Woman drinking iced coffee and looking at her phone, representing mobile qual

Hot research method of the moment – mobile qual

Methodology of the moment – mobile qual

Across all areas of market research we’re starting to see one very clear pattern: people are beginning to favour mobile and digital research methods over traditional methods such as face-to-face focus groups. Today’s world is fast-paced, and digital research methods easily fit in around people’s busy lives, increasing response rates among participants and offering researchers both financial savings and increased efficiency – so it’s easy to see why these new methods are so popular. So in this blog, we explore one of the most prevalent digital research methods, mobile qual…

What is it?

Mobile qual is a qualitative research methodology used to capture data and engage with participants in real time. Or, to put it more simply, it’s research conducted via smartphone that allows you to access your respondents’ thoughts and feelings instantly without being intrusive.

Why use it?

There are a number of reasons to utilise mobile qual. Firstly, mobiles are omnipresent – which means that you can have access to every detail of your respondents’ lives, making it easy to capture rituals, routines and habits for ethnographic study. And because mobiles allow you to be in the moment, you can capture their experiences and emotions as and when they happen, meaning you can get authentic and accurate responses. Mobile qual also allows you to engage with your participants quickly and monitor reactions instantly as opposed to more time consuming traditional methods – and it’s also a fun and interactive methodology that participants enjoy and are willing to engage with.

Mobile Qual

Potential drawbacks

Although there are a number of benefits of using mobile qual, as with all methodologies there are of course some drawbacks. When people take part in research on a mobile they tend to give shorter answers – possibly due to the smaller screen – so you should be prepared to probe more to get the detailed answers that you would like. In addition, once you have the answers you need you’ll have to consider how you are going to analyse, sort and manage all your data.

How to use it

There are a number of methods available for mobile qual studies with more and more methods appearing by the day. Market research online communities and mobile base communities are firm favourites, but as technology develops, so do new techniques. Whatsapp mobile qual studies are currently very popular: particularly good for diary type studies, Whatsapp allows participants to type out their thoughts and feelings in real time. Other examples include Pinterest, which retail brands have started using as a visually stimulating and exciting way to interact with their respondents, and social media platforms such as Facebook where respondents can interact via closed private groups are another methodology that participants can easily engage with.

If you are thinking about carrying out a market research study using online qual, why not download our guide to find out how you can get better respondents for your research.

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