Qualitative in Concert: Mixing Mobile, Online and In-Person
A shopper insights example that used mobile, online and in-person qualitative research to help reveal a more complete picture of the changing role of fathers in today’s household purchase decisions
When Jon McNeil of Hunter Qualitative Research was faced with the assignment to understand the changing roles of fathers in household purchase decisions, he knew he was going to have to think outside the box.
He needed to get a 360-degree view of the changing role men were playing within the household – which meant getting as close as possible to key moments of family life. In the past, he would have relied almost entirely on in-home visits. But key moments of purchase decisions don’t always happen at home, they happen almost any time and anywhere.
McNeill designed a mixed-method study that leveraged in-person, online immersive research and mobile diaries to capture the right insights at the right time from his group of dads, their families and the dads’ network of friends.
Here’s how it worked:
McNeill started with activity-based online immersive research. The fathers were invited into an online project site and given three photo and video ‘getting to know you’ activities. These activities enabled him to develop a deep understanding and connection with the participants before moving into the field. The online phase provided the fathers plenty of time and space to go into depth.
Next, he used mobile research (using the same platform) to capture in-the-moment access to the fathers’ shopping and purchase moments. Participants recorded moments from the aisles, with dads posting pictures of items under consideration, as well as the reasons behind their purchases. The mobile phase provided quick, real time access to key moments.
The final phase included in-home visits, where McNeill interviewed the fathers at their homes, as well as their families. Armed with all of the insights from the online and mobile phases, McNeill was able to tune his observations and lines of questions to each participant and develop a far deeper understanding of the family dynamics.
McNeill’s mixed-method study succeeded on two levels. First, he was able to conclude from this study that familial roles have changed – perhaps permanently; fathers now constitute a new market segment in which consumer goods companies need to pay closer attention.
On another level, he also demonstrated the power of leveraging online, in-person and mobile qualitative research for the same study.