5 Tips for Increasing Client Involvement in Online Research Projects with Interim Debriefs

Keeping client observers involved in asynchronous online discussion can be a challenge. Research with QRCs and research buyers reveals how remote interim debrief sessions can help.

5 Tips for Increasing Client Involvement in Asynchronous Research Projects with Interim Debriefs

Last summer, while developing a QRCA Annual Conference workshop on debriefs, I conducted about 30 phone-depth interviews with qualitative research consultants and buyers of qualitative research services.

Although the topic was a broader view of the value of debrief sessions for all types of qualitative research, I was struck by the number of QRCs using discussion boards and other asynchronous online methods who were frustrated by the difficulty of securing client participation in debrief conversations while these studies were in the field – as well as after the fieldwork had ended.

Here are five tips for engaging clients more deeply in online discussion boards through interim debrief sessions:

  1. Build interim debriefs into the research schedule – include the debriefing schedule in your proposal and note the dates and times on the invitation you send to client observers.
  2. Make sure you get the debrief sessions on the key team members’ calendars as early as possible. The sessions need not be lengthy; usually about 20 minutes a day is sufficient.
  3. A conference call is fine, but if you or your client has access to a web-based collaboration room (such as Adobe Connect) that can be a great option for viewing the online discussion or stimulus together.
  4. Send daily email reminders to client observers to log in and be prepared to contribute to the interim debrief discussion.
  5. Create note-taker pages and distribute them to client observers to help them observe in a more structured manner. It’s often helpful to assign specific themes or specific respondents to individuals to make the task of following the discussion less daunting.

To read more about what I discovered in my research into debriefs, download the podcast at http://podcast.qrca.org/ and read the article in the Summer 2011 issue of QRCA VIEWS magazine.

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One Response to “5 Tips for Increasing Client Involvement in Online Research Projects with Interim Debriefs”

  1. Kerry Hecht says:

    May 26th, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Client involvement is crucial in online qual. In an effort to increase and simplify this we created UpStream, which is a platform that runs parallel with your project’s platform. Think of it as a running topline report. With a mouse click, posts are sent from the platform to Upstream where clients can see it and discuss it with you without getting weighed down by all the details of the day to day. This comes standard with a project license from US and is a tool that I personally, LOVE!

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