It's Not Business As Usual
It's Not Business As Usual
Some of our clients remain reluctant to embrace online qualitative methodologies for their projects, even though they could save significant amounts of time and money. Healthcare and pharmaceutical companies, in particular, have concerns about online qualitative’s information privacy practices. Other researchers are also concerned about using online qualitative methodologies despite their successful adoption by marketing researchers for more than 15 years.
One of the reasons that we should not be reluctant to use online qualitative methods is that social media has made online interaction commonplace and comfortable. Online qualitative can appear to respondents to be very similar to their social media experience. And, all of us use social media, to the extent that educators and mental health professionals are concerned that we are using it too much! In fact...
Online interactions are a part of our daily interactions and communications. Why should online qualitative be any different? Let’s examine some of the common concerns about online qualitative – and why they should not be concerning:
Perhaps one of the most surprising reasons to use online qualitative methodologies is that you can actually get better data than in-person. It turns out that women are just as likely to share their opinions and feelings face-to-face as online, while men are much more likely to share their feelings online than in a face-to-face setting, as reported in Time. Psychologist also report that people with mild social anxieties are more comfortable participating in online discussions. So, holding online qualitative discussions with some respondents might actually facilitate the discussion, especially around sensitive topics like rare conditions, sexuality or personal finance. Additionally, because many online platforms are asynchronous, no one participant can take over the discussion and everyone has all the time they need to say what they want to say. Participants can even go back to an earlier comment – even from the day before – and add additional commentary to complete their response.
The benefits of online qualitative are well documented. These projects cost less than in-person methodologies, with savings in incentives, facility costs, and travel. They are much faster – especially because several can be conducted simultaneously and with larger groups of participants. Thanks to the ubiquitous use of smartphones, conducting online qualitative is easy, allowing for genuine, in-the-moment feedback. And finally, online qualitative methodologies may result in richer, more insightful findings.
Contact James to learn more!