BENEFITS OF ONLINE RESEARCH
In choosing a particular
method of research, one must consider trade-offs in:
- data quality
- special capabilities
- financial costs
- time costs
- total turnaround time
- ability to answer research objectives
As with any method, online research
has advantages and disadvantages. As with other methods, different
research organizations have different capabilities and personalities in
how they conduct online research, and this is particularly true in the
new field of online research.
online research might intuitively appear to greatly reduce some costs,
keep in mind that other costs will increase. Online research can
in some cases eliminate the need for travel and lodging, research facility
rental, and a professional interviewer, but these costs are somewhat offset
by a greater investment in the preparation of visual stimuli, in programming
online surveys, and such. In considering the above trade-offs, consider
the effects of the following general factors associated with online research:
and researchers do not have to schedule or travel to an interview facility.
They also do not have to travel between geographically dispersed cities
in order to complete a study.
- Data collection can begin almost immediately after approval of a topic guide.
- Simultaneous interviews can be conducted from any geographic
location within days of the start of the study.
Recruits can participate in a study at a time and place of their own convenience.
- Study participants are in their
own natural environment (e.g., browsing a web site on their personal home
or office computer), potentially raising participation rates, lowering
recruiting costs, and increasing the validity of responses for some types
- Recruits can participate in
the study immediately after being recruited. Data collection can
be completed within days of recruiting.
DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS
Qualitative and quantitative
responses can be automatically recorded, encoded, and analyzed.
The study is pre-programmed before it begins.
- Online data can be processed, analyzed, tabulated, formatted, accessed,
and displayed in real time from almost anywhere at the convenience of the
client and the researcher.
- Data processing and analysis can be automatically concluded with
participation of the last recruit.
- A variety of stimulus media can be combined, including graphics,
video, audio, and print. These
can be adaptive to and interactive with the respondent.
- In some cases, online materials associated with a study are one
and the same as the topic guide.
- Programmed interviewing eliminates any inconsistencies of personal
- Checks for non-responses, mistakes, and inconsistencies by the r
espondent can be made on-the-fly, resulting in a higher rate of useable
responses in survey methods.
- Advertising test copy and layout, survey questions, etc. can be
randomized between respondents, eliminating order effects bias in survey methods.
- Dynamic branching
allow an online interview to be flexibly adapted to the respondent and
to particular reactions to interview stimuli.
STANDARD SURVEY vs.
QUALITATIVE DEPTH INTERVIEW
Many electronic surveys merely mimic paper and pencil instruments.
Questions are asked directly. Some electronic surveys go a step further
by interacting with the respondent, altering questions on the basis of
prior answers. In either case, the respondent is providing a direct
answer to a directly asked question.
Marketing research firms use qualitative Individual Depth Interview
methods (IDI) because direct answers to pre-defined questions are often
lacking in the kind of information that we need. Flexible, adaptive,
face-to-face interview and focus group methods are often used because the
richness of the discussion gives us indirect information that gives us
better insights than the direct answers to questions. Although expensive
and time consuming, there is often no other way to obtain the rich insights
that we can get from personal interview methods.
ONLINE AUTOMATED DEPTH INTERVIEW
technology, measures of time, place, and movement can be
taken in online studies. These techniques allow us to, say, track
the attention of a respondent to particular bullets within an advertisement,
or to particular portions of a graphic in an ad. Just as the quickness
or hesitation in answering a question can provide insights in a qualitative,
face to face depth interview, so too can such measures provide insights
Automated Depth Interview
Although an online survey could ask about each
bullet point of text or each feature of a graphic, doing so would make
for an unwieldy written survey. A
Automated Depth Interview allows us
to collect information which is more rich in providing indirect insights
about advertising text or graphics which might be especially relevant,
interesting, confusing, or obvious to the reader. As in a face to
face individual depth interview, a
Automated Depth Interview can ask
tailored questions based on the way that a respondent reacts to advertising
are made of a person's real time reactions to advertising stimuli, rather
than to survey question responses. With these tracking
measures of time, place, and movement, we can visually replay
a respondent's movements through the graphic and text portions
of an advertisement, detail piece, or web page for remote qualitative
observation and analysis.
THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS
Automated Depth Interview is a way to get the best of both worlds:
- The simplicity of a standardized questionnaire that
lends itself to quantitative analysis.
- The richness of a flexible qualitative interview
which provides insights that would not, a priori, be intuitively
A practical discussion of how
is used, how it works, and the financial and time costs
to run a
A sneak peek at some beta
ONLINE SALES TRAINING
We can create interactive online sales training materials to
supplement hard copy materials. Check out the sorts
of materials that are posted at Tyman-Space
or browse through the following example:
and Territory Management
Sample workbook chapter on territory design and routing. Includes three
exercises - see links at the end of the chapter.
ATTENTION PRODUCT MANAGERS
for a chance to win Sunday afternoon exposure
on national TV!