Online Qualitative Solutions in Quarantine

Filed Under: COVID, Online Qualitative Research


Shaili Bhatt

Alum, Online Qualitative Research

Travel has been cancelled; in-person market research is indefinitely postponed. Industries have been greatly impacted by social distancing and new restrictions, which seem to change nearly every day. None of us expected a quarantine situation at the start of this year, but here we are.

Businesses nationwide are adjusting their purchase processes to meet home-bound consumers’ needs, by offering digital alternatives in this new normal, ramping up home deliveries, and adding parking lot pick-ups to encourage individuals to develop safer new habits. 

To that end, the market research industry has seen an uptick in requests to incorporate more remote and digital methodologies, which have proven to offer impressive flexibility, especially in the past decade. There are countless healthy, home-bound consumers located nationwide who are ready and willing to participate in research, from the safety and comfort of their homes.

Different from quantitative surveys, online qualitative methodologies are designed to include professional moderation for follow-up questions and clarifications. 

Here Are A Few Examples Of Digital Qualitative Fieldwork:

  • Flashqual
    • Fieldwork: 1-2 days
    • Great for: concept-testing, ad-testing, light exploratory work and segment-specific insights
  • Webcam Interviews (1-on-1s/groups)
    • Fieldwork: 45-90 minutes per 1-on-1, 1.5-2 hours per group of 3-4 participants 
    • Live moderation
    • Great for: showing stimuli for top-of-mind reactions, concept deep-dives, category exploration, projectives and laddering
  • Screensharing/Digital Shopping Missions 
    • Fieldwork: 30-45 minutes per session
    • With or without live moderation
    • Great for: ecommerce experiences, digital communications/content, social media influences, web exploration
  • Online Discussion/Immersion
    • Fieldwork: 3+ days (even weeks)
    • Asynchronous moderation
    • Great for: values/lifestyles, home tours, attitudes and usage, category or brand perceptions, projectives, short or long-term observation, in-home usability test (IHUTs)
    • Easy add-ons: journaling, webcam interviews, digital shopping missions, markup tools for ad-testing and concept-testing
  • Online Co-creation/Digital Mash-ups
    • Fieldwork: 3+ days
    • Live or asynchronous moderation
    • Great for: Consumers to imagine and create better products or services by working together in an online creative hub; taking time to add “likes” and comments to build on each other’s ideas 
    • To elevate video conference calls, tools like Miro, Mural, Skype and Trello provide visual whiteboard technologies for online collaboration
  • Robust Digital Qual Add-ons
    • Netnography/Social Media Following: Good for immersing with a particular target audience.  Follow consumers online in their social media accounts and see their worlds from another unobstructed angle.
      • Great for: understanding influences, sources of inspiration/motivation, ecommerce purchases
    • Passive Metering offers automated passive observation of pages viewed/sites visited across consumers’ digital devices
      • Great for: understanding path to purchase, journey, digital touchpoints
    • Online Eye-Tracking: Great add-on for ad-testing, concept-testing, package design, ecommerce
    • Emotional Video Facial Coding: Understand underlying consumer emotions as they express themselves in video.   


  • Observer team work sessions, including a C+R-led verbal debrief within 1-2 business days of fieldwork
  • Links to transcripts + secure photo/video downloads
  • PowerPoint report 
  • Video deliverables: we can embed clips into a report or create a stand-alone sizzle reel

One more tip: Do you have a partial recruit for focus groups that were postponed or are no longer taking place? Instead of losing those recruits, consider recontacting participants for an online methodology, or check if they would be interested in participating in research once things return to normal.

We are well-equipped to help you conduct online qualitative research, and as you can see, there are several ways in which it can be “business as usual” for your research needs. Consider inviting C+R Research to be your partner through this storm.

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