QRCA Conference: Should qualitative research care about social media?

Should qualitative research care about social media?

Kathy Doyle of Doyle Research posed this question to the qualitative research practitioners at the QRCA Conference in Philadelphia today.

Her answer: YES!!!!

When it comes to social media, Kathy said qualitative research should “own it…and right now we don’t.” Social media monitoring is a listening exercise by definition. Though some providers do offer charts and graphs to summarize the social media findings, there is little understanding behind those graphs. Therefore, researchers are better served by utilizing qualitative analysis techniques that understand the comments in context.

Qualitative research should lead the way in developing social media analysis. After all, effective social media analysis is a natural fit to the qualitative researcher’s skill set.

There are five primary outcomes from qualitative analysis of social media research results.

  • Discover issues related to the brand. Why are they talking about us?
  • ID target segments. Who is talking about us?
  • ID Consumer language. How are they talking about us?
  • Category analysis. What are people saying and and feeling about the brand and competitors?
  • Enhance secondary research. What are the motivators behind the trends we have identified?

Kathy Doyle believes the field is wide open for qualitative researchers. Marketers want it, and monitoring services provide the data, but qualitative researchers are not providing the analysis and interpretation. Kathy is adamant that it is time for our industry to step up and own the social media space.

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