Qualitative Research and COVID-19: What Do We Do Now? 

As the world begins to come to terms with the changes the COVID pandemic has created, as an industry, we, in qualitative market research, find it may be time to evaluate our learnings from the past year. 

  • Do I need to wear a mask? 
  • When do I need to wear a mask? 
  • How do the Delta variant and all those variants springing up limit my research process? 

The Benefits of Online Qualitative Research

While in-person research will always have a special spot in the hearts of qualitative researchers, I think now is the time to weigh the benefits of continuing to conduct qualitative online. It had evolved into more than just a “second” thought when in-person became challenged. 

Consider these points: 

  • Geographic limitations are erased with online research. This means that we, as researchers, can focus on behaviours, attitudes and opinions instead of trying to devise a solid research plan based on physical geography. 
  • Interesting data can come from grouping participants together without geography as a determining qualifier – rather, looking at people as consumers or professionals from similar attitudes, behaviours, or opinions – engaging them intellectually to see if and how geography plays a role. 
  • Remember that only 12% given qualified respondents live within driving distance of a facility. 
  • Moderators have far better creative tools to use online. 
  • The amount of data collected is stimulating to qualitative researchers – being able to combine, filter, and analyze data in ways that were not possible in the past. 

What’s more, qualitative research is now at a redefining stage, and these concepts are becoming incorporated into the very basic idea of what it is today:

  • Speed – online qual has taught us that we do not necessarily need to block several months to gather and analyze data. 
  • Agility – projects can change and turn on a dime as insights are collected and understood. 
  • Valuable in-office time is re-captured – no need to travel all over – being away from business and family/friends. 
  • Availability – Projects, data collection, and attending sessions can be expanded to all stakeholders and internal constituents that may not have had the ability to travel to or participate in qualitative research brings that accessibility to a new and valuable Observer (product managers/developers, marketing and sales, etc.) 
  • Blended methodologies can make for very creative projects and wonderfully insightful data. 

How are you and your teams reacting to being able to at least do some qualitative in-person again? Are you having these thoughtful discussions about the best design, reaching the right people, creating deep, insightful reports for clients or stakeholders? Let us help. As experts in online qual, itracks IS thinking about the online qual industry.  

Let our expertise help guide you and your teams. Contact us today to find out more about the tools we offer and the results they bring.