Technology has changed qualitative research studies dramatically because every step of the research process has adapted to new possibilities. When businesses and marketing agencies understand and ultimately leverage these shifts, they can position themselves well ahead of their competition, and much closer to their customers.
In the first of two articles, we’ll discuss four ways technology is changing qualitative market research studies. Then in the following article, we’ll discuss what your business should do with these new technologies:
Technology has opened up a multitude of options in terms of methodologies that are accessible to buyers at competitive price points. Now in addition to in-depth interviews and focus groups, these various options are available:
- Eye tracking - As a participant looks at some kind of stimulus, you can actually track their eye movements to see what they’re looking at.
- Facial coding - Using the “Facial Action Coding System”, the movements of individual facial muscles can be coded in order to identify the expression of emotions. Human coders and computer programs can detect faces in videos then categorize each facial movement.
- Neuroscience - By measuring brain waves, researchers can see how participants react to a stimuli without needing to rely on emotional cues or body language alone.
- Mobile Device Capabilities - With 9 out of 10 U.S. adults owning a mobile phone, market research studies can connect with respondents and capture useful data after an engagement.
- Online Qualitative Resources - From bulletin boards to online communities such as Digisite, Dub, Fuel, ICanMakeItBetter and Communispace, researchers can now utilize online qualitative resources for on-demand feedback. These powerful tools can let you ask questions, brainstorm ideas and start conversation with your target audience.
- Virtual Reality - With many new virtual reality headsets being created, participants can actually experience situations and products virtually.
- Panels & Recruitment Databases - Thanks to a growing number of market research studies, respondents can be put into panels or recruitment databases so it becomes easier to find willing participants from your target audience.
2. Data Proliferation
In many cases, businesses generate large amounts of data at unprecedented rates and market research can do the same! This is effecting qualitative research just as much as quantitative. You can end up with mountains of text-based feedback, dial test results, recordings, etc. In order to store and manage that data, new data proliferation technologies exist to help researchers sort through mountains of data to find what matters.
For market research, data is no longer just memory, recording or transcription. It can become much more than that! Not only do we now have access to more data, we have better access on how to organize it and how to pull out the meaningful insights. Today we can even use multiple data sources from hybrid studies to glean a more accurate understanding of the target audience.
Large amounts of data shouldn’t just be stored and managed; they should be analyzed! After all what’s market research without the analysis and insights to use it for decision making? In the past, the larger a data set, the longer the analyzation period would be. However nowadays, technology is advancing to synthesize data with greater efficiency.
For example, qualitative studies can create large amounts of text-based feedback that needs sorting through. Today we can utilize quantitative data analysis tools to analyze the qualitative data thanks to text analytics, tables and algorithms. We also have access to more studies from behavioral psychology and decision science to give clarity to qualitative data during the analysis process.
From client dashboards to persona development and storytelling, the technology advancement of deliverables continues to skyrocket. Clients can see real-time updates on their market research efforts while being more involved in the process from creating the plan to reporting the data. In dashboards, clients can interact with research study results, pick out which feedback they find most useful and be a part of drawing insight from the research. With persona development and storytelling, researchers can invoke empathy and emotion to the people they’re presenting to.
The future of market research is certainly going to be a technology-led story, and at Communications For Research we are excited about this development – and indeed we are helping lead the way. To learn more about how we can assist you as you evolve your own research practices to respond to the modern market research world, contact us today.