Thinking Outside the Bulletin Board Focus Group: Interesting Ways to Use Online Research Software

Last week we sat down with Jessica Ritzo, marketing consultant and head of online qualitative for Insights in Marketing, a Wilmette, Ill.-based research firm (and a client of ours). We’ve been impressed—and intrigued—by the inventive ways Ritzo’s company has embraced online research software. They’ve used bulletin board focus group software for online journaling projects, they’ve mastered the art of combining online—and traditional—methodologies in the same study, and more. Here’s a sample from the interview.

We understand you did an online journaling project, but didn’t use online journaling software. Tell us more about that.
We’ve used both online journaling and online bulletin board focus group software for research involving blogging/online journaling. While both tools can work well for shorter and longer-term projects, I’ve found that online bulletin board software is a better fit for projects that may require more moderator/respondent interaction over the course of the fieldwork, since it allows for more active probing.

What are some other examples of “beyond bulletin board focus group” projects you’ve done?
We’ve also done quite a lot of real-time online qualitative, including online focus groups and one-on-one in-depth interviews. Additionally, we’ve conducted a good amount of website usability and development research online, most recently using 20|20’s QualMeeting. Additionally, just as we do with our in-person qualitative work, it’s not unusual for us to create hybrid methodologies to best meet the research objectives. So, this may mean weaving together multiple online approaches or combining online with more traditional approaches within the same study. Really, it comes down to identifying the most effective methodology for each individual project.

For more insight from Ritzo, including some great tips for online qualitative newbies, check out the full article posted at 2020Research.com.

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