Adopting Online Qualitative Research in Business

What is Online Qualitative Research?

Qualitative research is a method of research that is used to collect information about a persons’ thought, motivation, and attitude towards an advertisement or a product. Although it can be conducted in person, many businesses are increasingly adopting online qualitative research method.

The approach of online qualitative research provides some significant advantages to companies by saving their time and reducing cost when compared to other methods.

This method also provides great convenience to participants, observers and researchers. Participant sources can also be achieved through online sources such as the company’s database, surveys and panels.

Types of Online Qualitative Research 

* Online Focus Groups 

Online Focus groups are similar to traditional focus groups. A moderator interacts with six to eight participants using a text chat interface for about one hour. Focus group discussion typically involves in-depth conversations on a specific topic.

Moderators can share images, video or audio content with participants. However, the benefits of conducting online focus group discussions are that it is easy to include participants and also cost-effective.

Online focus groups are great for participants too because they can participate in them from anywhere and the moderator can post questions online to selected individuals or the whole group when discussing sensitive topics or clarifying comments.

* Bulletin Boards or Discussion Forums 

Bulletin boards and forums differ from focus groups as they can run over days or weeks and the moderator keeps adding questions fielding new questions at varying times and responding to individual answers.

Participants can check the board for new content as they get automated messages through SMS, Emails or mobile push notifications whenever the content is updated. They also tend to receive alerts when a moderator replies to any comment.

Bulletin boards can handle multiple forms of responses and have tools and question formats to make the research more engaging and interesting. This provides researchers with new ways to explore topics.

* Online Interviews and Video groups 

Several software platforms offer capabilities to conduct online qualitative research through live chat and video-based discussions both one-to-one and in the group.

Real-time video groups have more benefits with love chat groups as it offers immediate interaction and also allows a moderator to watch participants’ non-verbal responses.

Technically these can be conducted over apps such as Zoom or Skype and these options work well to one-on-one discussions or in-depth interviews on discussing sensitive topics when conducting your B2B research.

* Mobile Ethnography 

Another new innovative market research technique is mobile ethnography. This combines traditional ethnography with mobile research. This method allows researchers to understand customers values, beliefs and rules.

The rapid growth of technology in this digital age and the increasing adoption of smartphones provides researchers with the opportunity to conduct qualitative research through a mobile device.

Mobile ethnography platforms are great to keep an account of users online activity and understand their preferences and feedback through their mobiles. This allows researchers to gain a deep understanding and insights into consumer experiences.

 * Chatbot Groups 

Chatbot platforms engage participants in research discussions using chat interfaces. These platforms resemble Facebook and Whatsapp in the look and feel. Most of them are just a new interface for scripted discussion or a survey.

Chatbot approaches help researchers to engage a younger audience and enhance online qualitative research by adding another dimension of questioning to an online community.

Benefits of Adopting Online Qualitative Research in Businesses 

There are many benefits of adopting online qualitative research in Business market research with the advancement in online qualitative technology. 

Some of the advantages of using Online Qualitative Research for Market Research are as follows:

* Combining quantitative Research 

Integration of quantitative techniques with qualitative is often used during an online quantitative survey. This allows researchers to find eligible respondents for a further qualitative probe. The combination of online qualitative and quantitative tools offers businesses and researchers the best of both.

 * Cost-Effective Method

Online qualitative research is the most cost-effective method and increases the potential savings of the company. Since it is an online method, researchers need not spend their time and money on travel. There is also a huge potential to reduce cost by accessing low incident targets with the help of online qualitative tools.

* Real-world Scenarios

The capability of online qualitative tools to incorporate real-world occurrence enables respondents to report on their experiences of that particular situation. This increases the potential and reach of online qualitative research.

 * Expanded Geographical Reach 

With the help of online qualitative tools, researches can access a large group of voluntary respondents. Unlike selecting respondents from surveys or databases, researchers can find respondents from distant geographical locations who can simultaneously participate in surveys with the help of online qualitative tools.

Therefore, online qualitative research can be a powerful tool when used in correct situations. When researchers choose the correct methodology that suits best their research objectives and targets its potential can be vast.


There are various advantages of adopting online qualitative research in business market research. They result in more insightful findings when used correctly with the right methodologies and are also cost-effective. Online qualitative tools and software are geared for market researchers to use with consideration and careful application