How to Reach Teens With Online Qualitative Research

Quick, what’s the best way to engage teens in online qualitative research? Duh, text messaging. Did you know that today’s U.S. teens age 13–17 send or receive and average of 3,339 text messages per month. That’s more than 4.5 texts per hour.

The data comes from Nielsen, which analyzed mobile usage data among teens in the United States for the second quarter of 2010.

Nielsen also points out that no one texts more than female teens, who send and receive an average of 4,050 texts per month. Their male counterparts churn out only 2,539 texts per month, which is almost 1,000 more per month than the next age group—young adults (age 18-24) exchange 1,630 texts per month.

So does this tell us that the way to reach teens is through mobile qualitative research? It worked for the Municipality of Copenhagen when it was testing a new school food program. City officials wanted to understand how school children experienced three different test concepts for school food. But, as Merlien Institute points out, it was difficult to interview the students using traditional face-to-face methods. Enter their mobile phones. The students were already familiar with them (one of the benefits of using text messaging for online qualitative research) and therefore could easily document their behaviors and thoughts with text, as well as images and video.

Julie Gade of Story Field, who led the research for the Municipality of Copenhagen, will be presenting this case study at the International Conference on Market Research in the Mobile World, taking place Dec. 2-3, in Berlin, Germany.

Learn more about how online qualitative research with text messaging works.

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