Online Study Process

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Shout out to alandberning for the photo.
I've been thinking about how much the success of an online or social media research project depends on a solid process. The process should be repeatable for a variety of situations, scalable globally and never sacrifice respondent engagement.
Lately, I've been explaining the ins and outs of the process I've used over the last several years.  There's so much to learn by comparing processes with others - or even talking through the process with other research practitioners.  Inevitably, inefficiencies or areas for improvement become apparent.

A few tips that I love to share:
1. Avoid one-off questions through informative front-end emails.  For example, at the end of the study I used to get a bunch of emails asking about incentives.  Now, I send an email at the end of the study to all of the respondents that includes all of the relevant details related to incentives.  I don't think I've had a question since.
2. Online studies are only as good as the activities themselves.  I plan on spending more time and effort perfecting online activity guides than I do in-person guides because there's less flexibility once the study has launched, compared to in-person guides.
3. Give  respondents a heads' up on what they'll need to complete activities that day.  Will they need a camera?  A sketch pad, markers and a camera?  I want respondents to be able to sit down and complete activities without breaking their flow up.

What are your online study process tips?

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