online qualitative research

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.

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.

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