Outsourcing your online qual and research community operations

Published 10 May 2021 10 minute read

Online qual
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The benefits of online qual generally speak for themselves.

I’m guessing you already know that one of the benefits of doing online qual is the depth and richness of the data you collect, and the value this represents when compared to more costly in-person methods.

This is particularly true of research communities when compared with online focus groups:  you can include much bigger sample sizes and get much more granular, contextual data in return.. 

It won’t surprise you, then, to know that unlocking all that value takes a lot of work behind the scenes - recruiting, designing, setup and programming, moderation and general management of the community or your online qual project. 

There’s always a balance to be struck between how much work you do yourself versus how what you outsource.

At Further, as well as being a qualitative research agency with technological expertise and a highly flexible online qual and research community platform, we are also researchers and fieldwork teams ourselves, and can partner with you to take on as much or as little of the your research project as you need.

Whether you are an agency researcher or part of an in-house research team, there is no need to be overwhelmed by the prospect of conducting online qual. It can be tempting to do as much of the work yourself as possible to save on the costs, but this may be a false economy.

It doesn’t make sense for you to be inundated with administrative tasks, or having to learn the nuances of running a community ‘on the job’, instead of spending time on the analysis and interpretation of the results, which is where you can really add value to your client or stakeholders.  

Alternatively, if you have to turn a project around quickly, sometimes you just don’t have the resources in house to do so; we can help.

We’ve conducted hundreds of online research projects and we know exactly what is required to make them run smoothly.

This is why so many of our customers come to us originally for the quality of our platform, its comprehensive suite of tool and features but then stay with us for the quality of the additional services we can provide.

A qualitative research agency and research company discussing an online qual project

Our online qualitative research services include the following:

1. Recruitment

Recruitment is one of the most important elements of online qual. If you don’t get the right participants for your project, nothing else matters. We can help you to find the participants who fit the brief and who will engage with the research and give you the best results.

We work with a network of fieldwork teams around the world, which means we can turn recruitment around fast when needed. As a qualitative research agency, we are also experts in finding and working with people who are harder to recruit and whose voices are seldom heard

Finally, we can help with all the permissions, privacy and data protection requirements, which protect you and the participants and ensure you can use the data the way you need to. Check out our detailed guide to recruitment here

2. Design

Once you have the right people on board, you need to ensure that your questions and activities are designed so as to meet your insight needs, engage participants with your project, stimulate in-depth contributions and make the experience easy and enjoyable.

Here’s a template with some suggestions if you want to do the design yourself, however we can help you to make sure that the methodology is right for your brief and to maximise the value you get from your project.

Our ideas for activities are limitless and we will work with you to tailor the ideas to your research questions. 

Team of designers at a qualitative research agency working together on a computer

3. Set up

Once you have written your activities you will need to get them entered into the platform and tested – we will do this as standard.

It’s really important to test not only so you can spot any errors, but also so you can get an idea of how the activities and questions will appear to participants – then you can fine tune them to make them work better, or add additional instructions if you think there may be room for misinterpretation. 

We will always ensure that the guide is programmed correctly and tested for flow and ease of understanding.  

4. Moderating

The more responsive you can be to your research participants, the more they will engage in the process. From on-boarding, through the activities, to thanking and closing the project, we can support you in moderating and managing your research community.

As a qualitative research agency, we know how to create an environment where members feel comfortable expressing themselves and sharing how they really think, feel, and behave.

But we also know how to shape research activities that will not only make sense to members and deliver good, quality feedback encouraging deeper levels of thinking and reflection. 

We’re experts in making our participants feel comfortable to share their stories, to gel with other participants and to feel that their time and efforts have been truly valued.

5. Management

Moderating is about having a conversation with participants and getting your research questions answered. Management is about ensuring the group runs smoothly.

We’ll sort technical problems if they arise, and we’ll work with our fieldwork providers to set the right incentives and make sure they are paid at the right time and to the right people. We’ll also deal with all of the invitations and reminders you need to send to ensure good participation.

Online qual is so valuable, but it does take time and effort behind the scenes to get it right. 

We can do as much or as little of the support work as you need.  Why not get in touch and see how we can help you achieve your online qual goals today? 

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