Monthly Archives: July 2010

QualLink Helps Client Integrate Quantitative Survey and Online Focus Group

Longtime 20|20 client Pat Snyder of What They Think Research was in a bind when she contacted us about a month ago. Faced with a client’s tight deadline and tiny budget, Pat needed to do a quantitative survey and an in-depth bulletin board focus group ASAP.
We introduced her to QualLink, our patent-pending technology that seamlessly integrates a quantitative survey with our online focus group software, QualBoard. QualLink automatically recruits for the online focus group using data from the quantitative survey, so there’s no downtime (or extra cost) for re-recruiting.

Pat was sold on QualLink, which works with the majority of survey software platforms.

What would have taken two months to complete took just two weeks, and Pat reports that the responses she got from the QualBoard were some of the most in-depth ones she’s ever seen in her 14-year career. She was thrilled, her client was thrilled, and we were thrilled–so much so that we wrote a case study about it.

Read more about this online research software solution and how it can help you.

Market Research Industry Shown Growing Again

People have been telling us that business is pretty good everywhere. At 20/20 Research, we concur. We have seen increases across the board and a virtual explosion in our online qualitative research software business. Today, I read “confirmation’ of all the anecdotal evidence.

Research Business Report quotes RONIN President and CEO Harry Bunn that there is “a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.” Their industry survey showed the number of market research firms negatively impacted by the recession down to 43% from 49% in September.  That is still a pretty high number, but things are looking up. Kantar Media reports that ad spending was up 5.1% in Q1, the first increase in 2 years.

Lets hope all this talk of a double dip recession is just that, talk. Here’s to a steep growth curve for all of us.

Optimal Days of the Week for Successful Bulletin Board Focus Group

The QRCA Forum had an interesting thread about optimal days of the week for holding a bulletin board focus group. Apparently, a researcher was having difficulty conducting the online qualitative research on Friday. The consensus opinion was that optimal days were generally mid-week, Tuesday – Thursday.  Other days can be productive but often require even more engagement by the moderator and prep by the recruiters. 

Friday is a problem for a longitudinal project
because it is such a transition day. People’s schedules on Friday are
the most transient. They might leave early from work, go out to dinner,
catch a movie or leave town for the weekend. Even if none of that
applies, they are likely thinking about getting a bit of rest before
hitting the ground running again on Monday. It’s a very difficult day to
start something when you expect consistency.

If the online qualitative research must go over a weekend for three days (and it can work very well), it is better to start on Saturday and end on Monday. Saturday
mornings are the one time in the week that people can most control. By
the time day three rolls around (Monday), they are having fun and you have
them hooked. They are usually willing to participate one more day to
wrap up and get their incentive.

3 Benefits of a Bulletin Board Focus Group

Moving focus groups online is a lot like taking other disciplines to the Internet–it’s often faster, cheaper and easier. But there’s more to using a bulletin board focus group than just those basic benefits. The technology has added new capabilities that were previously too difficult to execute–or just flat out not available. In addition to the time and money you can save, here are three more benefits of using an online focus group:

  1. Removes space/time barriers: Online qualitative research removes the geographic barrier, so your participants can truly represent an entire market–not just the city where your focus group facility is. And because a bulletin board focus group is asynchronous, time-strapped participants, like CEOs and physicians, or participants in different time zones can log in on their schedules.
  2. Supports longitudinal qualitative studies: Want to follow a group of participants over time for product or acceptance testing? Online focus groups have high participation rates (you can thank the natural setting), which make them a great tool for longer engagements. Plus, if panelists move or their schedules change, they can still participate in the bulletin board focus group (see benefit No. 1).
  3. Can be anonymous: Researching a sensitive topic? A virtual focus group can provide the protection participants need to be frank about sensitive topics. There’s no face-to-face interaction, and responses can be anonymous, both of which can help increase the participant’s level of self-disclosure.

Online Quantitative and Online Qualitative Research, aka “Hybrid”

There’s been a lot of buzz recently as researchers begin to understand more ways to create “hybrid” research with new methods that combine online quantitative and online qualitative research.  iModerate recently conducted research among “hybrid practitioners” .  Some of the key findings were:

“Hybrid” definition is muddled.  In this survey of self-described “hybrid users” about half defined “hybrid” research as some combination of quantitative and qualitative research.  About 4 in 10 described it as a mix of data collection methods (phone, online, face-to-face, etc.).  As a research term, “hybrid” has yet to develop a common understanding.

“Hybrid” methods deliver more comprehensive insight.  65% of study participants noted that “studies combining qualitative and quantitative approaches
concurrently can yield more than a single-mode study on its own.”  A secondary motivation was the potential time and cost efficiencies available with hybrid approaches.

“Hybrid” best when understanding is crucial.  Researchers value hybrid research when testing ideas such as concepts or advertising.  For these types of studies, statistics alone are simply not insightful enough. 

The article can be found at

Clear Objectives Key to Online Qualitative Research Success

It may seem like Market Research 101 all over again, but Bonnie Eisenfeld makes some great points in the current issue of Quirk’s about the importance of clear objectives when conducting online qualitative research (free registration required).

Online research software can help speed up the process, but that doesn’t mean you should rush through it–due diligence is still necessary to lead your project to success.

Here’s a roundup of some of her key points:

Limit your objectives: There’s no right answer to how many objectives an online qualitative research study should have, but a good gauge is time. “If an interview is too long, respondents will become fatigued, rush through their responses and/or terminate early,” Eisenfeld says. This also applies to an online focus group. Eisenfeld suggests prioritizing objectives and maybe omitting the less important ones.

Write objective-based questions: A common mistake researchers make is including questions that don’t meet any of the research objectives, which is prone to happening “when a questionnaire is heavily edited by multiple people within an organization,” she says. To avoid this mistake, Eisenfeld suggests heading each series of questions with the corresponding objective, and keeping those headers in place to help the online moderator.

Keep objectives top of mind: Research objectives aren’t just created in the beginning and met at the end. They need to be top of mind throughout the online qualitative research process. Use the objectives to guide your analysis plan, and write the report to meet the objectives.

Online Qualitative Research Enhances Quantitative Reporting

Wouldn’t it be cool to present quantitative graphs and tables followed by a video of survey respondents actually talking about that those numbers mean

The new QualLink add-in from 20/20 Research allows just that.  QualLink provides for in-depth probing and questioning of online quantitative respondents using QualBoard, a bulletin board focus group platform.  The discussion and feedback can be text and or video, including webcams.  Researchers we have talked to are very excited about the potential to get the “stories behind the numbers” and make their reporting come alive with real responses from real respondents. 

Online Qualitative Research…Fast

20/20 Research recently announced a new tool called QualLink (patent pending) that is a major advancement toward seamless integration for quantitative and online qualitative research. 

QualLink acts as a data conduit to transfer a respondent’s survey responses directly to their QualBoard profile.  When the survey respondent opts in to the bulletin board focus group, their survey and demographic data is already there so the moderator can probe and segment during the qualitative phase without further screening.

There are several benefits that we will investigate.  A major advancement is the speed at which follow-up online qualitative research can now be conducted.  Because most online quantitative responses come in the first 24 hours of a study, the online qualitative respondents can be chosen from this initial sample.  Then the follow-up QualBoard can be conducted and finished before the online quantitative survey is completed.  No more waiting for a tedious recruiting process to conduct follow-up online qualitative research.

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