• There are no suggestions because the search field is empty.

How to get more from words, not just pictures

Published 13 Oct 2016 2 minute read

Online qual
Select Child

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.

selfie (1)

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..

Be flexible

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.

If you’d like our help in designing your next online qualitative research study then email hello@go-further.co or call +44 20 3515 3301 or Let's Talk.

Discover our platform and services


The insight platform for online qual, research communities, digital diaries, ethnography and more.

Services & Support

A range of expert research services and resources to help you deliver your projects with ease, speed and reach.


Human insight with impact; leveraging our academic and industry experts to uncover insight, create impact and make confident decisions.

Conde-Nast (1) (1)

We were amazed at the level of insight we achieved in just a week. Further opened our eyes to new ways of researching and understanding our staff

We helped Conde Nast International define a new global mission and vision statement

van-tay-media-Kab_-4M4I74-unsplash (1)

Further really understood the brief and were extremely proactive. We are now very confident that we’re taking the right products and proposition to market.

We helped this insuretech startup tailor their customer value proposition for the UK market ahead of a planned launch

Keyhouse (1) (1)

Further's expert team pushed us to clarify our assumptions and to think harder about how to communicate the value of our products and services

We helped Keyhouse enter a new market and understand what target users of their case management software needed and how to position their offer

FTH001_Mother_2_children_tablet (1)

Working with Further was a refreshing and eye-opening experience…...the qualityof their output which was excellent.

We helped Unicef generate insights to support the development of a mass market, sustainable fundraising product.

Zwift image (1)
Zwift-logo (1)

Strategically, Further’s insights provided clear and directional answers that will guide us through our next phase of growth

We helped Zwift understand users and non-users needs and wants so they could prioritise their innovation pipeline

Chillys image case study (1)
Chillys-logo (1)

We helped Chilly’s leadership team consider new ways to understand and co-create with their customers’

We helped disruptive pet insurance company Waggel develop customer personas and map out the current and intended customer journey.

What next?

Browse our site, download our resources, request a demo of our platform or speak to one of our experts

Browse our work
Contact Us