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7 Tips for insightfully analysing online qual

Tom Woodnutt

Tom Woodnutt

Feeling Mutual

Tom Woodnutt is a planner and qualitative researcher with over 16 years in the industry. He works at the intersection of digital, insight and strategy. Tom has helped many agencies learn how to design research that is more inspiring for both clients and participants. He has also been digital skills trainer for the AQR (Association of Qualitative Researchers). 

One of the biggest assets of online qualitative research also represents one of its biggest challenges, namely how to analyse large volumes of feedback. These seven tips will help moderators manage the load and make it easier to write a thorough and insightful report as quickly as possible.

1. Use an analysis framework while moderating

Create an analysis template that moderators can work with. This will allow you to drop in the most pertinent quotes whilst moderating them. You will also be able to track the story as it develops and record your ideas along the way. I love this approach in face-to-face research as it’s easy to forget your thoughts in the heat of live moderation.

2. Work with multiple moderators

If you have the luxury of working with a team of moderators, be sure to capitalise on this by spreading the work, rather than leaving the entire project to one person. Allocating particular segments to individuals will make it easier to keep track of who said what.

3. Use collaborative documents

Emailing around version after version of summaries and analyses can be a nightmare. Instead, try using something more collaborative such as Google Docs. It means you can view and add to each other’s work and keep up to speed with ideas as they develop.

4. Keep track of killer quotes

When you hear a quote that makes a strategically relevant point, make sure you highlight it. Once you’ve gone through several days of analysis and picked out the best quotes, you’ll be glad that you did!

5. Summarise how ideas perform

A lot of online qual involves testing ideas. In face-to-face research you can feel the energy of the room and gain a sense of how each idea is resonating but it’s harder online. Asking people to score ideas and then compiling responses in a table is a good way to show how the ideas have performed.

6. Keep track at a participant level

Great online qual is all about listening to and then retelling participants stories, so it’s important to record what they say in relation to earlier contextual questions. It’s worth checking back within the platform to remind yourself, so you can connect early responses to their later answers. This also helps you paint a vivid picture of individuals in your mind, so you remember who they are.

7. Go back to participants during the write-up

Another great benefit of online qual is that you can go back to people at a later date without having to reconvene them in person. Allow some time for further feedback once you’ve started writing your slides. In that way you can add in any missing insights that are vital to the narrative, but which you may not have thought of asking initially.

Using these seven techniques should give you more value and deeper insight from your online qual research projects. If you’d like to learn more tips on how to achieve online qual excellence then please join us for the next Masterminds training session which is being held in Shoreditch, London. Email tom@feelingmutual.com to find out more.


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