It feels as though market researchers (and clients) are rushing head-on into video-based data capture and associated market research technologies at a ferocious pace.
Wherever you look, vendors are promising that in-the-moment video gives you MORE DEPTH, a RICHER PICTURE, and NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH. (the capitals letters are meant to portray just how loudly these folk making these claims!).
Sure, the ability to see what people are doing at the time of actually doing it is fantastic. Indeed, our own research technology enables this kind of in-the-moment data capture, which lets you see what’s also going on around them - the contextual bit. The ubiquity of mobile phones has opened up this opportunity, and researchers are right to exploit the potential of mobile research technologies in order to learn new things about people and their behaviour that might not surface when reliant on memory and recall.
But hang on. Here at Further we are continuing to see so a lot of written stuff, words, so many deep thoughts and emotions being expressed in words. My hunch is that people still enjoy the art of writing, that somehow when they have the time and space to ponder what’s happened or think about their behaviour, they can capture is as well if not better in words. Heck, it might even provide a better way to get an idea across.
Video (or pictures) isn’t a replacement for the written word, nor should it be. The two are great bed-fellows.When combined, they really do deliver the complete picture of what’s actually going on in the real world and in the mind of the subject.
So when you’re next designing an online discussion guide or insight community activities, don’t miss out on the opportunity for people to write, and enjoy doing it.
Here are a few ways you can get more from words..
Whilst you might want to capture a video of someone doing something, not everyone is comfortable with this yet, nor is everyone happy to be in front of a camera. So, acknowledge this and give them the choice of sharing a moment in words as well as video and pictures. Be explicit about the flexibility as it will engender a better response.
Lead by example
Often, participants need a bit more steer than you think, so by giving them an example of the type of response you want, perhaps related to your own behaviour or experience, it will set them on the road to successfully writing about their experience.
The technique of storytelling is one that lends itself well to wordsmithing, so when it comes to projective exercises, words often work best. As the moderator, you can start the story and get the participant to complete it.
Discuss, discuss, discuss
Yes, discussions can take place in real-time, but the proliferation of message boards, help desks and support communities means that we are as comfortable with asynchronous text-based discussions than ever before. As the moderator, set the topic out with clear expectations, and get involved yourself. Because your participants will be dipping in several times, they’ll be inclined to keep going, adding more and getting more in-depth each time.
So there you have it. We love the art of writing as much as we do seeing the event or moment via video. Both are great ways to get close to people’s everyday lives and to understand their behaviour and motivations.