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Combining In-Context Interviews and Video Diary™ To Uncover Business Building Insights

In-Context research is one of my favorite forms of qualitative research because insights are uncovered where people live or where they make purchase decisions. The insights collected with in-context research can be more robust versus focus group findings as more of the whole person and the whole picture can be seen. In using in-context research, we have either designed studies the "old fashioned" way of in-person interviews or leveraged technology via Video Diary where a web cam and a web portal provide a peek into the lives of the respondents.

In the last two years, we have combined both methodologies, in-person interviews with Video Diary interviews, in order to provide in-depth insights for a client in the gaming industry and one in the beverage industry.

In these two studies, the majority of the respondents participated in the Video Diary leg of the research. After the Video Diary portion, we added 6 to 12 additional in-person interviews to allow first hand experience for the client team and to compare the findings between the two methodologies.

In this issue of the Insight, I would like to discuss how we have combined both methodologies to deliver consumer understanding for our clients.

About Video Diary™

Video Diary is a unique research methodology that equips your target audience with web cams (stationary or wireless) so that you can see and hear them respond to research questions posed by a qualitative research consultant. With Video Diary TM, respondents can also use their mobile phones to collect video and upload for viewing.

Video Diary is asynchronous, so each day respondents log-in to a web portal at a time convenient for them to see a video of the moderator asking the questions. Respondents, using their web cam or mobile phone, can record their answers to your questions.

Video Diary can also be used for self-ethnography. Respondents can be given homework assignments such as "show us how you make a cup of coffee" or "show us what brands of cereal are in your pantry."

The research team is able to view the video responses of the panelists as they come in by logging into the web portal.

Research studies tend to last 2-4 days but can be customized to meet your research needs. Follow-up questions can be sent to respondents, and they can be given the option to respond via text or by video.

Comparing In-person Interviews vs. Video Diary

To be clear, in-person Interviews and Video Diary can both deliver keen insights into consumers' lives. Both methodologies work well in an in-home and in-store context. The table below summarizes the advantages and disadvantages of these approaches.

Benefits of Combining Methodologies

Combining both of these methodologies gives clients geographic diversity via Video Diary as well as creating an opportunity for the client team to have face-to-face contact and more in-depth probing via in-person interviews.

In the project we conducted for the client in the beverage industry, there was a hypothesis that there could be regional differences among the target audience. To explore this, we recruited a good mix of respondents from different regions to participate in the Video Diary portion of the research. Then, we scheduled in-person interviews in two key markets. One market was where the client was based to allow their team to participate in the interviews.

When the Video Diary interviews are conducted first, the in-person interviews can be used to probe deeper and to test some of the hypotheses formed from the Video Diary interviews.

As a researcher, I have a slight preference for the in-person approach because of the ability to go where the conversation leads. Yet, I do appreciate the efficiency and broad reach across geography that can be gained by leveraging Video Diary.

When thinking about your business questions or research objectives, it does not have to be solely one approach or the other. We would welcome the opportunity to help you with your next in-context research project to help you better understand your target audience.

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