Here, you will find information on qualitative research and a variety of suggestions to bear in mind when planning to carry out fieldwork in Spain. Most of the tips and articles are coined by us but we are very much in favour of making reference to other author's links whenever we consider they may be useful to market research practitioners.

viernes, 7 de junio de 2013

Tips from a traveling moderator: facility faux pas and fantastic finds

Article AbstractModerator Gwyn Gibbs offers advice on how qualitative research facilities can improve to be more accommodating to moderators, clients and respondents.

As a qualitative moderator coming off of a 24-city tour - visiting 24 facilities in under three months - I saw the good, the bad and the ugly in research facilities across the country. Based on my experiences, here are a few things you can do to help your facility stand out - and some ideas on how to make it happen. 

Do: Have great recruiting, with respondents who show up and who show up on time. Without respondents - and without respondents who arrive on time to get signed in and hear all of the introductions - we do not have any research.
Idea: One facility held an early-bird raffle to encourage early arrival. Participants who arrived early had their names put in a jar and the respondent whose name was chosen received a small reward.
Idea: One facility over-recruits by one respondent and does not charge the client for the extra efforts.
Hint: Do take the extra time to go over directions, traffic patterns and parking with respondents when calling to confirm.

Do: Know all the hotels in your area. Most moderators have no idea where they are or how far you are from their hotel or the airport.
Idea: One facility offered to send a cab to the hotel to pick me up.
Hint: Anyone answering the phone should be able to give directions from all hotels and the airport.

Do: Have a designated qualitative assistant. Moderators usually make all of the room adjustments, paperwork requests, copies needed and the all-important dinner questions right away. The hallways at facilities are atypically long to provide quiet and confidentiality to research rooms, however this makes for a lot of time and foot travel when I'm trying to find someone to help me.
Hint: Introduce the qualitative assistant and plan on them shadowing the moderator for the first 15 minutes after they settle in. It's a great help to have that person ready to answer and pitch in, and then the moderator can grab a breather or meet with a client.

Do: Make it easy to get from the research room and back room to the restroom, front desk and respondent waiting area. Some facilities are one big maze, and although you may know exactly where you are, the moderator, the other clients and the respondents are in foreign territory.
Hint: Wall signs pointing to these popular destinations can be very useful when things get busy.

Do: Supply focus room-friendly supplies. Because research minutes are very expensive, once the group starts there's no leaving for the moderator.
Hint: Have a large-faced desk clock (our eyes are old!), working flip-chart markers, non-sticky flip-chart paper (their sticky cousins don't travel well), a pad and pen, water, tissues and hand sanitizer.

Do: Have cost- and health-minded back-room amenities. With cost-conscious clients it is best to keep the food to a minimum to assist clients in maintaining strict budgets. With cold and flu season around, it is best to keep prepackaged snacks on hand.
Idea: One facility has a water cooler, which is much more eco-friendly than the 10 bottles of water I can drink in a research day, not to mention other clients or respondents.
Idea: One facility baked a small batch of homemade cookies. The cost was minimal and the experience? Priceless.
Hint: Wrapped granola bars, packaged nuts/dried fruit are great for healthier-minded, protein-wanting clients, and they are more sanitary than their open-bowl counterparts.

Do: Have something available to assist the moderator in transporting materials. Often the materials are hauled in manually by the weary moderator en route to the hotel or airport.
Hint: A recyclable bag with handles (and with your logo!) is great for carrying flip-chart notes, screener lists, research stimuli and bottled water. These are just a few of the items that may be in tow late in the evening.

Do: Partner with a great transportation service. Research often ends in the dark hours of the evening, and moderators (often traveling alone) are getting into unfamiliar cabs in unknown cities.
Idea: One facility had partnered with a car service. The Escalade arrived and was charged to the facility (to be billed later).  Another great feature was that the driver was very customer-service oriented because they wanted the facility business. What a great last impression!

Do: Get feedback from your moderator about the service of your facility. However, handing out those customer service surveys as the moderator is leaving is problematic. By then, I'm wiped out and the last thing I want to do is to fill out a questionnaire about someone who is standing in front of me.
Idea: One facility put the questionnaire in a small, lightweight goody bag with a self-addressed stamped envelope to return to the facility. 

As you can see, it's the little things that make the difference. Do your best to make it as easy and pleasurable for moderators, clients and research participants as possible, and you'll be surprised at how far these small gestures can take you!
By Gwyn Gibbs

Gwyn Gibbs is senior project director at Integrated Marketing Associates, a Bryn Mawr, Pa., research firm. She can be reached at
This article appeared in the February 8, 2010, edition of Quirk's e-newsletter.
Article ID: 20100225-1

Creative consumers are a good thing, really

This insight, written by Bryan Urbick, explores the grounds in which consumers’ creativity can really help to produce innovation in design.

I can still hear the voices, trying to persuade us against our idea.
In the mid-1990s when we first decided to progress with some new research methods we had developed, tested and refined, we had a few pushbacks. Stated simply, the methods involved working with consumers in the same way that teams develop new ideas – brainstorming, creative techniques to help people think out-of-the-box and utilization of various stimuli to help drive the creative process.
Of course the process was designed to ensure engagement and facilitated in a way that maintained focus on the project objectives. The crux of the objections and negative comments were based on the belief that consumers are not creative.
Our position then, as it is now, is that no one is creative when not in an environment conducive to creativity. The opposite is also true – anyone can be creative when the context is right.
Interestingly, the creative process was (and still is) a research tool we use to uncover opportunity areas. By evaluating new consumer ideas based on the prevalent themes, a picture of unmet needs emerges – and even if the consumer-created ideas are not pursued, the unmet needs can be clearly defined, with ways to address them clearly plotted out. The fact that by doing this style of research we were able to help facilitate consumers creating usable ideas was merely a by-product of the process.
Now, of course, consumer creativity is not a groundbreaking thought. Consumers, who were once deemed the last people a company would turn to for innovative ideas, are now often at the center of it all. Boundaries have blurred, hierarchies are flattening and at times it appears that everyone can be consumers, researchers, innovators and producers – all rolled into one.
I notice this much more these days when conducting qualitative research projects, from the more traditional focus groups to many of our non-traditional methods. It seems as if consumer respondents feel more ownership and genuinely try to help companies develop new ideas to solve their problems.
It wasn’t that long ago (1909 to be precise) that American farmers were lobbying car manufacturers for an automobile with detachable backseats. It took about 10 more years for Detroit to come up with the pickup truck. One can imagine what the car makers’ response might have been: “These farmers … what would they know?”
“How shortsighted! How narrow-minded!” you might say. And yet this attitude from the early 1900s is not that dissimilar from those naysayers just 15 years ago who felt the need to tell us that “consumers aren’t creative” when we presented our research methods.
Why is this? I believe it is primarily driven by two factors: 1) there is a desire that those hired to create new ideas maintain their worth; and 2) they haven’t seen the context in which a typical group of consumers can actually create anything of interest.
I am thankful, though, that more and more marketers and manufacturers leap with joy when new and obviously very necessary design innovation is suggested by consumers – and many take note and pursue those ideas. Open innovation schemes are becoming more prevalent and ideas are accepted from many sources, including consumers.
It’s about time that we acknowledge that consumers can be creative and allow ourselves to tap into the rich resource of consumer experience to innovate our products and services.

By Bryan Urbick 

Bryan Urbick is founder and chairman of Consumer Knowledge Centre, a London research firm.

This comment was originally published by Quirk’s Marketing Research Review in November 3, 2011 at 18:21.