Qualitative Research in the Time of Covid

Yes, It is Still Happening and has Several Advantages!

Some clients like to take the classical approach to research:  qualitative research to explore a topic followed by quantitative research to develop definitive answers to inform decision-making.  In this time of the Covid epidemic, face-to-face qualitative research in the form of one-on-one interviews and focus groups is not happening.  But online qualitative research is flourishing, especially as more and more consumers are learning to use online communication tools such as Zoom. 

NOW is the time to sit back in your home office and listen hard to the voice of the consumer.  His/her needs have changed.   And if you don’t react with the right strategies and tactics your competitors will.

The growth of online qualitative research is an excellent turn of events because online is cheaper and faster than in-person interviewing and can enable clients to observe and inject questions without ever having to travel. 

Online Qualitative interviews offer all the regular advantages of qualitative interviewing:

The ability to explore a topic in-depth in a free flowing manner, discovering the consumer viewpoint, allowing insights that go beyond any internal company pre-conceived ideas/theories

Allows us to witness and understand consumer emotions/passions via non-verbal communication such as body language and tone of voice on topics – this is true VOC (voice of consumer)

Real time client monitoring

Spurred by consumer responses/sentiments, clients can inject questions at any point during the interview

Ability to change interview on the fly

Ability to share test materials/images

Ability to record interviews and share transcripts

Elimination of group interaction effects (for one-on-ones)


In addition, online qualitative interviewing offers the following advantages:

  • Unlimited Geographic Coverage.  Respondents can be anywhere – no more need for central locations or a limited number of cities.
  • Live In-Home Learning.  Respondents can show us their homes, allowing us to learn how they live, what they love and don’t love, their challenges and pain points on any topic.
  • Speed.   Projects can be completed in a fraction of the time as traditional focus groups or one-on-ones.
  • Cost-Savings.   Online qualitative projects are much less expensive than costly in-home  visits or site specific focus groups that require travel, recording equipment, facility rentals, host charges, over-night stays, etc.
  • Perfect for Hard to Reach Consumer Segments.   Participants can be all over the country so there is no need to find a pocket of hard to reach consumers all in one geographic area.
  • Quality of Insights.  If a participant choses, they can answer via IM.   If there is concern of bias, group think, or sensitive questions, the moderator can require ALL participants to answer via IM, therefore, no one is biased by others. answers, and there is no fear/concern of sharing an answer in front of others.
  • Expanded Methodologies.  We can combine online interviews with other methodologies such as diaries or surveys to integrate data collection from multiple modes.


Again, NOW is the time to sit back in your home office and listen hard to the voice of the consumer.  His/her needs have changed.   Find out how - and assure you are meeting today's needs.

Call (609-896-1108) or email us today (Rick@designres.com Janine@designres.com) to learn more about how you can use online qualitative methods to inform your marketing and decision-making today!