asking some questions to determine if they qualify.

 

They Do Not Provide Hints that Encourage Cheating

They include an intentionally general description of the nature of the research so as to not tip off participants to answer a particular way so that they can be invited. For example, say, “We are putting together a focus group on beverages,” instead of “We are putting together a focus group to determine what consumers think of Starbucks.”

 

They Include Questions Up Front that Are Easy to Answer and that Quickly Eliminate People Without Taking too Much Time

For example, if we are looking for millennial females, we will first ask about gender and age so that non-millennial males are quickly excused.

 

They Include Need-to-Know Questions – Not Nice-to-Know Questions

Asking nice-to-know questions lengthens the screener, can be frustrating to potential participants going through the screening process, and makes the recruitment process less efficient and possibly more expensive. Keeping the focus on questions that help determine whether a person should be invited or not is best.

 

They Include Intriguing Questions

Interesting questions keep survey-takers engaged. The objective is to not lose them along the way due to boredom.

 

They Feature Mostly Closed-End Questions

Again, this is designed to help the prospective recruit move through the process as quickly as possible. Closed-end responses also make the task easier for the recruiter (no judgment required).

 

They Often Include One or More of the Following Question Types

  • Product/service category use
  • If they are not users of a particular product or service, they are unlikely to be useful.
  • Brand(s) used more often and/or brands they would never use
  • If the project is about a particular brand, we probably do not want individuals who reject the brand outright (unless, of course, the purpose is to attract those who reject the brand).
  • Past participation in market research surveys, focus groups, and interviews
  • Preference is given to those who are not considered “professional” participants, so that they approach the research experience with a fresh attitude.
  • Employment in certain industries
  • We typically do not want those who are employed in advertising, public relations, or market research. In addition, we tend to rule out those who are employed in the industry that the project is about, because they may “know too much” and not represent the typical customer for the product/service.

 

They May Include an “Articulation” Question

Such open-end questions are used to help ensure that a participant will be able to make a meaningful contribution to the discussion. Sometimes questions are asked that pose a creativity challenge to the potential participant (e.g., “List 10 ways in which rubber bands might be used”). Ideally, however, a question that is related to the product category will be more relevant (e.g., in a study of high-end golfing equipment, potential participants might be asked to demonstrate some core knowledge of current equipment). In markets where participants may have differing levels of proficiency with the language to be used in the group (e.g., English), the recruiter may be asked to judge the ability of the potential participant to be clearly understood. This serves as an additional articulation assessment.

 

Author Bio

Jeff Walkowski is the principal of QualCore.com Inc., a consulting firm providing traditional and online qualitative research services to a wide range of industries including health care, financial services, automotive, and information services. He was schooled as a quantitative specialist and entered the industry in the 1980s as a statistician. He later discovered his talents as a moderator and evolved into a qualitative specialist by the mid-1990s.

Tags:  market research  outreach  QRCA Digest  qualitative research  Recruiting  Research Methodology 

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Annual Conference Reporter on the Scene: The Neuroscience of Memorable Messages

Posted By Graciela Braniff, Thursday, May 23, 2019
Updated: Monday, May 13, 2019

Annual Conference Reporter on the Scene: The Neuroscience of Memorable Messages

Summary:

Dr. Carmen Simon presented during the 2019 QRCA Annual Conference on strategies for transforming yourself and your message into something worth noticing and remembering. According to Dr. Simon, one of the biggest problems with business content is that audiences forget 90% of what you share after two days. To help us understand how people pay attention, remember content, and ultimately act on it, we need to look at the field of neuroscience, which reveals insights on how the brain processes information and tends to remember it – or, more often – forget it.  Throughout her session, Dr. Simon taught us how to convert neuroscience insights into practical guidelines you can use to craft content with lasting impact. This is critical because both your internal and external audiences make decisions in your favor based on what they remember, not on what they forget.

 

Key Takeaways:

This was the most interesting presentation regarding neuroscience that I have heard in a long time. Instead of a explaining how neuroscience can help to analyze concepts and advertising and discover how emotionally interesting or engaging they are (which from what I have read is not possible) Dr. Simon explained what can help make our presentations and our reports more memorable in our spectators’ minds.

One remembers only maybe 10% of what is presented. So, it is extremely important that there is one main idea that unifies the whole presentation. It must be clear, and it has to convey a reward to the spectator. This idea must engage on mental models (existing associations) that the spectator knows because this helps them perceive it rapidly. In the presentation there has to be a balance between what is new and what is a mental model, so twist the familiar with what is new to consolidate memorability. These ideas can also be applied to the messages that our clients want to convey

 

Putting it into practice:

After hearing Dr. Simon’s presentation, I took the opportunity to renew my company's presentation and reports I had done to help them be more memorable!

 

A-ha moment:

There was a moment during the presentation that I realized how much something Dr. Simon presented resonated: “An idea that moves and motivates me thoroughly, will also move and motivate others.” It seems simple, but it really stuck with me. I even used the presentation information to redo two important upcoming presentations based on this information.

 

QRCA Reporter on the Scene:

Graciela Braniff

Braniff Qualitative

 

 

 

Tags:  QRCA Annual Conference  QRCA Reporter on the Scene  Qualitative Research 

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Annual Conference Reporter on the Scene: Better AND Faster? It can be Done!

Posted By Peggy Moulton-Abbott, Thursday, May 16, 2019
Updated: Monday, May 13, 2019

Annual Conference Reporter on the Scene: Better AND Faster? It can be Done!

Summary:

In the dynamic, fast-paced environment in which we all operate, innovation is crucial. During the 2019 QRCA Annual Conference, Allison Rak of Vatoca Partners presented practical methods to take our businesses and offerings to the next level. Allison gave us Quallies so many methods to lighten our work loads and speed up our outputs including a method for report writing that will literally cut days off of your turnaround time, while taking your deliverables up a notch!

Key Takeaways:

Follow these steps:

  1. List everything you do in the course of your work.
  2. Identify tasks you love.
  3. Identify tasks ONLY you can do.
  4. Find someone to whom you can outsource everything else.
  5. Build the costs into your overall budget and do not break it out to the client.

There are many great, efficient and inexpensive resources are available to help us with our work, we need to tap into these resources!

 

Putting it into practice:

It’s a great self-examination exercise to identify everything we’re doing and concentrate on outsourcing the time/labor intensive tasks we could pay someone else to do so we can concentrate on what we love to do.

A-ha moment:

There are so many sites and apps that can provide qualified people to do our drudge work and even assist our clients with theirs. Everyone should look and listen to this sage advice!

QRCA Reporter on the Scene:

Peggy Moulton-Abbott

Newfound Insights

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/peggymaatnewfoundinsights/

 

 

Tags:  QRCA Annual Conference  QRCA Reporter on the Scene  qualitative research 

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Data Visualization: 3 Ways to Make Your Qualitative Reports Pop

Posted By Maria Virobik, Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Updated: Monday, May 13, 2019

Data Visualization: 3 Ways to Make Your Qualitative Reports Pop

What Can Data Visualization Do for Us?   

Data visualization—the graphical representation of information and data—can be a powerful tool in qualitative reporting. While we certainly can’t completely escape text-centric pages in our qualitative reports, graphics add visual interest and help break up the monotony of pages (or slides) of text. Done well, graphics help support qualitative findings and enable us to communicate in more interesting ways beyond words on paper (or a screen). Effective data visualization can also help readers understand concepts more quickly and easily and make information more memorable.

 

All the Cool Kids Are Doing it   

Newspapers and other media outlets have jumped on board the data visualization bandwagon. Publications like The Washington Post, The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times employ full-time data journalists to augment their reporting. These folks take an enormous trove of data on a particular topic—for instance, the earlier start of spring in some parts of the U.S. or the confirmed U.S. measles cases by county in 2019 —and expertly slice, dice and manipulate the information into interactive graphics that communicate big ideas in an accessible and elegant way.

 

Data Visualization and Qual: Not a Linear Journey

Visualizing quantitative data is relatively easy. Hard numbers and percentages naturally lend themselves to visual representation. Charts, graphs and their modern equivalent—infographics—are easy to create from quant data.

Qualitative data can be harder to visualize; transforming qual data into graphics isn't as straightforward or simple. A search for “infographics and qualitative data” reveals that some people even argue that qual data can’t be turned into infographics. Take heart, however. An equal number argue that it can and provide examples to back this assertion.

But it’s not a linear journey from qualitative data to data visualization. Many of us have heard from end clients who want hard numbers or percentages included in a final report to quantify how various concepts or ideas stacked up against each other. We can explain that “qual isn't quant” until the cows come home, but clients persist in making such requests.

Instead of giving in to these requests (or refusing them outright), there is another option. We can take this as the opportunity to develop data visualization approaches that give our clients the detail they want and expect without compromising the qualitative nature of the report. A few examples follow.

 

Word Clouds – an Oldie but Goodie

Word clouds are a common data visualization technique in qualitative reports. Using font size (and often color), they convey magnitude of various responses, thoughts or ideas. Larger words=more popular/frequent/common. This approach works well because it’s a way to provide granular detail without showing the actual numbers behind the information.

While word clouds aren't the answer for every situation, they are a great tool, and websites for creating them abound. The PollEverywhere blog lists nine favorite word cloud generators, including Wordle and Tagxedo. A Google search for “word cloud generator” will point you to others.

 

Customer Journey Maps: Timelines in Disguise

Customer journey maps are another way to employ data visualization in qualitative reports. These maps are essentially timelines; a quick Google search on this term turns up many great examples that can be easily adapted to fit your particular purpose.

Here’s one example: a timeline detailing milestones in the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps history from 2010 to 2014.

(Source: 21csc.org/2014/08/12/21csc-timeline/)

The example above is organized by year, but the general format can be adapted to visualize a customer journey. Year markers become phases in the purchase journey: research, comparison, selection, purchase. The linear format allows room above and below the line for details on the individual steps consumers undertake in each phase.

Venngage is one great resource for infographic templates and tools, including many for timelines (such as the one below). They offer a couple different subscription plans. But you can peruse the templates for free, and that might be all the inspiration you need to create your own.

Linear Timeline Infographic Template

Source: (venngage.com/templates/infographics/6-years-of-tradition-5620fc1f-3bf6-4ff4-a406-c7c68a9efd7c)

 

Bubble Graphs – Form and Function

Bubble graphs are another idea we can borrow from data journalism. During the 2012 London Olympics, The New York Times kept a running medal count by country and visualized the data in a simple table (below). The information is clear, but the table doesn't do a great job conveying the magnitude of differences among countries.

The Times formatted the same information into a bubble graph. This approach does a much better job conveying magnitude. You can easily identify the countries that led the medal counts. Readers could hover over any circle for more detailed information, including a country’s medal count by type (gold/silver/bronze). (Visit the link below the graphic and try it for yourself!)

 

(Source: www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/london2012/results)

 

The same idea—sans numbers, of course—could be employed in qualitative reporting. For example, we could use a bubble graph to report the characteristics that participants want in a dog.

 

Readers can immediately see which characteristics were most important and which were mentioned by fewer participants. By keeping numbers out of it, the graphic remains faithful to the spirit of qualitative research.

 

Sky’s the Limit 

These are just a few examples of how data visualization techniques can be employed to make qualitative reports more engaging and communicate findings and implications more effectively.

Here are several links to more examples; many additional resources can be found by searching data visualization:

What are your go-to data visualization techniques and tools? What works? What doesn't? If you have advice or a favorite resource to share, please leave a comment.

 

Author bio

Maria Virobik joined QRCA in 2018 but has worked in qualitative research since 1997. After early dalliances in the advertising world, she came to her senses and has been devoted to qualitative analysis and reporting ever since. Originally from Southern California, she and her husband sold their house last year and now live a nomadic lifestyle with their two marginally obedient dogs, Lucy and Ginger Snap.

 

Tags:  Customer Experience  Customer Journey Maps  Data Visualization  QRCA Digest  Qualitative Research 

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Annual Conference Reporter on the Scene: What Qual Can Learn from Coaching

Posted By Meghan Lazier, Thursday, May 9, 2019

Annual Conference Reporter on the Scene: What Qual Can Learn from Coaching

Summary:

In this session at the 2019 QRCA Annual Conference, Jay Zaltzman of Bureau West talked about his experience and training as a coach to demonstrate how coaching can provide a new perspective for qualitative work.

Coaching has gained in popularity in recent years. Coaches used to only be hired by athletes and other performers who wanted to go beyond average to excellent, but many have realized they don’t have to be performers to benefit from coaching and become more effective. Qualitative researchers can use coaching principles to stand out and provide even more value to clients.

Key Takeaways:

As a qualitative practitioner, you already have skills that the coaching profession values, according to Zaltzman. You're comfortable speaking, you can listen without judgment and you know not to interrupt or impose your own point of view. Coaches are very good at helping clients look at issues in their own lives through different perspectives, and if quallies can bring multiple perspectives to their work, they will provide a lot of value in a lot less time. 

 

Putting it into practice:

Having worked with a coach previously, I know that many coaches do initial exercises with their clients to help them clarify their values. Jay recommended starting with clarifying values to help inform various parts of qualitative research, including creating a discussion guide and further probing the values of the brand using a similar approach.

 

A-ha moment:

The best coaches know how to ask great questions. Jay introduced us to what he calls the miracle question during his session:

Imagine you go to bed tonight and sometime in the middle of the night, while you are sleeping, a miracle happens and the challenge that we are discussing is resolved. When you wake up in the morning, what’s the first small sign you’d see that would make you think, “Well, something must have happened” the problem is gone! When was the last time you saw a little bit of the miracle, even just for a short time?

Not only is this a useful question personally, but it's a question that delves into the heart of Zaltzman's belief that taking on a coaching attitude and asking better questions can help you go deeper and gain more insights for your clients.

If you're interested in more resources on coaching, Jay recommends checking out Co-Active Coaching textbooks or the work of Steve Chandler.

QRCA Reporter on the Scene:

Meghan Lazier

https://www.meghanlazier.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/meghanlazier

Twitter: @meglaz

 

Tags:  Coaching  QRCA Annual Conference  QRCA Reporter on the Scene  Qualitative Research 

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