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Getting more done with less: the power of online qual

Qualitative research helps us paint a picture of the social reality of the audience – a non-numerical deep-dive into the why and the how behind purchasing decisions and behaviors of consumers. It gives color and flavor to the stories of consumers that quantitative research simply cannot offer. 

The market research industry, like many others, has been significantly impacted by the 2020 emergence of the pandemic, with the internet becoming the standard way of conducting research. But online qualitative market research has value far beyond simply being a stopgap to turn to during social distancing mandates. 

Qualitative research platforms have come such a long way that they offer greater insights, from a greater variety of participants than ever before. Removing barriers of distance, time zones, access, language, and even disparate literacy levels, online qualitative market research offers insights specialists a fly-on-the-wall perspective into homes around the USA and the globe. In times when everyone is being asked to do more with less, uncover the power of online qualitative research for getting the insights you need. 

Traditional Techniques via An Online Qualitative Research Platform

While quantitative data captures huge numbers on the actions and purchasing behaviors of consumers, qualitative research gives valuable insights into the ‘why’ and ‘how.’ Qualitative research can tell insights specialists not just how many shoppers are choosing one toilet tissue over another, but why they’re making those decisions and how they’re arriving there. 

Although quantitative research serves an important purpose (generating large-scale insights from which we can derive cause-and-effect relationships), brands are beginning to realize that qualitative analysis should make up a greater portion of their focus. The insights gained from the following traditional qualitative research techniques give us the real-life scenarios and perspectives that quant can’t offer: 

  • Focus groups 

  • Surveys 

  • IDIs

  • Observations 

  • Field trials 

These qualitative techniques have been traditionally conducted over the phone or in person. During the pandemic, of course, in-person interviews and observations were impossible. At the same time, staffing shortages and office closures meant in person teams were also unavailable. Enter online qualitative market research, which had been gaining traction even before the COVID-19 crisis. Researchers have since grown to appreciate the significant advantages it offers; saving time and money on recruitment of participants, reducing logistics and travel expenses, drastically reducing project roll-out and data collection times, and streamlining workflows. 

A quality qualitative research platform allows for greater access and convenience for participants, meaning researchers have enhanced capacity for recruitment – and that recruitment draws from a wider pool of participants in different time zones and from diverse backgrounds – giving a much richer and more representative sample of the population. Online qualitative research has become the great equalizer, removing barriers and enriching the value of research data. 

From DIY to Set and Forget: New-Gen Online Qualitative Research Platforms

The greatest benefit of online qualitative research platforms for insights specialists is in getting more done with less. If your team is stretched (aren’t they all?), qualitative platform from expert partners offers you the opportunity to very quickly design and deploy a study, minimizing the resources you need to conduct vital insights research. For those who prefer a hands-on approach, qualitative research platform is simple to access, tweak, and pull data from as needed – particularly when clients request updates and observations mid-study. The best qualitative research platforms give you the option to DIY or set and forget, depending on your capacity and desire to be involved. 

But where’s the catch? Surely certain traditional research techniques are impossible with online qual? You might be surprised to read that, rather than detract from research capabilities, online qualitative software can give even greater insight into participants’ lives. With minimal disruption, to boot.  

“The observer effect is the fact that observing a situation or phenomenon necessarily changes it.”

Without a moderator in the room, participants are freer to go about their business as naturally as possible, without the temptation to conform to a certain answer or behavior out of cultural obligations, such as politeness or the desire to please the researcher. Online qualitative market research puts devices, rather than people, into the homes of participants. The most advanced online qualitative research platform allows for even greater efficacy than in-person studies, due in large part to the non-invasive nature of online platforms. In fact, platforms like HatchTank are designed to look and feel like a social media site, encouraging personalization, interaction, and engagement that is both familiar and comfortable for participants. 

Online qualitative research platforms can offer: 

  • A simple, easy-to-use user experience 

  • Custom activities

  • A powerful back-end for researchers 

  • DIY capacity 

  • Browser-based or app store iterations 

  • Multiple languages 

  • End-to-end project management, even remotely 

  • On-the-fly adjustments and optimization

  • Participant and participation tracking 

Choosing the Best Online Qualitative Research Platform

Even before the global pandemic made broad-sweeping changes to the way we work, digital techniques in qualitative market research were evolving. Today, the best platforms not only replicate in-person analytics but add greater value to both the participant experience and the collected data. 

Good online qualitative platform means being able to do more with less, greatly enhancing your team’s capacity, whilst ensuring you have oversight over your project at all times. The partner you decide to work with should be able to offer you a tailored approach that meets your research objectives and offers you the level of input you desire. 

HatchTank offers insights specialists a platform that is compatible across all devices, is fully customizable (including branding), and boasts a powerful back end for researchers. Find out more about how HatchTank can help you do more with less, with online qualitative market research, by getting in touch with our team today.

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