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5 Tips for Conducting Online Qualitative Research

  • June 20, 2023

You want to learn what real-world users think of your products, but where do you start? There are many different types of qualitative research methods, from focus groups and one-on-one in-depth interviews (IDIs) to virtual discussion boards, ethnographic studies, and more. Sorting through the various qualitative research methods to find an approach that provides the information you need—on a reasonable timeline and at a price you can afford—can be a daunting task. 

But there’s an easy, accessible way to reach out to consumers without renting an office for in-person meetings or hiring an expensive research firm: online or mobile qualitative research studies. In fact, these approaches can be so useful that you decide to skip the hassle of traditional in-person research altogether! These five tips will help you hit the ground running. 

5 Tips for Your Next Online Qualitative Research Study 

The online qualitative market research gives you a window into how consumers feel about your products. Here’s how to make the most of it.  

  1. Select diverse participants. Traditional qualitative research requires recruiting participants who have the time and resources to travel to a research office. Online and mobile qualitative research methods don’t. That lets you include demographic groups you might usually overlook, such as busy professionals, parents who don’t have time for in-person studies, or people who don’t have the means or ability to travel. 
  2. Make it fun. One of the challenges of qualitative research is maintaining participant engagement. While online and mobile qualitative research approaches are easy for participants to keep up with, there’s more to maximizing engagement than just minimizing friction. Look for ways to make the process of providing feedback fast, easy, and fun, and you’ll be more likely to hear your participants’ authentic thoughts. Put yourself in your users’ shoes with a consumer empathy program and think about what your participants need to succeed.
  3. Mix up the format. Don’t get stuck in one predictable pattern with your study participants. Instead, mix it up! You could start your study with a one-on-one video call to learn what features of your product users are most interested in, then have study participants upload video clips with their feedback to a mobile platform before wrapping up with an online focus group meeting.
  4. Be flexible with response modalities. Traditional research can be a one-trick pony: the only way for participants to provide feedback is through the chosen feedback mechanism, whether that’s an in-person interview or a written survey. Again, those limits don’t have to apply to online and mobile qualitative research, so be creative. Who says users have to type their answers in an online discussion board? Let them shoot a video as they use the product or record their thoughts in an audio clip. Leverage the power of mobile technology and free your study from the constraints of synchronous research by allowing participants to capture feedback anytime from their own phones.
  5. Combine qualitative insights with quantitative research for maximum benefits. Want to learn even more from online and mobile qualitative research? Pair it with quantitative approaches like in-home usage tests (IHUTs) to unlock the full story. When you combine quantitative and qualitative research methods, you’ll find out exactly how consumers use your products and how they feel about them.  

Ready to learn more about how to conduct qualitative research on an online or mobile platform? Turn to QualSights. We combine a mobile qualitative platform with precision IHUTs that rely on passive data collection to unlock deep insights into consumer behavior and attitudes. Contact us to learn more. 


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