Twitter online qualitative research

Sex, Southern Baptists and Starkville, Mississippi

Several people have asked me to expand on my experience that was mentioned in the QRCA Views Winter 2012 issue and included in a recent blog post “Road Warriors Reveal Steamy (and Funny) Side of Qual.”  So, below is the whole story as I sent it to Joel Reish of Next Level Research, former QRCA President, article author and friend.

My favorite was the time I was brought in on a study regarding sex education materials among Southern Baptists in Starkville, Mississippi.

There was no facility so we had to contract with a hotel.  So I made arrangements for the hotel to host the group and to stay there that evening.  The hotel didn’t have A/V services so we contracted with the Mississippi State A/V dept to video the group.

We were able to work everything out and get it all arranged.  20|20 Research recruited 12 Baptists to come to the hotel to talk about sex eduction.  It was all set.  You can’t fly into Starkville; but you can fly into Columbus, rent a car and make the 45 minute drive to Starkville.  So I did.  As luck would have it, my flight was late and I arrived in Columbus about an hour before the group was to begin.  I rushed to the car and drove to Starkville as quickly as possible wondering what it would be like to be arrested for speeding in rural Mississippi.

I finally pulled up to the hotel about 15 minutes before group time.  The hotel was historic (old) and had obviously been through several renovations.  I remember thinking it seemed  to be straight off the set of a John Wayne western.  When I walked in, there are several people milling about the lobby, obviously my Baptists.  As we often do, I tried to enter without being to conspicuous.  Upon arriving at the counter, I find my “State” A/V man standing there waiting on me.  I felt a huge sigh of relief when he assured me that everything was “already set up and ready to go.”

He offered to lead me to the filming location so I could double-check the set up and prepare for the group.  He led me through numerous hallways that seemed to snake forever through this old, renovated hotel until we finally reached the door.  He smirked as we arrived and I wondered what he was thinking.   Then he opened the door to show me his camera set up.  To my shock, he had set up the camera in my bedroom!  The reason for his smirk became obvious as my mind raced to understand how to deal with my  Baptist sex education group.

I was horrified.  Within minutes, I was relieved to discover that the hotel had a spare conference room available.  The Mississippi State A/V man moved his equipment very quickly and we were able to start the group only about 15 minutes late.

Not only was the set-up nerve-wracking, it was a prelude to one of my “worst-group-ever” experiences.  But thats another story for another time.

If you have a story to tell, please share it.  This is one of the greatest professions in the world!

 

All “a-Twitter” about Qual

Twitter is a new phenomenon that seems to be taking the world by storm.  Everyone from gradeschoolers to the President seem to be “twittering.”  Can it be an asset in qualitative research?  I don’t know.  However, the folks at S&R Communications (http://srcomblog.wordpress.com/) penned an appropriately short article on benefits and drawbacks to using Twitter for qualitative research.

Whether it’s biased or not, that’s another subject. But with the ever-growing third-party applications being developed for use with Twitter growing daily, like Twellow, TweetBeep, NearbyTweets, and Tweetdeck, Twitter provides the ripe medium to use for qualitative market research.

Plugged-in gives a great list of pros and cons (below) of why you might want to look to Twitter for your next market research project.

The benefits of using Twitter for qualitative research

  • It’s free & easy – We’ll start with one obvious benefit – Twitter is free and fairly easy to mine for information. All kinds of third-party services exist to help see the latest trends, hot topics, etc…
  • It’s fast – If you have an active group of followers you can get answers to your questions quickly.
  • It’s “natural” – Twitter is an existing social network that can be mined for feedback in a “natural” setting.

Read More…

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