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June 2011

A Snapshot of Hybrid Online Methodologies

A Hybrid methodology is otherwise known as mixed-method or mixed-mode research techniques. There is no limit to its definition of approach and applications. For example Hybrid methods can range from combining quant-qual / qual-quant approach, or can be through undertaking online and offline research together, or via mixed methods of collecting data such as phone, face-to-face interview, internet, etc. This article explores what a hybrid online approach may offer market researchers.

The rapid adoption of online technology allows researchers to now leverage web-based research tools in order to obtain valuable consumer insights in a timely, accurate and cost-effective manner. Integrating both quantitative and qualitative research techniques can uncover deeper findings and allow researchers and clients to gain access to a wealth of data and insights for effective decision making. To strategically frame your research design, you need to determine your research initiation stage, whether it is the early stage of hypothesis testing, the final stage of development or for post-launch activities.

Let's get a quick overview..

Quant-Qual Approach

Qual-Quant Approach

    • The process begins by fielding an online quantitative study and then extracting a specific segment for a further in-depth discussion.
    • Survey participants can be categorised via the real time survey. Where a respondent qualifies for participation in an online discussion group, they can be further segmented into different groups for detailed discussion, be it one-to-one or an open-style forum.
    • Recruited participants can join the discussion from any location at any time. A wide range of topics can be progressively added and the overtime session will remain open until the required sample has been interviewed.
Real-Time / Interactive Focus Group
    • A survey component can be incorporated together with the selected discussion topics (pre-loaded before the group starts) or a follow-up online survey can be added at the end of the group.
    • For quantifiable assessments, an online survey is constructed based on the findings from the qualitative segment.

Overtime Focus Group / Bulletin Board

    • As the group progresses, a quick survey or poll can be deployed, or even an ad-hoc survey quickly created based on the qualitative findings derived.
  • For an exploratory study, online diaries can be included to gain a greater understanding of re-occurring behaviour and usage patterns.
Key Benefits
    • Recruitment can be implemented concurrently for this two-pronged approach, thus saving time and cost.
    • Offers reliable data that is statistically representative (representation of population or based on target profile), with comprehensive reporting and insights
      • Use of an engaging and interactive online environment facilitates richer and more thoughtful respondent dialogue.
    • Projective techniques can be used to unearth rational and emotional associations and drivers, rather than relying on simple open-ended responses.
    • Depending on your research objectives, the project can run concurrently as a single phase or subsequently (i.e. deploying an online survey after the qualitative segment); with quick turnaround time and ease to implement.
    • Uncovering holistic insights armed with empirical data
      • Real-time brainstorming ideas and in-depth understanding can empower researchers to make timely collaborative decisions with their clients to define the research scope and objectives for the quantitative stage.
    • Delve in deeper to explore the consumers' minds and hearts and further add context and validation to the quantitative findings.
How do we use it?Some examples of studies
    • Segmentation studies where greater insights are required to understand the differences between specific segments and the population as a whole.
    • Communication studies. For example, advertising studies, concept testing, packaging evaluation, etc. Essentially painting a clearer picture for the test stimulus or clearly identifying the consumers winning preference, diagnosing message takeout or dissecting the message with executional elements for effective marketing strategy and positioning.
  • Brand equity research with exploratory or observational research assessment such as ethnography.
    • Idea generation research for new product development, product improvement or repositioning, needs assessment, testing niche market, etc.
    • Usage and attitude studies; to diagnose the changing consumer behaviour and the underlying attitudes that fuel their needs. An extensive survey is then conducted to analyse their demographic and psychographic profiles, validate and segment their behaviour.
  • Satisfaction studies; to explore and understand the perceptions and expectations of your target group, measure key performance indicators and identify opportunities for improvement.

What does the future hold? The evolution of online hybrid methodologies can offer unlimited customizations in research design that meet your research objectives and project requirements. These sophisticated and flexible research applications can lead to richer insights and thus giving clients a more informed decision to promptly execute their business strategies. With increased competitive market pressure to deliver fast and reliable findings, researchers will continue to utilise the mixed methodologies so that they can add more value to their research services, as well as meeting their clients' needs in a cost effective and timely manner.

If you would like to discuss how we can assist you to develop a Hybrid online methodology, please call John Leahy on +61 2 9262717 or Megan Kuek on +60 3 62013885.

By Megan Kuek

PR & Communications Manager

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