This website uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some of these cookies are used for visitor analysis, others are essential to making our site function properly and improve the user experience. By using this site, you consent to the placement of these cookies. Click Accept to consent and dismiss this message or Deny to leave this website. Read our Privacy Statement for more.
Qual Power
Blog Home All Blogs
QualPower Blog

VISIT THE DE&I BLOG HERE

 

Search all posts for:   

 

Top tags: qualitative research  QRCA Annual Conference  QRCA Digest  QRCA Reporter on the Scene  Research Methodologies  qrca  qualitative  research methodology  market research  QRCA Young Professionals Grant  Humanizing Research  data  focus groups  human behavior  marketing research  Qualitative Methodologies  Qualitative Methods  communication  Customer Journey Maps  Data visualization  Ethnography  listening  mobile research  outreach  conference recap  design thinking  Insights  Market Research Technology  marketing technology  Moderating 

Online Chat Focus Groups: A First-Timer’s Perspective

Posted By Cheryl Halpern, Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Online Chat Focus GroupsA First-Timer’s Perspective 

Online Chat Focus Groups: A First-Timer’s Perspective 

First-time experiences are both exhilarating and intimidating. COVID-19 has presented us with the opportunity to add to our toolboxes, either because we recognize the seismic shift to online methodologies, or we simply have more time on our hands.

After attending a QRCA webinar about online chat focus groups, I volunteered to conduct a mock session with other professionals who were interested in seeing the platform in action.  

Methodology Description 

Online chat is similar to in-person focus groups in that targeted respondents are recruited to participate in a moderated discussion at a specific point in time for a set duration (typically 60 – 90 minutes), but different in that engagement is entirely text based. 

Online chats typically involve eight to 20 respondents. The moderator can use a whiteboard to display visuals, and backroom observers can communicate with each other directly and with the moderator through an administrator. The administrator also takes care of technical issues and helps prod participants, if needed.   

Objectives and Target Audience 

For this mock chat, my objectives were to let interested researchers experience the platform firsthand and to provide a fun break in these challenging times. I came up with a list of questions to help us explore “The Lighter Side of Quarantine.” 

All who had expressed an interest in the webinar chat room were invited to attend and could opt to be either a participant or an observer. Participants were given screen names based on the adjective they said best described their current emotional state and what they had eaten most recently. Anxious Turkey, Optimistic Beans and Weary Apple were among the favorites. 

Discussion Guide 

I was advised to allow five minutes for every three questions and planned the guide accordingly, with timed sections and detailed questions under each section. 

Once loaded, the discussion guide appears in sequential blocks on the lower righthand side of the moderator’s screen. Six to eight of these blocks can be seen at one time, and all can be seen by scrolling up and down.  

Screen shots to be used on the whiteboard are labeled and appear in a different scroll on the upper righthand side of the moderator’s screen.  

Preparation 

The platform I used had a practice room that I could enter whenever I wanted. It was pre-programmed with fourteen participants submitting random responses at what has been determined to be the typical pace, which is essentially a bell curve over about 90 seconds after a new question is introduced.  

As with any group discussion, the moderator’s task is to guide the discussion, introduce materials, and probe to elicit deeper insight. With synchronous chat discussions, that translates into three distinct but coordinated tasks: 

  1. Sending questions, either from the pre-loaded discussion guide or by typing freehand. 
  2. Sending visual stimuli to the whiteboard. 
  3. Reading the scrolling discussion and immediately probing responses as needed. 

During practice, I learned that I had the flexibility to send pre-loaded questions in any order or skip them altogether if desired.  

Moderation 

I logged in about fifteen minutes before the session started and watched as fourteen participants and thirteen observers entered. 

At the appointed time, I sent instructions to the group chat one sentence at a time, pacing myself by reading the words aloud – just as participants are reading them for the first time. 

I submitted my first screen shot and question and the frantic fun began! After just a few seconds, answers started popping up, each identified by the screen names that had been assigned.  

While I am accustomed to multi‐tasking in live focus groups, I found it rather challenging to type probes while the chat continued to scroll on the screen during the live discussion. Also, because comments were coming in quickly, any probe on a specific comment requires including the screen name of the individual being addressed. While the participant screen names I derived for this exercise were fun, I realized quickly that shorter user names would have been expedient. 

Another interesting aspect of the chat platform is that responses to one question may keep coming in after a new question has been presented. Each respondent is reading, processing, typing and submitting at a different pace. This has implications for both analysis of the transcript and construction of the discussion guide. The resulting output is not a threaded transcript, but a chronological record. 

Consensus Assessment 

We had a Zoom meeting immediately following the chat so that anyone who was interested could participate in a debrief. Virtually all felt the pace was incredibly fast and wished they had more time to read and process each of the responses individually. Nevertheless, the observers agreed that that although the content was generated quickly, it was surprisingly rich and abundant. 

Tips

From my experience moderating an online chat discussion for the first time, I would offer the following tips for others who want to utilize this tool: 

  1. Engage participants from the outset. Without face-to-face interaction, it is especially important to make the respondents feel welcomed and eager to participate.  
  2. Familiarize yourself with all toggles/options available. I did not realize that I could have done more to optimize the respondents’ screens. 
  3. Use the whiteboard judiciously. Juggling the whiteboard and the discussion guide at the same time probably complicates things unnecessarily for a novice. 
  4. Review your discussion guide with an understanding that responses from one question may spill over into the next on the transcript and arrange questions accordingly. 
  5. To facilitate deep dives on key topics, plan multiple, closely related questions and allow respondents 90 seconds to read and respond to each.   
  6. Include time allocations and screen shot reminders in your programmed discussion guide so that all the cues you’ll need are in one place. 
  7. Partner with a trusted administrator, whether that is a colleague or someone from the platform’s staff. They can run interference in the “backroom” so that you can focus on the respondents. 
  8. Practice! Even a skilled moderator needs to take the time to learn the nuances of a new tool.  

cheryl halpernAbout the Author: Cheryl Halpern

Cheryl has 25+ years of executive level marketing professional experience and is the current President of Halpern Research; formerly VP with Dallas Marketing Group and VP of Global Product Marketing with Mary Kay, Inc. 

Tags:  Actionable  Focus Groups  Insights  Market Research Technology  Online Listening  Online Technology  QRCA Digest 

PermalinkComments (0)
 

Annual Conference Reporter on the Scene: WhatsApp, the Front Row Seat to Consumer Engagement

Posted By Allyson Sovinsky, Thursday, May 7, 2020

Annual Conference Reporter on the Scene: WhatsApp, the Front Row Seat to Consumer Engagement

Presenter: Mpho Mpofu, Masutane Consulting Services

Summary

With an eager desire to connect with, feel and understand the lives of consumers in South Africa, Mpho Mpofu set out to find a way to gain a front row seat to their world. In a county confronted with a host of limitations – low levels of education, unstable connectivity, limited access to and use of computers, the intimidation of technology, high cost of data, and language barriers – “traditional methods” of conducting qualitative research would prove to be unviable. So, what was the answer? WhatsApp.

Her quest led her to a platform that would offer a multidimensional but non-intrusive lens to consumers’ lives using text, audio and video connections. WhatsApp has become the preferred form of communication in emerging markets around the world with individuals using it on a daily basis to share all the different moments of their lives. Compared to traditional research platforms, this is something these consumers already relate to, making them feel comfortable and in control, setting the stage for a greater willingness to share. WhatsApp is an agile, intimate and affordable method that allows us to be a part of a consumer’s day from the moment they wake up to the moment they go to bed. It allows us to experience in real-time the influences and circumstances that shape their decision-making, capture consumer emotion and provide a degree of anonymity for consumers. While it is limited to exploratory research, it offers a greater geographic reach and remote engagement capabilities for unlimited insight gathering.

Key Takeaways

In order to step inside the lives of humans around the world, we must leverage the familiarity and relevance of the current methods they are using to engage in their everyday lives. WhatsApp is always there, especially when computers are not. It’s not without its limitations, but it is a step in the right direction in our efforts to keep qual human and engage with our responds in their own context.

In a time where unique ways of doing research are becoming more relevant, WhatsApp is a current, agile, familiar and affordable method of research that we should all be adding to our repertoire of methodologies.

Aha Moment

What I learned in Mpho Mpofu's session has opened my eyes to the world of possibilities that are out there for qualitative research. I will keep the WhatsApp method in mind, as well as search for others, for when we need familiar, accessible and affordable means of reaching key consumer targets. While we don't do a ton of global research currently within my company, this method may open doors to making it more possible than ever.

In the world of qualitative research, we don't have to be confined to the people or places we can reach in person. With advancement in technology, we can get to the places we never thought we could reach.

Final Comments

In our quest to keep qual human, we must make take conscious efforts to meet people in their own context, in the depths of their world, in their everyday moments. WhatsApp is just one of many tools that we can use to reach the places we never thought possible.


QRCA Reporter on the Scene: Allyson Sovinsky, MarketVision Research

Tags:  Market Research Technology  marketing research  marketing technology  QRCA Annual Conference  QRCA Reporter on the Scene  Research Methodologies  research methodology  technology solutions 

PermalinkComments (0)
 

Remote Research in the Time of Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Posted By LaiYee Ho, Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Remote Research in the Time of Coronavirus (COVID-19)

With offices mandating employees to work from home, and people across the world hunkering down, researchers everywhere are scrambling to figure out how to make it all work from their home offices. 

I’ve been doing remote research out of my home for years, so I thought I’d share a few tips and tricks from my own remote-research arsenal!

In-office conversations with colleagues: Try Slack

For all conversations, whether it’s discussions about business strategy, sharing ideas on research plans, or sharing random funny articles online, we use Slack. Slack enables us to have many fluid conversations at once, and to organize conversations by topic (such as #customer-discussions, #finance-accounting, #strategy).

Communication with participant recruits: Try Intercom

Rather than using email or a group email, consider using a CRM to communicate with research participants. I have used Intercom as a CRM and have found it incredibly helpful as a way to keep track who we reached out to for which study, and to keep a log of all the communication we’ve had so far with each recruit. It allows my team members to see the previous conversations and take over for me if necessary (something that’s nearly impossible in email). If Intercom doesn’t work for your particular client, consider checking out other group CRMs to solve the same problem.

Scheduling interviews: Try Calendly

Calendly is an incredible streamlined way to have participants schedule time for studies. It syncs directly with your calendar (for us, it’s Google calendar), and you can set parameters for when someone can schedule time. Just send them a link and they can instantly book a time with you.

In-depth interviews: Try Zoom

Zoom is an online video chat service with great video quality that is super easy to use. It can also support video chats with large groups of people if you’re running a study with more than one participant. You can also record the session (make sure to always ask for consent first!)

Compensating participants: Send digital gift cards

Compensate participants by sending digital Amazon gift cards. These will get emailed straight to them. As an additional tip, if you have international recruits in other countries that want a gift card for their local Amazon branch, purchase the gift card from that country’s Amazon site. (For instance, go to https://www.amazon.co.uk/ to send someone an Amazon UK gift card. Amazon gift cards aren’t transferable between countries once purchased.

Writing documents: Try Google Docs

If you were using Microsoft Word and emailing them around, or printing them out for colleagues to review, it’s time to switch to Google Docs. Google Docs is online and fully collaborative. Colleagues can comment directly in your document and collaboratively write with you in real time.

Transcript analysis and coding: Try DelveTool

If you were printing out transcripts and highlighting them using Post-it notes or using desktop based tools like NVivo or ATLAS.ti without online capabilities, consider switching to DelveTool. (Full disclosure, I’m the co-founder so I designed and created this tool out of my own pain points). Now that your research team is working remotely from their homes, DelveTool offers a way for your team to code and analyze a single project together from wherever they are.

Creating presentation decks: Try Paste by WeTransfer

If you were using Microsoft PowerPoint, it’s time to consider using Paste. It’s online, fully collaborative, and makes your decks absolutely beautiful with very little effort. It doesn’t have all the power features of PowerPoint, but that’s precisely the benefit. You can create gorgeous slides with just a quote on a single page or drop in a video clip from a research session. You’ll spend significantly less time making the deck and it will look 1000% better than a standard PowerPoint.

Streamlining and automating your process: Try Zapier

Zapier takes a bit of tech tinkering, but is a great way to automate any repetitive, manual tasks that you’re already doing. For example, if you’re keeping track of participant recruitment status in a Google Sheet, you can use Zapier to automatically update that spreadsheet when participants schedule an interview using Calendly.

Best of luck setting up your remote research workspace. If you have any questions or have recommendations that you want to share, please reach out to me!

 

LaiYee Ho is the co-founder of DelveTool, where she pours her years of experience as a UX researcher and designer into creating tools for researchers. Before beginning her entrepreneurial journey, she was one of the first UX designers of the Amazon Fire TV, where she learned about the importance of simplicity in design. She then went on to build the first UX research team at a smart home automation startup, where she learned how to uncover human motivations. She has a degree in Information Science from Cornell and lives in New York City.

Tags:  Market Research Technology  Marketing Technology  Remote Market Research  Remote Work  Research Methodologies  Research Methodology  Solopreneur 

PermalinkComments (7)
 
Contact Us

QRCA
1000 Westgate Drive, Suite 252
St. Paul, MN 55114

phone:  651. 290. 7491
fax:  651. 290. 2266
info@qrca.org

Privacy Policy | Email Deliverability | Site Map | Sign Out
© 2020 QRCA

This website is optimized for Firefox and Chrome. If you have difficulties using this site, see complete browser details.