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Using Mental Models to Enhance Our Qualitative Research Skills

Posted By Mark Wheeler, Wednesday, October 2, 2019
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Mental Models
Photo by Jo Szczepanska on Unsplash

A book published earlier this year provides a nice toolkit for qualitative researchers and consultants looking for new ways to bring additional value to our work. Super Thinking, by authors Gabriel Weinberg and Lauren McCann, introduces and explains a large number of mental models that can be applied as tools to help us do our research and communicate our findings and recommendations with more depth and impact.

Mental Models
A mental model is essentially a recurring concept that can be used to help understand, explain, and predict things. They are used as shortcuts to higher-level thinking. Most mental models have solid supporting evidence behind them but are not extremely well-known or formally taught to everyone in school.

Because most mental models are intuitive, they can be quickly explained to others, and used to recognize and describe patterns in behavior. They are highly valuable in qualitative research because we continually observe and hear things that need to be communicated to our clients – sometimes in ways that help to give a higher level of explanation than we have heard. It is much easier for us to recognize and explain something if we have a solid label for what is going on.

There are literally hundreds of mental models in the book. They come from a wide and varied number of fields of study, including philosophy, investing, statistics, physics and physical science, and economics. A list of several mental models is included in the accompanying table. 

Applying Models in Research
In a recent marketing research project, I found a way to make use of one of Weisberg’s and McCann’s mental models to help communicate a key point to clients during a long day of in-person research. (Note:  there will be a lot of detail blinding in this example to ensure confidentiality.) The research was in support of a safer kind of post-surgical wound care that had been on the market for a few years. Some of the doctors in research claimed that they hadn’t noticed fewer post-surgical complications since switching to the safer alternative, and some thought they may have seen even more complications. This was causing (and I am being understated here) some confusion and concern in the back room. Fortunately, the situation brought to mind the mental model of a moral hazard. Put simply, people take on more risk when they have information (in this case, the knowledge about the new wound-care therapy) that encourages them to believe that they are being protected.

Mental Models

Discussion with clients about moral hazard helped us to put a label on what we were hearing and helped us understand and probe differently in later interviews. Even more important, we were ultimately able to use the learnings to generate new messaging about the wound care product to address the potential problem of moral hazard for both physicians and patients.

A lot of the useful mental models in the book come from the social and behavioral sciences. The concept of availability bias describes the fact that once we make an answer (or behavior) available in someone’s mind by drawing attention to it, the answer begins to seem more correct. It is an automatic effect and is nearly impossible to resist. Of course, we usually want to avoid availability bias when we moderate (i.e., no leading questions).

I often discuss this idea of availability bias with clients when writing guides or surveys, and the reaction is overwhelmingly positive – even when it leads to re-writing someone else’s question. Availability bias comes up in other situations, for example when composing messages for promotion. In these cases, the bias can become a bit more acceptable (e.g., “Doctor, tell me about how satisfied your patients have been after you have prescribed our drug?”).

The larger point behind these examples is that introducing clients to mental models such as moral hazard and availability bias helps to communicate relatively complex points in a simple way that wouldn’t be possible without using the terms. When discussing a particular mental model such as loss aversion before research, clients and other listeners then begin to recognize it when they hear it from respondents. It is also fair to think of mental models as “value-adds” for any moderators or consultants who are able to bring in new concepts to help their client achieve their objectives. I’ve found that introducing mental models relatively early in reports can help prepare clients for critical upcoming findings and conclusions.

It is well worth while to check out Super Thinking and discover which mental models can be most valuable to your business.

Mark WheelerMark A. Wheeler, PhD, is a qualitative researcher and consultant who applies his background in cognitive and behavioral science to help his clients achieve their goals.  He is Principal of Wheeler Research LLC in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.

Tags:  mark wheeler  mental models  moral hazard  qrca  QRCA Digest  qualitative  qualitative research  super thinking 

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Qual or Quant? Choosing the best method for your research study

Posted By Jennifer Dale, Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Qual or Quant? Choosing the best method for your research study

Quantitative and qualitative research are both scientific methods for data collection and analysis. They can be applied alone, or in combination, to maximize insights.

The Basic Difference: Going Beyond What vs. Why

QUANT

Quantitative research relies on large sample sizes to collect numerical data that can be mathematically analyzed for statistically significantfindings. Surveys are structured, questions are typically closed-ended, and answer choices are fixed. However, quantitative research may also include a limited number of short-answer open-ended questions to help clarify why people responded the way they did to a closed-ended question. Eye tracking, facial coding, and even Big Data fall under the umbrella of quantitative research, with computers analyzing enormous volumes of data incredibly fast.

Quantitative studies produce numerical data, which allows for statistical analysis and ultimately precise findings. The US Census is a great example of a quantitative research study – fixed and close-ended questions, an enormous sample size, a collective review of many respondents, and measured population segments.

QUAL

In contrast, qualitative research seeks to understand the reasons behind the numbers, as well as what is not yet known. Sample sizes are smaller, questions are unstructured, and results more subjective. Unlike quantitative research, qualitative studies insert the researcher into the data collection process. The researcher probes responses and participants provide more detail. Qualitative data is collected through interviews, group discussions, diaries, personal observations, and a variety of other creative and ever-expanding means.

Qual studies work with textual and visual data, interpreted and analyzed for directional findings. Qualitative research studies include fluid and open-ended questions, a smaller sample size, an in-depth review of each respondent, and emerging themes.

 

I like to think of the difference visually, where a quant study collects specific data from a large number of people, and a qual study goes deeper to collect greater insights from a small number of people.

How to Choose

The answer to whether you proceed with quantitative or qualitative research lies in your research objective and available resources.

  • Why you’re doing the research
  • What you need to know
  • Your budget, staff, + schedule
  • How the findings will be used

Consider these possible scenarios the next time you’re stuck and don’t know which way to go:

Quant + qual can come together in other ways. A questionnaire with open-ended questions, while ultimately coded numerically, can offer a window into the unknown. Focus groups that also include poll questions or surveys can produce hard data when analyzed in total, even if the results are not statistically significant.

With good planning, quantitative and qualitative research come together like a dance, guiding the marketer’s success with every step.

I Say Hybrid, You Say Multimethod

Combining quantitative and qualitative research approaches is an ancient strategy, but the names continue to change with the times. I did a bit of research and found the following terms being used to describe that ideal combination of quantitative and qualitative research. What term do you use? And why? ;)

 

 

 

 

Jennifer Dale, President + CEO Inside Heads, is a seasoned marketing professional and pioneer in online market research. Her passion for marketing, human behavior, and technology keep InsideHeads on the short list of research providers for some of the world’s most discriminating clients. Jennifer is co-author of Qual-Online, The Essential Guide and has published a number of articles in VIEWS, Alert! and Quirk’s Marketing Research Review.

 

Tags:  QRCA Digest  qualitative  qualitative research  quantitative  research methodologies  research methodology 

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Qualitative Research 101 – A Guide to the Basics of Qual

Posted By Katye Hamilton, Tuesday, August 6, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, August 6, 2019
Qualitative Research 101 – A Guide to the Basics of Qual

Qualitative Research 101 – A Guide to the Basics of Qual

Are you new to qualitative research or want a refresher on the different styles of group discussions that typically encompass qual research? While the topics you explore in each session will vary widely, there’s a basic group structure to take into consideration before you start building your discussion guide. First, decide if your research objectives need face-to-face (F2F) solutions or if an online approach will work.

F2F Options:

Focus Groups
For best group dynamics, the ideal total participants is 4-6 people. Any larger and you won’t be able to hear from each participant as often or dive deep into the conversation with everyone involved. The discussion is led by a moderator and you may see an assistant or dual moderator in the room. The moderator(s) lead the group from topic to topic and encourage all to contribute.

Focus Groups
Standard focus group rooms have a one-way mirror for clients to observe the session in real time. Photo courtesy of Issues & Answers and their Virginia Beach Facility.

Dyads and Triads
These are groups with only two or three participants, respectively, plus the moderator. Maybe it’s a physician, patient, and caregiver doing an appointment mock-up. Or you want to have a focused discussion with just a few consumers; three pet parents, each with a pet with a specific dietary need. The conversation is likely going to be less exploratory and more focused so you can dive into details quicker. Dyads and Triads are great when there’s a monitoring session, like website navigation or roleplaying situations.

In-Depth Interview (IDI)
A true one-on-one interview involves a moderator + respondent. The power in an IDI usually stems from the research topic at hand. Is it a sensitive subject like health care, death, financial, etc.? Or maybe it’s understanding a person’s journey – purchasing process, behavior understanding, etc. Isolating the respondent helps promote a feeling of safety in the conversation as well as creates an opportunity to explore subjects more deeply.

All three of these session types can be executed in a research facility, off-site with cameras for recording, or online with a focus group vendor. Most clients want to see and hear the conversations in real time, so they watch from what we call the “back room” which may be a physical room at a research facility or off-site, or in a virtual back room with an online provider.

In depth interview
There are some innovative focus group spaces that shake up the traditional, round table/conference room set-up with more relaxed or on-topic scenes. Check out Good Run Research & Recreation; they have a formal living room and bar room models (still with the one-way mirror, complete back room experience for clients) to amplify the respondent and moderator discussions. 

Facilitated Sessions
These have a lot of names (workshop, co-creation, etc.), but the premise is pretty similar across the board. These are sessions where you bring multiple groups of people into a room together. When you have a client that wants to be highly engaged with the process, and not just an observer, you may want to tap into these models. These could be:

  • An internal workshop with employees from multiple departments (stakeholders) and you as the moderator facilitate the group activities and conversation.
  • A session where you mingle clients with the respondents for brainstorming, ideation, new product development, etc. Clients would likely be spread out among the respondent tables so they can engage directly as well as learn firsthand their experiences and ideas.

“Ethnographies”
Marketing research ethnographies are never “hands-off.” In the education space, a true ethnography would have little to no engagement with the person or people you are observing; you’re meant to do just that – observe. In marketing research, we believe in the power of observation plus asking questions.

Ethnographies in MR can come in the form of in-home interviews, shop-alongs where you meet a respondent at a specified location and track their buying process, or even on-location research. The purpose is to get the respondent in a natural environment, rather than a traditional focus group setting. This is helpful when you need fewer recall answers and more in-the-moment engagement.

Other F2F Types
The list above is not meant to be exhaustive; in-person intercepts and telephone interviews can be important for your qualitative research, depending on the objectives. Is there another form of F2F that I missed? Tell me about your methodology in the comments!

Online Methods

Online qual solutions have expanded tremendously in terms of vendors, programs, platforms, and the types of research executions available — from desktop applications to mobile phone apps. It’s important to consider online styles when your client may have a limited budget or there’s a tight timeline that limits your travel opportunities.

Mobile
Methods may vary, from text-based surveys with auto Q&A to mobile apps that track respondents’ phone patterns (the apps they open, websites they checked, etc.). Sometimes it’s important to engage and observe in a respondent’s natural habitat – their mobile device. Maybe you need to geo-ping respondents for a study when they’re near a certain location and you need photo collectors?

Communities vs. Online Bulletin Boards (OLBB)
For some, online communities are virtual hubs for long-term or continual engagement. The online community acts as a “panel” of ready respondents for your ongoing topic.

Shorter engagements are sometimes called communities or online bulletin boards. These could be as short as 2-3 days with a few dozen respondents. There are multiple engagement activities from photo collages, Q&A, group discussions, etc. OLBBs may be less flashy and more of a straight discussion thread. There could be engagement through liking/commenting on others’ posts, but the conversation itself is pretty straightforward.

Semantics aside, this type of online qual is still moderated! Through probing questions, video chats, or private messages, the moderator writes the discussion guide and engages with the respondents in the platform to promote responsiveness, details, and any follow-up questions that may arise. These tend to be a solution for more respondent engagement than in a one-time fixed setting and give respondents flexibility with their dedication since many are mobile enabled.

Insights
Since the Fall of 2017, InsightsNow’s Clean Label Enthusiasts™ is an online community which offers ongoing insights into a range of topics, providing a highly flexible research solution for quick answers.

 

Video Groups
Just like the F2F group types, you can translate that experience into a digital medium. Multiple vendors allow moderators to share their screens, their stimuli, allow for group chat, individual webcams and a client view. Doing online groups in this way helps alleviate any travel pains but does usually require more technology-adept consumers – something to consider if that may change your recruit type.

I’m specifically leaving out the topic of surveys for this blog post! While some surveys can be qualitative in nature, most of the time they still fall into the realm of quant. Qual derives part of its value from the moderated content — something we haven’t been able to solve fully in the survey space.

I hope you either learned something new with this post or gained fresh inspiration for a project you’re working on. Tell us about your qual methods in the comments!

About the Author:

Kayte HamiltonKayte Hamilton is a hybrid marketing researcher with a passion for solving complex client problems. She’s got a knack for sorting out the details while maintaining project integrity. In her free time (ha!) you will find her spending time with her dog Muffin, traveling the states, or volunteering. 

Tags:  QRCA Digest  Qualitative Methodologies  Qualitative Methods  Qualitative Research 

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

Posted By Isabel Aneyba, Tuesday, June 25, 2019
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, we 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:  Co-creation  focus groups  Innovation  market research  Millennials  QRCA Digest  qualitative research  Research Methodologies  Research Methodology 

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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.

@JanetStanden22https://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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