This morning, I decided to ask the Magic 8 Ball if our information-junkie staff here at Corona Insights would employ any online qualitative research tools before the end of the year. Its reply on the little floating blue triangle:

“No way!”

What!? The Magic 8 Ball is so stupid!

Well, we all know that if you don’t like the first answer the Magic 8 Ball gives, you should really ask it again. So I did. And this time I beamed with happiness as it said, “Absolutely!”

The Magic 8 Ball is a genius, I tell you!

As a company that helps its clients by providing data-driven insights and strategic direction, the Magic 8 Ball perhaps isn’t the way I should be starting this blog. It’s hardly a source of hard facts. But at Corona, the methods we use for conducting our research are fully customized to the nature of our clients and the questions they want answered. We love working this way, but it does leave the techniques we’ll employ to be somewhat unpredictable. We don’t always know when or how often we’ll be able to employ online or mobile qualitative research.

Researchers the world over work from a toolbox of methodologies. The method(s) you choose depends on your client’s questions and how it might be best to reach the audiences that can help you attain the answer to those questions. Sometimes, it even depends on your client and their comfort level with various methodologies. It follows that sometimes we employ an online method, and other times we conduct research in-person or over the phone.

I think at first many of us feared the research revolution of which we seemed to be on the cusp. But it has ended up being more of an evolution, albeit a relatively quick evolution. As such, we’re able to add online tools to our existing methods. Note that I use the word “add” instead of making any mention of replacing other methods with those that are newer. Think about it. If you were to buy a drill, would you throw out your screwdriver? Probably not. They perform similar functions, and it’s true that one is more sophisticated than the other – but you’re bound to find that one is preferable to the other depending on your needs.

In addition to the growing toolbox that online research methods allow, I think it’s also important to highlight that using different methodologies creates the opportunity for partnerships among research firms with different specialty areas. In our case, we do most of our work in-house but we do enjoy working with partners to bring the very best to our clients. At Corona, we’re extremely skilled in the principles of research and I believe we have outstanding analytical skills. But I wouldn’t try to promote us as cutting-edge developers of online research methods. That’s when it’s good to know experts in those areas, like Revelation Global, so that we can keep producing top-notch results.

I think it’s awesome for all of us research and information types to have more and more ways to gain information depending on the needs of our clients. When you get down to it, it’s really just fun to connect with participants. And I don’t have to ask the Magic 8 Ball to know that’s true.

This post first appeared on the  Revelation blog.