Define and specify the problem or driver
As a starting point, you will need to have a clear reason for conducting the research. What is the objective of the research? What is the research problem? Why are you considering to ask your audience questions? Is there a key insight you are wanting to find out? Sometimes it might be that you don’t know enough about a subject or your customers or you have a hunch that you want to prove. Refine and summarise the research problem in the form of questions and refer to it throughout your project to ensure you are consciously working towards finding the answers.
Quantitative, Qualitative or both?
Once you have defined your research problem and worked out the kind of questions you need to ask, it is time to decide which research tool to use. To help with this choice you first need to identify whether the research should be qualitative, quantitative or a mixture of both.
Qualitative market research helps you answer the ‘why’. It focuses on revealing people's attitudes, behaviors, values, motivations and lifestyle influences. It is research to help you gain a clearer understanding of the decision making process. This form of research generally derives its data from a relatively small group of participants.
Live (real-time) online focus groups, online website usability testing, and one-on-one interviews are examples of this type of data collection. Qualitative marketing research is great for gathering top line feedback, like what kind of thoughts, feelings, or associations consumers have with a product, service, brand or media channel.
Quantitative market research, often associated with online surveys, derives its data from a much larger sample group. This means you gather responses from a larger number of participants - enough to make accurate assumptions about all people in the target audience. In most instances it would be time consuming and costly to interview everyone in your target audience. An online survey made up of a sample of people from the larger target audience generally provides the information accuracy needed to make informed decisions about the whole audience, or population.
Define the target audience
The target audience of your research is the intended responders of the study. The research topic has to have relevance to the participants and target audience otherwise your response rate and results will be diluted and of little representation of true insight. You need to ask yourself - Who can provide you with the answers to your questions? Who can provide the feedback to give you the insight you need? It is important not to generalise here. The research problem you have defined will give you insight into the target audience for your research project. Consider the following when defining your target audience:
Target audience characteristic - known as ‘demographic’
- Income level
- Education level
- Marital or family status
- Ethnic background
Target audience characteristic - known as ‘psychographic’
Putting together the questions
In order to create an effective list of survey questions or discussion plan in a research group, you first need to define the research problem.
What is it that you are trying to find out? This statement or defined research problem should act as the guide for the questioning or discussion.
A research problem often leads to a hypothesis which can be thought of as a prediction of the results or outcome of the research which can be proved or disproved. A good hypothesis should be logical, precise and testable. Design your question and discussion plans around this hypothesis or research problem.
Ensure that you don’t ‘load’ your questions by asking several questions wrapped up in one. For example don’t ask about the “what....” and the “why....” in one question. This can bombard participants and potentially dilute the answers. It also increases the likelihood of participants giving shorter answers or abandoning the research before completion.
When commencing your research session, you may like to start with some general ‘warm up’ questions to get the group used to the contributing within an online environment and to act as an ‘icebreaker’. These can be questions like “has anyone participated in an online group before?” or “have you all had a good day?”.
Characteristics of a good research question:
- The question is feasible.
- The question is clear.
- Does not lead the participant
- Don’t load a single question with lots of questions
- The question is significant.
- The question is ethical.
- The topic is interesting
- Considerate of the target audience
At times, it may be easier to review your research questions or research plan off paper and in the context of GroupQuality. Load your questions or research plan into the system and do a practice run through to ensure it all flows as you intend before you commence with your participants.
How do I source participants for conducting online market research?
Participants for your online market research can come from a number of different sources:
1. Many businesses have a customer list or member database. This is a great place to start. In many instances it is possible to recruit from business lists you may have acquired over time such as:
- customer lists
- newsletter registration lists
- supplier lists
- competition entry lists
- newsletter registration lists
2. A professional recruitment agency can assist in sourcing individuals for your group either from external audited research panel lists, or by helping you recruit from your own customer lists. CINT which is one of our valued partnerships is one such example (). For more information please send us a support ticket.http://www.cint.com
3. You can also include a link on your website to a short online intercept survey to capture participants, or by using twitter or Facebook to distribute a participant screening survey. This short survey which you can use to recruit people for your projects includes a pre-formatted question type in GroupQuality to help you manage the people in the integrated panel manager.