Introduction to online qualitative research methods


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Presentation for Budapest Business School (02 October 2012) on online qual research methodologies.
Előadás a Budapesti Gazdasági Főiskola hallgatóinak 2012. október 2-án, angol nyelven. A téma az online kvalitatív kutatási módszerek..

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Introduction to online qualitative research methods

  1. 1. INTRODUCTION TO ONLINERESEARCH METHODOLOGIES –FOCUS ON QUALITATIVERobert PinterCorvinus University, Department of Information and Comm.Ipsos Interactive Services, Client Service Director02 October 2012, Budapest Business School
  2. 2. ONLINE RESEARCH – TOPICS FOR TODAY Introduction: research of online phenomena and online research methodologies Qualitative online research  Online focus groups  Research forums / blogs  Research with online communities (MROC)  Netnography – social media research, social listening (Never)ending: future of online research
  4. 4. INTRO How does internet change internet research?1. Internet changes the business environment, it plays more and more important role in clients’ life, hence it becomes in itself a research topic.2. But research methodologies also change, internet becomes a research tool (or more exactly: many tools) I AM GOING TO SPEAK ABOUT THIS
  5. 5. TYPES OF ONLINE RESEARCH METHODS Online qualitative: asking questions (active methods) or observation (passive merhods) Questionnaire based (quantitative) Software based measurement, data collection (e.g. internet audience measurement)I WON’T SPEAK ABOUT THESE
  7. 7. MAIN ONLINE QUAL METHODS Possible classifications:  synchronous or asynchronous  active or passive Methods  Online focus group / in-depth interview (active, synchronous)  Online research forums / blogs (active, asynchronous)  Market research online communities (both active or passive / both synchronous or asynchronous  Netnography (passive, asynchronous) Let’s have a look first on online focus groups!
  9. 9. WHY/WHEN TO DO ONLINE FOCUS GROUPINTERVIEWS (FGI): BENEFITS OF ONLINE FGI Benefit What does it mean?Less time Effective recruitment, shorter field time, full script of FGI from software right at closing interviewLess cost Recruitment is less costly and project management as wellOne way mirror Online FGI can apply a virtual one way mirror, clients may watch discussion (but not interact)Honesty and safety Participants can’t see each other, making good impressions is less seducing, they feel the situation more comfortable and secureValuable results Participants are more open to sensitive topics, they think over reactions 9Hard to reach respondents Easier to involve hard to reach respondents, no geographical limits, less time consuming for participants
  10. 10. POSSIBLE TOPICS FOR FGISEvaluation of an existingweb service (appearance,content, functions,possible future plans);Evaluation of marketingand promotional materialsat their different stages ofproduction;Investigation of alreadyexisting or new products ofa market;Sensitive or highlypersonal topics: erotics,drugs, healthcare, religion,moral issues, stereotypes,etc. 10
  11. 11. STAGES OF A FGI PROJECT 1: PREPARATION Interaction with end client, preparing of brief (aim of research, definition of target group, deadlines, costs etc.) Schedule of research project (milestones, key persons, deadlines) FGI interview guideline (draft and final versions) Pilot site for project, testing the environment (login) 11
  12. 12. STAGES OF A FGI PROJECT 2: RECRUITMENT Refinement of definition of research target group Preparation of recruitment materials Recruitment via phone and / or e-mail / and or / f2f Over sampling the target group (based on past experiences) 12
  13. 13. STAGES OF A FGI PROJECT 3: FIELDWORK Invitation materials sent to respondents Respondents login to the live research environment Warm-up: few introductory questions Questions / tasks from approved guideline Discussion by participant lead by moderator Possible further questions from end clients (via moderator only) 13
  14. 14. STAGES OF A FGI PROJECT: RESULTS Transcript of full FGI by software (automatically ready at closing of interview) Quantitative & qualitative analysis of responses Preparation of research results (mainly presentation) 14
  15. 15. LET’S SEE IT IN ACTION!Screenshots from an online FGIsoftware in action:• login• discussion• using pictures• virtual room for clients• instructions at click•clients interaction (to each otherand to moderator)• pop-up messaging to all 15
  16. 16. 16Login window in a browser
  17. 17. 17Discussion in FGI software: participants may see posts of each other and questions by moderator. They can write to each other like in chatting.
  18. 18. 18Moderator may put in (motion) picture as well.
  19. 19. 19 Clients may speak with each otherin a separate window (virtual room, called Observers)
  20. 20. 20Clients may ask questions from moderator as well
  21. 21. 21Clients can’t interact with participants of research
  22. 22. Help menu is at one click 22
  23. 23. Pop-up message may be sent to everyone at once 23
  24. 24. OUTPUT: LOG FILE 24System preparesautomatically logs of all window
  25. 25. ONLINE FGI: SUMMARY Online FGI is practically joint chatting with recruited members based on a guideline (active, synchronous method) Nearly completely different group dynamics Not so deep involvement, more active discussion, plenty of shorter posts / comments Avoiding research topics which need deeper involvement and longer reactions No geographical limits in participation Intimacy is less problematic Online research topics are good choices This is not widespread like offline, traditional focus groups
  28. 28. RESEARCH FORUMS/BLOGS Online research forum / blog is practically joint participation in a forum / blog with recruited members Based on discussion on pre-defined questions (active but asynchronous method) Not widespread globally
  29. 29. USING BLOGS / FORUMS FOR RESEARCHPURPOSES Participants are recruited from target group(s) defined by end client Participants have access to research blog / forum Blog or forum is restricted area for participants (need to login) Respondents need to prepare post /comments in given topics and time period, moderated by researchers After closing fieldwork researcher prepares analysis Analysing traditional blogposts / forum activities is part of netnography
  30. 30. EXAMPLE FOR RESEARCH FORUM  Discussion between recruited members in a restricted area in given topics & certain time period 30
  32. 32. MARKET RESEARCH ONLINE COMMUNITIES(MROC) Research communities: a kind of online research panels, which are communities as well, users may interact with each other This is suitable for both online quantitative and qualitative research Short surveys (or votes) with many participants Moderated conversations (real time or asynchronous) Other activities, e.g. posting pictures, videos, comments etc.
  33. 33. MROC – DIFFERENCES FROM ONLINE PANELS Similar to online research access panels But there are important differences:  Special recruitment aspects / groups  Usually much smaller panel size  Unique registration form  Not only questionnaire based research projects, but moderated discussions (online qual) as well  Community: members may interact with each other  It demands high involvement from both researcher and end client (and participants) – huge workload (impact on costs)  Can be used for: getting know target group more deeply, insight generation, testing company materials (e.g. concepts, ads, products)…
  34. 34. HOW DOES AN MROC PLATFORM LOOK LIKE? An example for an MROC platform in action
  35. 35. SUMMARY MROCs are good choice for ongoing research activities Suitable for both online qual / quant It can be both active and passive, synchronous and asynchronous MROC is a real mix of all online research methods It means usually a huge workload
  37. 37. NETNOGRAPHY: WHAT IS IT? Observation of any kind of online discussions of users, any user generated content It is called also social media research or social listening
  38. 38. HOW DOES NETNOGRAPHY WORK?• Researchers use a social media mining tool to bring us the cleanest data. This tool crawls the web every day and captures new contentSocial Networks• Recurring phrases, topics & people are identified using Natural Language Processing• The Sentiment Classifier works out if the tone of the mentions are good, neutral or bad• Researchers then read, clean and analyze the content to provide actionable insight
  40. 40. NETNOGRAPHY Collecting, categorizing and analysing of user generated content on internet (e.g. blog posts, comments, social media activities) Passive method: observation and not asking questions Hence content may not reply to our exact questions Question: who are represented by this data? Not really quantifiable results (not percents, but opinions, attitudes) Researcher must follow strict ethical and legal rules (e.g. anonymous participants, walled gardens etc.)
  41. 41. SUMMARY Thanks to internet researchers may conduct not only active, but passive research (observation based) as well. Internet is a huge data base (a goldmine) for researchers: users tell everything by themselves for free, it only needs to be collected and analyzed But it has its limitations: representativity, quantifiability, not replying to questions, limited coverage (walled gardens), strict rules
  43. 43. MARKET RESEARCH (METHOD) IS IN CONSTANT CHANGE: INNOVATION IS ON ITS WAY Gartner MR „hype-curve” Plenty of promising new methodologies Which one of them will be succesful and reach stage of Productivity? Productive, widespread methods nowadays: CATI, CAPI, CAWI and focus groups
  44. 44. FURTHER READING Ray Poynter (2010): The Handbook of Online and Social Media Research. John Wiley and Sons.
  45. 45. THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION! Robert Pinter Corvinus University Department of Information and Communication Ipsos Interactive Services Client Service Director twitter: @probesz skype: probesz