Online qualitative research: why DIY when you can DIT?
Scientists and researchers currently have access to a vast amount of information, and it's continuously increasing. Research techniques are also becoming more advanced. This means that with the growing amount of data and improved methods to access it, researchers will be able to gain more profound insights.
The problem is that while that’s entirely true, budgets and time frames are not limitless.
Now, it’s more important than ever that the strategies around access and analysis are equally robust. Online qualitative research platforms provide an efficient and cost-effective solution to access a vast array of data sets, which can be analyzed in a timely manner, enabling researchers to gain valuable insights that could be the key to groundbreaking discoveries. Effective qualitative research must be conducted with a research partner who no longer simply provides the tools for a Do-It-Yourself effort. That partner must provide expertise in the form of real humans who are transforming DIY to DIT, or “Do-It-Together.”
Time-to-market can make bypassing in-person involvement tempting. Admittedly, research can be done faster and for less money. But the money saved, not to mention the money spent, cannot be considered a sound investment when the payout is inadequate or, worse yet, represents lost opportunities for growth and profit.
It’s impossible for an organization to have sufficient knowledge about enough platforms to evaluate them objectively, much less use them effectively. The checklist of what needs to be included in the project typically becomes longer than anyone thought. There’s no awareness of which project management steps are interdependent, the varying degrees of complexity, and how they impact the overall effort. The result can be an unwieldy and inadequate research initiative.
A DIT researcher puts the client’s institutional knowledge, needs and goals into the practiced hands of experienced research professionals. Working together, they develop a highly customized and thorough step-by-step process precisely tuned to the specific tasks, including best practices around driving positive outcomes.
Begin with the End
Start by acknowledging upfront that time slippage is all but inevitable as priorities are sorted out and agreed upon. Plan accordingly and have a targeted completion date in mind and, in effect, work backward from there. Distractions are minimized or bypassed entirely because a date is set for completion, a budget is developed that accommodates it, and costly changes or extensions are more easily avoided.
The Right Tools for the Right Job
A collaborative DIT relationship ensures that the qualitative software is fully capable of delivering upon expectations and performs as needed throughout the process. Order bias, for example, can be avoided through programming that randomly sorts concepts, segments the audience and presents the concepts to them in varying sequences to spark genuinely impartial responses.
Be Big on Bandwidth
A research team is only as good as its management of individual and collective responsibilities. How is time best used, and by whom? How is expertise distributed, and how can those people manage their time most efficiently? Well planned and timely prompts help keep all collaborators on task and on schedule. Careful management of overall bandwidth not only makes the current project run more smoothly but also allows team members to quickly move on to other projects.
Implicit in DIT is mutual trust and accountability, and therein lies its greatest strength. At the end of the day, researchers need more than a client and vendor relationship. They need support teams with actual research experience who are well-versed in what outcomes are needed for a successful online qualitative research project. Brokering a true partnership means starting with clearly defined roles so experts can work together to reach valid conclusions. It is not hyperbole to say that as technology advances, the human touch is, in fact, needed more than ever.