qualitative 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.

The Research Hype Cycle

Gartner recently released its Emerging Technology Hype Cycle for 2014.  The cycle phases themselves are as interesting as the technologies depicted.

  • Hype Cycle

Gartner’s research shows that there is an “Innovation Trigger” followed by the following four stages

  1. Peaks of Inflated Expectations
  2. Trough of Disillusionment
  3. Slope of Enlightenment
  4. Plateau of Productivity

Read More…

Qualitative Facial Expression Recognition Technology: How to use it

20|20 is very proud to be selected as the preferred partner for Affectiva’s new technology for qualitative research, Affdex Discovery.  Why is this important to qualitative researchers?  Put simply, it provides the first vivid, easy to use behavioral analysis tool that can be used in qualitative research in real time.  The technology actually informs the interviewer in during an interview allowing the interviewer to probe thoughts and emotions behind the reactions. Read More…

Introducing Mobile GeoStories, On-Location Interviewing

Last week, researchers came a little closer to the holy grail of qualitative research:  standing with consumers as they make the purchase decision.

20|20 and Doyle Research announced GeoStories, a new service utilizing geo-location technology to identify consumers at the point of purchase and interview them.  The research service combines a mobile geo-location panel with 20|20’s proprietary screening technology and mobile interviewing software into a single seamless research service.  GeoStories is an integrated, three-step process:

  1. Through geo-location, 20|20 identifies consumers at specific places, such as a store.
  2. Respondents opt-in and complete a short screener.
  3. Qualified respondents are immediately contacted by a researcher for an on-the-spot qualitative interview.

The entire process requires just a few minutes so multiple interviews can be conducted in a single day.  The total time f Read More…

The Looming Smartphone Research Crisis: Meeting the Challenge

Mobile.  Mobile.  Mobile.  Everyone wants mobile research.  Mobile access can put research in context like never before.  It’s the ultimate in meeting the consumer where they are rather than bringing the customer to where we are.

For years, researchers have begged for more mobile.   We researchers see the promise and we love the idea of just-in-time feedback.  There is a beautiful synergy between researchers and respondents since both groups want to utilize mobile devices more.  Even so, mobile research is growing but it has never boomed.  Why not? Read More…

Announcing QualMeeting 2.0: Easier, Better and More Options than Ever

Sometimes innovation is a disruptive breakthrough.

Sometimes innovation simply makes existing technology easier and more practical.

Last week, 20|20 announced the release of QualMeeting 2.0.  Though not as “disruptive” as some of our other software, is is a dramatic step forward for the research industry since webcam interviewing will be easier, more reliable and have more interviewing options than ever before.  qualmeeting-2.0

Here is some info:

Overall, webcam interviewing is a fast-growing qualitative research methodology because it allows the researcher to interview people without geographic restrictions and it is very cost-effective, particularly since travel is eliminated.  It is a real-time use of technology that relies on the coordination of recruiting, project management and four technology nodes:  QualMeeting technology, participant’s webcam, moderator’s webcam and the audio conferencing system.  20|20 has developed new technology and processes to eliminate glitches and provide a stress-free user experience for researchers and clients.

Here are some of the updates that make QualMeeting 2.0 the industry’s best video interviewing platform.

Advanced Interviewing Toolset.  New interviewing tools such as drag-and-drop card sorting, polling questions and storyboarding bring added  richness to interviews.  Results can be aggregated across interviews or groups giving the researcher powerful new analytical tools.

Virtual Lobby.  20|20 developed a separate room, like the waiting room in a focus group facility, for respondents to await their interview time.  While waiting, a 20|20 technician checks their video and audio to ensure a good interviewing experience for the moderator and clients.  New transition technology ensures a smooth transition to the interviewing room.

“Behind the Glass” Client Audio.  Clients can watch and listen to interviews from multiple locations.  They can even hold discussions during the interview without worrying that respondents will hear their conversations.  This feature can also be used for real-time translations.

Real-Time Transcriptions.  Provides a simultaneous text record of the interview. Though not perfect, this feature can dramatically speed analysis by allowing the researcher to search key terms and play the video from that point.  Reporting, and even video editing, becomes much faster and easier.  Of course, post-interview full transcriptions are always available.

Video Clip Editing.  The researcher provides direction; the QualMeeting team creates the video clips for analysis or a montage you can use as a video report.

QualMeeting+Plus Service.  You take care of the Study Design, Moderating and Analysis.  20|20 QualMeeting experts take care of the rest.  Period.

For more information on the new QualMeeting 2.0 platform, click here to go to the 20|20 website page.  Or you can email [email protected] or call us at 1.615.777.2020.

Help for Research Cancelled by Hurricane Sandy

Yesterday, 20|20 sent out the following offer for free QualBoard software use for researchers with cancelled projects because of Hurricane Sandy.  The response has been overwhelmingly positive so I thought I would repost it here.  If you have a project cancelled and need help ASAP, let us know.

Many researchers have projects cancelled because of Hurricane Sandy.  Some of these projects are on tight time frames and cannot be rescheduled.  Therefore, 20|20 is offering free QualBoard® software use for projects cancelled or postponed by Hurricane Sandy.

If you have a project cancelled because of the hurricane and need to complete it ASAP, let us know how we can help.  Contact Carla Gaster at 1.615.324.3781 (direct) for details.  We will charge a small project management fee to cover some of our costs.

Our thoughts and prayers are with those in the hurricane’s path.

 

MRMW and the Role of Associations in Emerging Mobile Methods

This week is the Mobile Research in the Mobile World conference in Cincinnati.  I don’t know when I have heard as much buzz about a conference.  I hope it lives up to its hype.  I will not be there but my colleague and friend Isaac Rogers, 20|20 CIO, is attending.

Foster Winter, MD of Sigma Research, is also on the QRCA Board of Directors.  In that role, he is participating in a panel discussion of the associations’ roles in the emerging mobile market research world.  Foster asked me to weigh in on a discussion on the QRCA Members Forum on this topic.  There are some very good posts by tremendous industry leaders.  While I’m not at liberty to share those, I did copy my comments to re-post here.   They are below.

 

I’m finding the “mobile” research generally falls into two categories.

1. Mobile Access. In other words, every platform very soon MUST have a way to access it from a smartphone or it will be deemed unusable. Mobile will be the “price of entry” for digital platforms. The biggest hurdle right now seems to be the fragmentation of the Android op system.

2. New capabilities. From a qual perspective, we are just scratching the surface of what we can do with mobile. First, we had to get over the hurdle of using a limited input device (140 characters SMS) for qualitative. Now we have a whole new paradigm to work with….a portable, ever-present device that captures video, pictures, voice and text. The ramp-up for online qual was long because we looked at bulletin boards as a poor substitute for focus groups. When we began to realize that bulletin boards brought whole new capabilities and opportunities to qualitative research, they began to be embraced by the qual community. Mobile is in the early stages. We don’t yet know what capabilities are coming because mobile changes the paradigm again by adding capabilities never before available to us. The ramp-up will be much faster than bulletin boards, but it will take some time to blossom.

What are the associations’ roles? I think
1. Define the guardrails. Betsy mentioned several of them. The associations are the industry’s governing bodies.
2. Embrace new capabilities, not because all are good but because it exposes them to the membership and assists in the penetration of new capabilities. In turn, this becomes a major member benefit.
3. Celebrate innovation. Associations can’t be an incubation center, but they can be a hotbox of thinking. Why not develop a capability to nuture qualitative innovation, a qualitative greenhouse so to speak.

Unilever QRC Accreditation to Meet “with limited success and acceptance”

Recently, we posted here about a new Unilever initiative to provide accredidation to ensure that their qualitative research consultants posess the skills Unilever requires.

As one of the leading qualitative associations, QRCA has long discussed the notion of Qualitative Researcher Accreditation.  J.R. Harris is an industry veteran, a founding QRCA member, former President and long-standing Chair of the QRCA Professionalism Committee.  He and his committee have studied and re-studied qualitative accreditation ideas and proposals over the years.  I sent him a copy of the article about the Unilever Accreditation Programme.

The following is an email that JR sent to me about this article and Unilever’s attempts to accreditate qualitative researchers.  I have reproduced it here in its entirety with JR’s permission.

Thanks for sending the article. I’m sure you will not be surprised that I do have a few comments.

The notion of “certifying,” “credentialing” or “accrediting” QRCs is not a new one. Like Halley’s Comet, this initiative seems to reappear consistently and reliably every few years. QRCA’s Professionalism Committee, which I chaired, has thoroughly investigated this issue on more than one occasion and the organization has always decided not to pursue it. Furthermore, efforts by other research organizations to certify members of our profession have met with very limited success and acceptance. I believe this same destiny awaits Unilever, for the following reasons:

1– Unilever’s program is based on a “growing concern” within the company regarding the “quality of the qual work being delivered” yet they don’t specify what concerns or shortcomings they are experiencing from their QRCs. How can they be sure that a certification program will eliminate these concerns?

2– Their program is too subjective in nature. To qualify for accreditation, QRCs are evaluated by “independent assessors” who would examine an applicant’s “mock brief” and observe the 1-hour focus group based on that brief.  Our investigation has shown that any effective credentialing program is typically based on specific professional criteria that the applicant must possess, as evidenced by passing a standardized test, completing specified curricula, etc.

3– The Unilever program is based on the applicant’s skill at moderating one in-person focus group. While the focus group is arguably the mainstay of qualitative research, there are many other important qualitative methodologies that are not included in the Unilever program.

4– QRCA’s investigation of credentialing has shown that their is neither a need nor a demand for it. Research buyers around the world have insisted that they are quite capable of selecting knowledgeable and competent QRCs to conduct their research. They have also indicated their belief that using a certified QRC would not guarantee quality of work or success of the project.

5– The Unilever program, as described, seems out of touch with the realities of qualitative research and the technological and methodological changes in our industry. Nevertheless, using only certified QRCs will make it easier for the company to buy its qualitative research via the Purchasing Dept. rather than the Research Dept.

If research buyers like Unilever want to work with highly skilled and experienced qual researchers, they don’t need a certification program. All they need to do is be aware of the QRCA Professional Competencies of Qualitative Research Consultants. Not only would they appreciate the eleven specific competencies that define our profession, but they would easily be able to match the skill sets of the QRC to the type of project they wish to conduct. I believe this would give them more confidence in the QRCs they select, as well as better outcomes from those who are selected.

QRCA’s Professional Competencies document can be found here.

Unilever Driving Qual Change through Accreditation

Two events in the UK this week highlighted the gulf that separates most researchers from the clients they seek to serve.

Research-Live.com reported that Unilever is implementing a “new accreditation programme” for qualitative research suppliers.  The program will distinguish between “Research Leads” and “Moderators.”  To qualify, research providers will have to undergo about 3 hours of testing and observation and pass the test.  There are a lot of questions that the article does not answer about program specifics.

Obviously, the the accreditation program is being implemented because Unilever is not pleased with the quality of research they currently receive.  So what exactly are they displeased with?  Ulrike Hillmer, a consumer market insight manager for Unilever Deutschland, said the company seeks “to significantly raise the quality of qualitative research in the business in order to help deliver superior consumer insight”.

Likewise, Research-live.com quotes Unilever, “This researcher needs to be conscientious; a strategic thinker; to have empathy with the Unilever context; able to provide fresh ideas and thoughts and have the ability to link up brand/category issues with consumer understanding; and be challenging and pro-active.”

Contrast Unilever’s attempt at accreditation with the new report out this week from “The ICG,” a group of independent researchers who say they are “research professionals with an average 25 years’ experience.”  The report titled “Commissioning qualitative research and getting the best from it” provides a step-by-step overview of how to conduct the research process.  It is a 36 page presentation of detail about the process with tips, suggestions and rules to live by.

The ICG document likely meets a very well-defined and understood need.  Contributors worked very hard to assemble best practices and provide a guide for the qualitative researcher.  It would be very helpful for many researchers and their clients.

My point is that Unilever is not having trouble finding people who know the process; they are having difficulty finding people who can deliver superior consumer insight, think strategically, have empathy with the Unilever context and have fresh ideas and thoughts.  As good as the ICG document is for process, it does nothing to assist researchers to meet the needs of Unilever.

The contrast of these two initiatives is simply an example of the gulf that exists between research suppliers and research buyers.  I was President of the Qualitative Research Consultants’ Association for 3 years.  We found that our conferences were most successful when we taught techniques, not the discipline of insights.

Researchers like processes.  Otherwise, they might be artists or even strategy consultants.  Meeting Unilever’s requirements will be difficult for many researchers simply because it goes against their nature.

For years qualitative consultants were rewarded for executing processes.  When qualitative research was synonymous with focus groups, many researchers made a very good income because they could execute the focus group process.

Now, the world is changing.  Methodologies are expanding and fragmenting.  Business is getting faster and faster so companies like Unilever need researchers to help them think, not just process.  The research provider industry must evolve to meet these needs.  There is a place for process-oriented researchers.  But, the time is fast approaching when companies like Unilever will value, and pay, strategic researchers much higher.  Our industry should cultivate a new breed of researcher with different gifts and skills.  If we want research to be more valued in the C-Suite, we have to provide the insights and thinking that drive the business.

I, for one, hope that Unilever is delivering more than an accreditation program.  I hope they are devising a new qualitative research business model that values, and pays, strategic thinkers who can drive business over researchers who process research.  Without such a new business model, process research will strangle research as a valued profession.

Good luck Unilever!

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