Summary of Qual-Online: The Essential Guide

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  • Applicable


Like the best travel guides, this user-friendly manual offers key information as it entertains. Qualitative-research consultants Jennifer Dale and Susan Abbott provide practical tips, case histories and an illuminating examination of methodologies for managing online qualitative research. They assume you can already handle the related analytical challenges, so they focus on the nuts and bolts of conducting the research. The authors could have paid more attention to potential technological glitches and to how written responses differ from spoken answers. That aside, getAbstract recommends this manual’s guidance to anyone doing online research. If that’s your purpose, this is your book.

About the Authors

Jennifer Dale and Susan Abbott are members of the Qualitative Research Consultants Association (QRCA). Dale leads InsideHeads LLC, a marketing research firm. Abbot heads Abbott Research + Consulting and co-founded the Think Global Qualitative, an alliance of master qualitative researchers.



Online Qualitative Research

Online qualitative research is a well-established practice with a body of proven techniques. As soon as people started communicating online, researchers began studying them. The earliest researchers used “Bulletin Board Systems” to interact with participants via “typed text.” Research in the “business-to-consumer market” expanded slowly because fewer people had online access.

To perform online research, you’ll need to make a variety of decisions:

  • “Synchronous or asynchronous” – Live events are synchronous, which gives them immediacy. Asynchronous studies extend over time, so more people can take part. Such a study lets you collect more data at low cost using phone chat and protects responders’ anonymity. However, chat and synchronous studies provide you with immediate feedback.
  • “Individual or group” – Certain tools allow you to interact with one person or many people, for example, combining individuals’ journal entries with the results of group discussion.
  • What kind of interaction? – Decide how you and your research participants will communicate with one another. Your options include...

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