From the outset, qualitative research was designed to get to levels of understanding quantitative research couldn’t. No matter the specific method — focus groups, in-depth interviews, ethnographies, etc. — most qual research projects aim to get beyond the numbers traditional quant delivers to get to the “why” behind the “what.” Generally, researchers use qualitative methods to understand reasoning, thoughts and thought processes, emotions, motivations, behaviors, and other less-structured types of human response.
These benefits carry over when running this type of research online. Researchers often design online qualitative research to get at underlying reasoning, emotions, motivations, and behaviors. However, because it’s online, it carries its own unique set of benefits to researchers including:
1. Gain quant-level scale.
While some online qualitative research works at a similar scale to traditional qual (online 1-on-1 interviews, online focus groups, etc.,) large-scale qualitative sessions like those conducted at Invoke enable research teams to conduct qualitative with hundreds or even thousands of respondents. This enables the depth of qual coupled with quant-size samples to instill confidence in results.
2. Hear from important audiences.
Conducting qualitative research with a larger sample size also allows research teams to incorporate readable samples among key target segments. By conducting qualitative research online, researchers can pull specific respondents and participants from around the globe for more valuable data.
3. Save time.
Traditionally, qualitative research has been a labor-intensive effort. To conduct it properly, research teams often have to spend weeks, even months, talking with respondents to ensure a readable, representative sample. Online, any number of qual respondents from anywhere in the world can meet in real-time, thus shrinking research timelines.
4. Be more cost-efficient.
To conduct traditional in-person qualitative effectively, research teams often have to travel to different locations to guarantee suitable representation. The travel costs associated with this type of research are non-existent when conducting online qualitative research. Additionally, incentives associated with in-person qual are often high due to how much is asked of respondents. As online qualitative research requires participants to simply be available online, research teams can decrease incentive costs.
Virtual qual/quant research solutions have helped researchers reach actionable insights faster, more efficiently, and more effectively than ever before. Read our eBook to start getting the most out of your hybrid qual/quant research today.
5. Improve stakeholder involvement.
During a traditional qualitative research exercise, the researcher or moderator often interacts with respondents while stakeholders observe. Interaction between researcher and stakeholder is minimal at best and the bulk of this interaction occurs after researchers interact with respondents. During an online session, researchers and stakeholders can discuss the research as it’s coming in. This creates a dynamic level of discussion between subject matter experts, research teams, and all team members. This collaboration can not only drive decisions but also can help to formulate follow-up lines of questioning to ensure no stone goes unturned.
6. More directly tie your quant into your qual.
Qualitative and quantitative research have typically existed as separate research endeavors. While teams have often built one off of the other, doing this type of research online allows research teams to follow up closed-end, quant lines of questioning with more open-end, qualitative exploration. Having this all happen at the same time, among the same sample, allows for a more direct connection between the two. Teams conducting this kind of research can follow up through probes on both their qual and quant feedback.
7. Introduce quantitative research and analysis tools.
When conducting an online research session, research teams can insert traditional quantitative research and analysis techniques such as monadic exposure to concepts, significance testing, rankers, or scalars into their qualitative work, adding another level of robustness.
8. Maintain respondent anonymity.
Rather than sitting amongst others in a group or meeting face-to-face with a researcher, online qualitative research respondents can participate in sessions from the comfort of their own space. This helps make respondents more apt to provide honest, thoughtful answers to important questions.
9. Avoid groupthink.
Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people when the inherent desire for harmony or conformity inhibits creativity. Groupthink is a common pitfall when conducting group-based qualitative research such as focus groups in a traditional, offline setting. In these groups, respondents prone to groupthink may “go along with the crowd” in their feedback rather than form their own opinions. Online qualitative research eliminates the possibility of groupthink by taking away the group element of the research and keeping individuals aware of only their own responses.
10. Eliminate dominant voice.
Similarly, dominant voice is another potential issue in group-based qual research. Dominant voice occurs when one member of a group controls the majority of the conversation and thus influences the thoughts of others. By taking qualitative research sessions online, individual participants are unable to see what their fellow respondents are saying, thus equalizing the weight of each response.
Level up your pursuit of insight with online qualitative research
Online qualitative research can help you dig deeper at the “why” behind your audiences’ behaviors for valuable insight. Taking qualitative research online has paved the way for numerous, unique benefits. By using online qualitative research as a regular part of your business, you will unlock faster, more efficient, customer-driven decisions.
Learn more about the benefits of conducting research online and the steps you need to take for success. Download our eBook “7 Steps to Get the Most Out of Hybrid Qual/Quant Research.”