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How HatchTank's experts help teams reimagine online qual

Ask your clients to tell you about online qualitative research and they’ll probably list bulletin boards and homework as the possibilities. They may even have experimented with online IDIs and focus groups. They’ll remember research moving online during the pandemic, as social distancing restrictions put a stop to in-person methodologies. To sustain research and keep business moving forward during that time, researchers had to consider creative solutions and employ a great deal of out-of-the-box thinking.

Even though online qual had been a thriving industry before the pandemic, the industry swelled as many experienced how easy it was. But ease wasn’t the only thing they noticed. Many researchers also noticed how deep the insights were from asynchronous online qualitative research, allowing participants to engage with research tasks and materials at their own pace. Now many know what they always knew – that asynchronous online qualitative research delivers that critical time for participants to self-reflect on their answers in a meaningful way and provide meaningful feedback that give brands a competitive advantage.


Reimagining Online Qual with HatchTank

Pandemic aside, online qual just keeps getting better and better and HatchTank’s team of experts keep adding powerful tools to our easy-to-use platform. This, along with our consultative approach to setting up studies means that research teams are getting the opportunity to reimagine what online qual can look like. Tailoring a set of tools to specific business needs means it’s not the same “out of the box” approach to each qualitative study. We help winning brands think about what virtual access to anyone, co-creation opportunities and gamification can do to reimagine what can be accomplished. 


Access to Anyone

One of the biggest hurdles to quality qualitative research is recruitment and participation. Allowing people to opt-in to an online and asynchronous study can cast a wider net for high-quality participants than other, more traditional qualitative techniques. Participants are more likely to commit to a study where they are not required to make an appointment at a specific time, for a specific location. This is especially true for harder-to-reach audiences such as doctors, busy professionals, those living in remote locations, living with mobility issues, debilitating and restrictive health concerns, or in instances where we are trying to reach participants across multiple geographies simultaneously. With HatchTank available in over 20 languages, we are also able to overcome language barriers that would otherwise restrict the recruitment and participation of important consumer groups.

Our platform helps reach more people, no matter their location or the device they’re using – democratizing research and giving our clients deeper, more valuable insights from the audiences that matter to them.

Gone are the days of struggling to reach and study the most elusive participants. With online qual research, the impossible has become possible. No longer are underrepresented groups out of reach, they are now within our grasp. This level of access is a game-changer for researchers and brands as it opens up new opportunities for representation and understanding. Online research has not only broken down the barriers of traditional research but also has provided a new level of inclusivity and diversity that offline research could never achieve. 


A Closer Look at Accessibility

An excellent example of the ‘access to anyone’ capacity of online qual research is in a recent study we conducted for a metro area library. This library wanted to better serve a particularly hard-to-reach portion of its population – namely, those with mobility and transportation challenges. Where an in-person study would have faced the exact same access issues the library faces, online qual allowed us to reach these participants and ensure fair representation. The feedback garnered from these participants would go on to serve those participants themselves, thanks to the actions taken from the insights provided.



Much of traditional qualitative research is done from ‘behind the curtain’, where the participant is kept in the dark about the brand, its objectives, and even the goals of the research. We’ve discovered that one of the most overlooked strengths of qualitative research is the capacity for collaboration. Whether for initial ideation or a quick pulse check by getting in front of the consumer, the powerful innovations of online qual can give directions on new products and new messaging, previously untested. The co-creation of ideas between the agency, moderator, and participant can lead to some truly collaborative thinking – yielding deeper insights and giving participants the chance to have their voices heard.

Along with access to a wider and more diverse audience, online qual research makes co-creation simpler, and faster, and offers more insightful discussions. Online, where many of us spend a lot of our time, participants are at home, comfortable, and more open to sharing. Where there may not be time or the available budget for a full ethnographic study, online qual means being able to invite participants to a virtual space where they can be open to talking about their lives and experiences.

We empower researchers to do their best work, connecting with consumers in a familiar way, to achieve actionable results for clients.


A Closer Look at Co-Creation

In a recent project by HatchTank, an outdoor outfitter wanted to know more about the perceptions and needs of a minority group within their customer base. Using online collaboration, we were able to hear their stories and understand what kinds of outdoor products were important to them, as well as the messaging, branding, and representation that would resonate with them. This technique, deployed via our online qual platform, gave our clients an unprecedented level of insight into a key group within their customer base, helping to make their campaign a success.



As anyone involved in consumer insights knows, the level of participant engagement is the most important indicator for high-quality insights. With online qualitative research, we can reach consumers in new and highly engaging ways. Put simply, online qual can be super fun. We can unleash a level of creativity online that is hard to do in person.

Choose from over 15 tools to customize activities. From simple open-ended questions to the most popular quant questions and advanced interactive questions such as collages, cards, and photo sorts.

A Closer Look at Gamification

Online qualitative analysis techniques and media tools from HatchTank allow participants to be creative in their responses, sharing images, participating in game-like studies, using videos, and interacting in social media-style groups, while we capture their inputs for further analysis. Some examples of the gamification options available with HatchTank include:

Using video or photo uploads for more creative responses

Using video or photo uploads for more creative responses


The HatchTank platform’s markup tool to create Bingo cards instead of checkboxes

The HatchTank platform’s markup tool to create Bingo cards instead of checkboxes


The HatchTank platform’s collage tool encourages creativity and rewards with incentives

The HatchTank platform’s collage tool encourages creativity and rewards with incentives


The HatchTank platforms voting tool can provide further metrics around participants



Reimagining qual is not change for change’s sake, but a shift in mindset to start with the end in mind. Online qual research offers immediate and dynamic feedback from your ideal audience, no matter where they are in the world, how busy they are, which device they’re using, or what their first language may be.

As with any approach to qualitative research, online is not going to be the answer in every instance, but a robust online qual platform with great human support is unparalleled in terms of executing collaborative research. Find out more about the HatchTank platform and how we empower teams to reimagine online qual and get unparalleled results in a fraction of the time.

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