Something you realise very quickly when conducting qualitative research is that everyone is different. It's more than just different opinions too: everyone has different ways to communicate.
One of our interests at Edentify is to do research that allows respondents to participate the way they feel most comfortable. We want to allow them to tell us their thoughts and feelings in the way that feels right and best for them, rather than having to respond the way we ask them to.
We also need to provide ways of collecting data that provide rich insight. This means we need to be able to ask questions in a variety of ways to make sure we cover issues from all angles, not just the most obvious.
That's why our online qualitative forums and communities are designed to provide multiple ways for people to respond to us. In recent years we have found that many people feel comfortable using text-based communication. This is not surprising, given the amount of communication that takes place via email, SMS, and social media. However we have also had a lot of success using photo responses and, increasingly, video.
Fortunately, these days almost everyone carries an easy-to-use video camera with them everywhere they go. Mobile phones have transformed where and when research can be run and take us closer to people and deeper into their lives.
So what are the advantages of video responses in qualitative research?
1. Video allows people who prefer to communicate both verbally and visually to express themselves in this way. It allows them to talk and show us what they are talking about at the same time. 2. Honesty. It's always surprising and enlightening just how honest and open people are when they speak on camera. Sometimes they will tell us things they wouldn't tell their partner or best friend. 3. Video allows people to show us what is happening to them exactly where they are. We don't have to wait for them to get back to their computer, and the result is often more honest and unfiltered. 4. The respondents decide what they think is important. Rather than us prompting for what we think is important, people tell us what actually is. 5. It allows us to see for ourselves exactly what the situation is. Whether it's in the kitchen, at work, in the car, or even in the bathroom. This presents a whole new and very real world of research opportunities.
Video responses are not for everyone or every situation. Every project and objective is different and everyone has different ways they want to communicate in each situation. However by providing more flexible and varied ways of collecting qualitative data, it allows us to understand the important issues even better.
Preview our short video presentation containing some examples of different replies collected from a recent online group forum we conducted around snacking.