Drawing out insights

Drawing out insights

  • November 02, 2018

As with many professions, there is a lot more to conducting qualitative research than meets the eye. While on the surface it can appear as a simple question-and-answer, getting deep insight often requires more than simply asking questions.

The challenge lies in trying to go beyond what people say, separating what they really think and feel from the way they rationalise it to themselves and to the researcher. A straightforward answer may be masking much deeper and more emotional motivations.

One of our favourite techniques for encouraging people to reveal more is through drawing. Whether in focus groups or online qualitative forums, drawing exercises allow people to express what they think without using words, instead by drawing a picture that represents their view. For many, this allows them to express emotions that they find difficult to adequately put into words.

Of course, not everyone is an artist, however this doesn't really matter. Sometimes even the most basic stick-figures can reveal much more than someone can express in words.

So when would we use drawing tasks in research? There are many situations when this is valuable, in particular:
• Customer journey: draw a picture of how you felt when you were shopping for a car
• Customer experience: draw a picture that shows how you felt the last time you called your bank
• Product research: draw a picture that shows how you feel when you use makeup
• Consumer needs: draw you when you need a coffee

Edentify's online research platform allows us to ask people to do these expressive drawing exercises as part of an online qualitative forum, and they can draw using their mouse or even their finger if they are using a mobile phone.

Some examples from a recent study about how people see themselves in the future: