hybrid research

The Coming of Quant+Qual Integrated Research

The days of the two phase research project are over!!!!

Well, not really, but they are becoming less necessary.  Typically, quantitative and qualitative research are conducted in two phases for many reasons.  Sometimes, there is a clear insight-related necessity for a two-phase research project, often there is not.  In many cases, quantitative and qualitative designs include two phases because of logistical reasons such as the time required for recruiting qualitative, the time required to analyze qualitative or the travel required to conduct qualitative in various cities.  Today’s qualitative researcher has tools available to eliminate each of these issues.

Todays digital research tools make integrated quantitative and qualitative research easier than ever while introducing some real advantages.

  1. Lower cost.  The survey does double-duty as the recruiting screener.
  2. Faster.  No wasted time between phases.  The quant/qual research design takes no longer than a quantitative survey.
  3. Deeper Quantitative Insights.  Depth qualitative conducted alongside the survey provides opportunity to get the reasons and motivators behind survey responses.
  4. More Engaging Reports.  Respondent video (webcam, mobile, etc.) enhances reports and presentations with powerful customer testimony.

Technology can link directly to almost any survey platform.  The link can select potential respondents based on survey answers and even send them through an additional screener if necessary.  The qualitative experience occur in the middle of a survey or after the survey has completed.  Once selected and opted-in, respondents can participate in virtually any qualitative experience.  Some of the most common are: webcam interviews, mobile interviews, chat interviews and QualBoard discussions with or without video uploads.

Quant/qual integration is a trend that is growing rapidly.  20|20’s CIO, Isaac Rogers, will present a Quirk’s webinar titled, “THE QUANT+QUAL PARADIGM: 3 Integrative Strategies for Today.”  It is free and will provide examples and hands-on techniques you can use immediately.  Click here to register.

Using Mobile with In-Person Qual

Here at 20|20, we are seeing more and more projects that utilize technology in tandem with in-person research.  The trend has accelerated recently with the introduction of LifeNotes mobile journaling tool.

LifeNotes gives respondents the ability to respond to moderator requests by posting a picture, video and/or comment to their personal “wall.”  The moderator can monitor the respondent’s “wall” to peek into the respondent’s life.  Now, we see researchers using LifeNotes to replace the old paper journals we once asked respondents to keep prior to a focus group.

Four advantages that such mobile “homework” has over paper journals are:

  • More accurate information than journaling. Since respondents record activities and opinions “in-the-moment” the results are more accurate than methods that rely on memory.
  • More interesting information than journaling. A picture is worth 1000 words.
  • More timely than journaling. No more paper journals completed in the facility parking lot just before the group starts.
  • More efficient for the moderator. Since LifeNotes™ posts are available immediately, the moderator can analyze them prior to the group. This allows the moderator to adjust the discussion guide accordingly and leaves more group time for discussion.

Because of the mobile phone and other technologies, we researchers are not just changing, we are getting better.

In 2012, All Signs Point to Qualitative Research

In a recent Greenbook Blog post entitled “Will 2012 Be the End of the (MR) World as We Know It?”, Greenbook Editor-in-Chief and CEO of RockHopper Research Leonard Murphy gave his predictions for market research trends and changes in 2012. Lenny’s prediction that qualitative will become even more important dovetails nicely with our view. As access to data grows, understanding the meaning behind the data becomes ever more important. Here is Lenny’s eloquent delivery: “Qualies rejoice; your time to shine is nigh! The skill sets of storytelling, connecting disparate data points to form recommendations, and applying the social sciences to understand human behavior will grow in importance. Driven by the demand from brands to truly understand consumers and enabled by the growth of communities, virtual ethnography, ‘Big Data’ analytics, etc… some one will have to step up to make sense of the implications, and researchers grounded in qualitative techniques are well positioned to fill this need.”

At 20/20, we’re doing just that: rejoicing. With many of our online research technology products, we are already prepared to offer easy online qualitative solutions for many of Murphy’s predictions. Of the ten trends he identifies, we are very much on top of at least 3 of them.

1. Surveys get smart: Murphy predicts that surveys will move away from the traditional format of discrete ad hoc surveys that pose 30 questions or more in one sitting. He foresees surveys changing into “broad tracking systems that dynamically create targeted questions based on the synthesis of consumer data from social media, panelist profiles, CRM, POS, and any other data source we can get our hands on.” Already, 20/20’s technology product QualLink offers seamless integration of traditional quantitative surveys with a qualitative online bulletin board discussion. With this product, simple quantitative survey results are used to create hybrid quant-to-qual research, transforming a traditional survey’s capabilities and insights.

2. Once more, with feeling: “As technologies that help us understand emotional decision making mature and new approaches come to market, the merger with behavioral economics models will become the norm. Whether biometric/neuro/facial or cognitive modelling based, brands will be investing heavily in the quest for the Holy Grail: understanding the levers of choice and learning to optimize their offerings based on those drivers,” Murphy said. While stated opinions and preferences will still play a role in market research, technology like our QualBoard 3.0 that accommodates nonverbal, physical cues through webcam videos will help researchers gather all the richness of a participant’s response – body language, tone of voice and emotion.

3. Mobile, mobile, mobile: From Murphy’s viewpoint, mobile will be the defining technology of the next five years, which will greatly affect all market research. At 20/20, we’ve anticipated this trend by offering QualAnywhere, a mobile platform that allows researchers to collect real-time data through texting and picture messaging.

Download Our New eBook on Hybrid Research

There was a time not long ago when qualitative research meant focus groups or phone surveys…and that was about the extent of it. But that’s no longer the case. Today’s researchers have myriad tools and
techniques at their disposal, from the same tried and true face-to-face techniques to multiple options in online and mobile. These tools can be used alone to gain deep insights—or they can be combined to achieve even richer results. Just as the best houses are not built with just a hammer, the best research projects are often not designed with a single research tool.

But how do you combine methodologies AND stay on budget, not to mention schedule? That’s usually the question we hear from researchers. They understand the value of mixing methodologies, but when it comes to execution, they come up short.

If this sounds like you, check out the latest eBook from 20|20 Research. The eBook, Mixed Methodologies 101: How to combine research methods to achieve deeper insights, outlines the process—soup to nuts—for three popular hybrid research designs:

1. Quantitative to Qualitative:
2. Online Qualitative Research to Online Qualitative Research
3. Online Qualitative Research to In-Person

We also help dispel the most common myths about hybrid research design. (Like why hybrid research isn’t necessarily more expensive or time-consuming than using just a single methodology.)

The bottom line: Today’s researchers are responsible for designing projects that produce insights. More and more, hybrid designs produce results that were difficult, if not impossible, to achieve in the past.

Download the eBook, Mixed Methodologies 101: How to combine research methods to achieve deeper insights.

What Quant Can Teach Qual – And Vice Versa

Over at CVent, Greg Timpany wonders why there is such a divide between quantitative and qualitative research. Sure, each takes an entirely different skill set to do well, but when you think about the end result (in his example, spot-on customer insights), it does seem a little strange that most researchers are either one or the other.

As Greg explains, “Qualitative research, be it focus groups, in-depth interviews or observation, is useful for guiding the development of more effective surveys,” explains Greg. “The depth and color of the data that qualitative provides is often the creative goo that award-winning, not to mention effective, advertising campaigns are created from. On the backside, qualitative is an efficient tool for expanding on key points raised during a survey,” he says.

Meanwhile, “quantitative research provides the backbone for measuring the topics that arise from intense qualitative sessions,” he adds. “Its ability to generalize to the broader market and test for significant differences makes it useful for informing strategic marketing decisions. As we know with online survey platforms we can probe to a limited degree by asking participants follow up questions based upon their response to trigger questions. Yet, this is limited compared to what can be done with follow-up in-depth interviews or focus groups.”

Maybe it is because the skill set is so different, but as clients demand more from your research and as hybrid studies become easier to do thanks to online qualitative research tools, it’s probably a good idea to have both in your toolbox.

Do you have both quant and qual capabilities? If not, what do you do when a project needs both? We’d love to hear how you’re tackling this in your business — please add your thoughts in the comments below.

Your Customers Can Make Your Reports Come Alive

Have you ever struggled to stay awake during a research presentation as bar chart after bar chart flashed across the screen? Have you ever struggled to make survey findings compelling so someone would actually notice and do something meaningful with the data?

I’m really excited about a new opportunity to make the reporting of quantitative data come alive.  Last week, 20/20 Technology unveiled a webcam response feature on its QualBoard bulletin board focus group platform. There are a lot of ways to use this feature. However, in my opinion, one of the most powerful is to drive home the most important points in a quantitative research presentation.

How compelling would it be to have real consumers explaining the bar charts to marketing executives?  A lot more compelling than a simple bar chart.

Here is how it can be done simply and inexpensively. Several months ago, 20/20 Technology introduced QualLink, which creates an opportunity for survey participants to opt in to a QualBoard after the survey. Once they opt in, respondents can answer qualitative questions, including webcam response questions. Collect those answers, develop a montage of the best responses, embed them in the research report. Voila! Consumers provide the reality behind the numbers.  It makes an impact.

The cost is very low and it requires no additional time in the research design. So, the value is high.

The key to good reporting is telling a compelling story.  Who better to communicate key points than the customers themselves?

QualLink Helps Make Error-Ridden Process Foolproof

Inexperience with hybrid research wasn’t the issue for Susan Saurage-Altenloh when she came to us earlier this summer with a problem. She had been combining quantitative and qualitative research for decades. Her problem had to do with logistics. Specifically, what do you do when 2,500 members of a large employees’ credit union opt in to do a follow-on bulletin board focus group but you need only 30 participants?

The answer: QualLink, our patent-pending system that allows seamless integration of a quantitative survey and a qualitative bulletin board.

Before trying out QualLink, Saurage-Altenloh and her staff at Saurage Research were going to tackle the opt-ins manually, which would have opened the door to error. But making mistakes wasn’t really an option: “We had to be very careful about the way we treated them, because we were talking about someone’s valued customers, and their brand was associated with this,” she says. “That’s a problem with sorting through respondents manually–it’s not foolproof.”
But Saurage-Altenloh knew QualLink would be. “We have a lot of confidence in 20|20 Research,” she says. “You never have to worry about something going wrong. There are no glitches. Everything always runs the way it’s supposed to–all the time.”

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

3 Keys to an Effective Hybrid Research Design

survey mag logo.jpgThe current issue of Survey Magazine features an article I wrote on the growing capabilities of “hybrid” research design, particularly with the explosion of online research software.

In the research industry, “hybrid” research is quickly being defined as the integration of quantitative and qualitative research.  There are several options available in the market, including:

  • Chat Intercepts during an online survey
  • Webcam intercepts during and online survey
  • “Smart” open ended questions with automated probing
  • Bulletin Board focus groups following an online survey

Each of these is optimal for different research objectives and problems to be solved.  A researcher who uses these methods should be aware of 3 keys to an effective design when picking a hybrid methodology.

  1. Depth. Some hybrid methods do not provide the depth of true qualitative research.
  2. Speed. Adding a qualitative “phase” to a quantitative project can push the schedule past an acceptable deadline.
  3. Integration. Is the quantitative and qualitative research truly integrated or pieced together

At 20/20 Research, we have answered many of these questions with QualLink, a simultaneous hybrid that creates a direct link between virtually all survey platforms and a QualBoard bulletin board focus group. The method is deep, fully integrated and can often be completed before the survey closes.

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.

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