Qualitative Market Research How-To: Online Bulletin Boards
1/16/14 / Andrew Monroe
An important part of Corona’s front-end consulting for research involves helping clients pick the best approach and research method and instrument. In-person focus groups are still very relevant for qualitative research, and the takeaway value from focus groups lies in the discussion, but what do you do when you need qualitative feedback that doesn’t require as much interactive discussion? What if you want to hear more from each individual, and be able to compare their opinions against each other? Interviews are a great way to achieve this as well, but sometimes there are logistical and time challenges with telephone or in-person interviews. If media or messaging is to be tested, these challenges may be compounded. A case like this is when an online bulletin board may be an appropriate tool.
Online bulletin boards enable participants to log in at times and from locations that are convenient to them, answer questions posted by a moderator, and also read and respond to the other participants’ comments. Software platforms have a “board” that can display text, graphics, images, video, websites, and can even upload video from participants as the stimulus for participants to consider.
Usually, 15-30 participants will give feedback over a 3-7 day period by logging in and answering questions and responding to others. In essence, the result is rich qualitative feedback from a good sample size in a short amount of time.
Here’s an example of a question one might ask on an online bulletin board:
Please rank the following Corona logos “1” “2”, and “3,” with “1” being your favorite and “3” being your least favorite. Why did you order them the way you did?
Image testing, like that above, is a great example of a use for an online bulletin board. The platform gives the participant immediate access to the visual. Similarly, in an online bulletin board, respondents are a bit more isolated in their responses than during a focus group, and tend to focus on their own ideas rather than the rest of the group. This can be a great way to get an affordable, relatively small sample of 30 respondents to help point image development in the right direction by being able to stack their responses for a decent overall picture while also getting some explanatory feedback with a “Why?” follow-up question.
Corona Insights facilitates the entire bulletin board process, helps design and optimize research approaches and methods, and provide analysis that helps answer organizations’ important business questions. For marketers and those considering using a bulletin board, here are some criteria for when a bulletin board would be an appropriate tool:
- When you care less about group interaction and more about having in-depth qualitative data. In a real-time group there is only 10-12 minutes of air time per person, but in the longer time frame of the online bulletin boards the format invites rich, detailed information.
- When you want to facilitate different modes of response besides just text or voice. Bulletin boards also invite the use of mark-ups and video responses, providing more flexibility with different stimuli and alternative ways to respond.
- When your participants are busy, geographically dispersed or logistically challenged. Unlike a face-to-face group, it is possible to reach difficult recruits and overcome geographic limitations. The cost of travel is the major source of savings in using online bulletin boards.