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10 Best Practices to Fast Track Your Qual

Scoot Insights shares 10 of their Best Practices that allow teams to conduct agile qualitative research without compromising depth or quality of insights.

By Katrina Noelle and Janet Standen

We at Scoot Insights answer core business questions efficiently and effectively with agile, iterative, collaborative, qualitative research. We’d like to share 10 of our Best Practices that allow teams to conduct agile qualitative research without compromising depth or quality of insights.

  1. Set goals collaboratively and narrow in on one core objective
    • To propel research forward in an agile manner, scope creep must be resisted at all costs. Center your team on their primary reason for doing the piece of research, namely, the key business decision they will make based on the insights.
    • We recommend scheduling an internal objective alignment session even before briefing your research partner. Use this session to get input from the key stakeholders and understand the following elements that will impact your research design:
      1. Timing of decisions to be made based on the research
      2. Deliverables that will help you make those decisions
    • If other objectives start to be added to the project consider giving them their own fieldwork or expanding the timeline for the original one.
  2. Use experienced & immersed moderators
  • If you are looking to make business decisions quickly you need research partners who can be efficiently briefed on the objectives and roll with iterative development to the stimuli, discussion guide, etc.
  • Choose moderators with experience in your product category and chosen research methodology. This is not the time to train internal staff to moderate.
  • Ensure the moderator is comfortable with iterative materials and on-the-fly updates during the fieldwork.
  1. Maximize stakeholder involvement throughout
  • Immerse your team early in the research objectives and parameters.
  • Ensure they are actively involved in the fieldwork; give everyone a job/role.
  1. Integrate iterative design
  • Be open to changing materials. Be ready to change concepts, stimuli, and discussion flow as you learn throughout the qualitative fieldwork.  Once you hear enough helpful feedback on one version of your idea, integrate it and test that iteration, and so on.
  1. Use back to back, time-efficient audience sessions
  • We pack our research days, scheduling back-to-back mini group discussions over the span of an 8-hour workday. This allows us to hear from many more participants than traditional research scheduling.
  • Each participant has more airtime and a more intimate environment in which to share their opinion.
  • Another benefit is that the presence and time commitment of the behind the mirror team is fully maximized.
  1. Real-time synthesis by backroom facilitator
    • Leverage dual moderators: one in the front room and one in the backroom. This will help your team with your real-time iteration while providing live qualitative synthesis of the insights.
    • In the back room, be sure to use good old-fashioned flip charts, sharpies and post it notes to capture customer and team member insights in the moment.
  2. Conduct immediate debrief workshop
    • Inspire shared understanding by bringing cross-functional teams closer to customers.
    • Invite your backroom moderator to conduct a group discussion on the themes and take-aways from the day with team attendees.
  3. Merge client expertise and audience learning
    • This is where your expert moderating team steps in again to help. They can help your internal teams to identify competitively distinctive and customer-driven actions.
    • They can also keep the voice of the customer in the room during the debrief session, merging customer insights with client expertise.
  4. Report out in 24 hours
    • We recommend moving quickly to synthesize the interactive debrief workshop conclusions and action items into a short and sweet report.
    • Be sure to circulate this summary the following day to help the team take action quickly.
  5. Integrate insights into action quickly!
    • Work with your stakeholders to integrate the insights directly into business action. Keep the insights top of mind as your clients move through the decision-making process. If you’ve kept them engaged in the research process throughout, they should be more easily able to integrate those insights into business action.

Often qualitative learning is seen as a slow-moving, costly part of the research process. Consider revving up your qualitative insights so that business decisions can be informed by valuable in-depth qualitative feedback more efficiently and effectively.

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One response to “10 Best Practices to Fast Track Your Qual

  1. Hi Janet and Katrina,
    I love these practical ideas – they are winners and I see opportunities to integrate them into many different types of research projects.
    A challenge I have run up against is how to get clients really immersed in the research process. Often, I find they are busy with other concerns, and leave it to me to proceed as I wish. I’m wondering if you have noticed any criteria for which types of clients can be moved to engage, so as to give you a head’s up from what to expect. Is this kind of engagement typical with most of your projects? I think stakeholder kickoff’s can be a good starting point, and I’m wondering if you’ve any techniques or processes to keep them engaged (apart from the fast report out).

  2. Great question! We do include our client engagement parameters during the proposal phase, ensuring expectations are set up front. We also find it helpful to give each client participant an assignment/role during fieldwork so that they are more accountable for their participation. The perk is that clients regularly report back on how much more they enjoyed the research activities when they are involved like this and it helps spread the word around their team.

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