At Accelerant Research, we are all-in on leveraging webcam-based interviewing for online qualitative research studies. We’ve been producing faster, more cost effective, and higher quality insights for our clients for years using methodologies such as:
For one-on-one interviews, and even dyads/triads, webcams can be fantastic, but the more participants you layer into a group discussion, the more disjointed the conversation can become. When sitting in the same room, moderators are adept at keeping the nonspeaking members of the group on focus, but when all parties are remote, it becomes incredibly difficult to manage outside distractions, work around technical glitches, and keep participants from ‘multi-tasking.’ A great real-world analogy is watching cable news broadcasts. The more pundits that are added to a split-screen panel, the more maddening the conversation becomes. In many cases, the intent of news networks is to have as many people as possible shouting over one another at the same time, but that is hardly ideal for a research setting.
When designing a qualitative research study, we recommend asking a fundamental question upfront…To Group or Not to Group? That is, do you have compelling reasons -- such as the inclusion of laddering or other group-based creative exercises -- for conducting your research in a group format? If so, then traditional in-person focus groups would be the recommended approach. If not, then fight the urge to conduct group interviews, and instead focus your attention on one-on-one webcam interviews, where each individual’s ‘story' can be provided without the influence of others.
If in-person focus groups are not an option, and webcam group discussions are a must-have, then the smaller the better. Consider dyads (two participants) or triads (three participants), and proceed with great caution beyond that.
We invite you to reach out to the team at Accelerant Research to help with your next online (or even in-person) qualitative research study. Simply give us a call (704-206-8500) or send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). With our support and guidance in participant recruiting, technology/logistics/platform management, and even moderating/full-service support, we can help you deliver successful and impactful qualitative insights.