Research community moderation vs management

Published 13 May 2016 6 minute read

Online qual
Moderation

Research communities frequently run the danger of becoming resource-hungry beasts, with moderation one of the greatest demands placed on researchers’ time. Therefore your approach to moderation and activity planning should always be contingent on the number of members that you plan to include in your research community, together with the period of field / commitment required.

For shorter-term projects involving smaller samples (e.g., up to two weeks in length), we would typically recommend more intensive, discussion-based moderation (e.g., one to two topics every one to two days) to gain maximum value from your projects.

Conversely, for longer-term communities (e.g., those that run for several months and beyond), in particular those involving larger samples, less frequent engagement should be requested. This helps to make the project feasible on the basis of cost and resource. Here, we might consider greater emphasis on survey-based methods and shorter, more pointed discussions.

Research Community

General Tips for Moderation and Management

Regardless of whether you are dealing with a shorter or longer-term community, the following tips will help you maintain healthy levels of conversation and engagement when it comes to moderation and management.

Moderation

  • Be friendly, set the tone: Members will look towards you as the community manager to determine how they might behave and correspond. Liking encourages greater sharing.

  • Let natural conversation flourish: Allow a place in the research community for members to discuss topics of interest, regardless of whether they specifically address your research questions.

  • Use plain English and reflect the language of members: When providing instructions and task requirements, avoid marketing and research speak, and don’t forget to add plenty of context to set the scene.

  • Stimulate deeper thought and reflection: Tired of hearing the same old answers? Challenge members by kicking off your activities with quotes, facts and findings, or stories that will inspire deeper reflection.

  • Set missions and tasks: Consider opportunities to cede control and up-skill members. For instance, ask them to adopt the role of “mystery shopper” and share feedback on retail store displays, or have them interview friends and family members using a pre-developed discussion guide.

Management

  • Avoid topics that tread over the same old ground: Developing an overview of your community plan will help you to keep discussions fresh, and tailor upcoming content and activities to minimise levels of attrition.

  • Offer plenty of licence for expression: Preference for community tasks varies amongst individual members– some prefer creative exercises, others prefer discussions and surveys. Regardless, it is always good practice to maintain variety in your research community task agenda to maintain interest.  

  • Retain space in your early community agenda: Allow room to flex the agenda and explore the ‘unknown unknowns’ in light of the early feedback. This will increase the prospect of eliciting fresh new insight(s).

  • Keep discussions focused: Avoid developing a discussion guide and deploying this as a research community ‘discussion’. The survey tool will enable you to apply structure to questioning and gather responses in an easier to manage digestible reporting format.

  • Communicate the value of your requests: Members will respond better to requests if they understand how their efforts are contributing to the overall value of the project. Mutual purpose is a key intrinsic motivator and helps to drive participation.

To hear more about how to improve research community engagement we encourage you to download our guide

Discover our platform and services

Platform-only

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.

Insight

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

Conde-Nast
Conde_Nast_logo-copy

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
Vouch-for-Me-Logo

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
Keyhouse

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
UNICEF-Logo

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
Zwift-logo

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
Chillys-logo

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

What next?

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

Browse our work
Request a demo
Book consultation