The speed at which business and marketing decisions are designed, implemented and measured is becoming increasingly fast, putting pressure on qualitative research projects to be completed in very short time- frames with pressure to reduce budgets. Time-pressured participants are, in many cases, unable to travel to research facilities. In addition, client observer schedules can have competing demands. International research has unique challenges associated with geographically dispersed participants living in different time-zones and language barriers. As multi-lingual researchers attempt to bridge the gap, the lack of local language expertise results in communication barriers. With medical studies and other sensitive topics, there are greater demands for participant anonymity and confidentiality.
As a result, new digital qualitative methodologies have emerged to begin to address these and other challenges. Based on the ESOMAR Global Market Research 2018 industry report, 43% of qualitative research is conducted using online methodologies (i.e. online qualitative, mobile qualitative and online research communities) worldwidei. The 12 Latin American countries that provided spend by research method indicated an average of 23% of qualitative research conducted online. The total spend on online methods worldwide is estimated to be 6% of total spend, or $2,750 million USD. The 2018, the Q3 and Q4 Greenbook Report on Industry Trends (GRIT Report) reported that respondents see automation as the most significant game-changer in researchii. Webcam-based interviews and mobile ethnography continue to experience a high rate of year-on-year growth at 5% and 3% growth respectively, yet there remains a significant portion of the industry who have yet to adopt these methods. The following paper provides recommendations and best practices for those looking to adopt or expand their use of digital qualitative research and automation of processes.