How Qualitative Researchers Listen, Explore and Gain Insights from Social Media, InsideHeads CEO Reports

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Today’s social media channels provide an unlimited number of virtual soapboxes for people to express whatever they may be thinking, feeling, seeing or doing. When analyzing this "big data," researchers mull over the charts and graphs provided, but what do all these click counts and sentiment scores really mean?

Finding Bouquets of Consumer Insight in Acres of Wildflowers by Liz Van Patten + Jennifer Dale InsideHeads CEO

Finding Bouquets of Consumer Insight in Acres of Wildflowers by Liz Van Patten + Jennifer Dale

Social media gives me a whole new way of listening to my client’s competition

While elevator definitions may vary, social media research boils down to the act of observing people’s behavior online. While quantitative researchers harvest this data field with large plows, aggregating and calculating every comment, post and blog, qualitative researchers are taking a different approach. Researchers skilled in finding the "why" are instead carefully assessing the landscape, sorting out the weeds and selectively plucking rich insights in advance of their studies.

Liz Van Patten of Van Patten Research and Jennifer Dale of InsideHeads interviewed nine research pros who are effectively listening and deriving keen insights from this vast garden of conversation. From "netnography" to standard observational research, skilled pros are diving-in and finding what they need.

While online searches can be ad infinitum, the authors found one key to successful social media listening is knowing both where to start and when to stop, as well as acknowledging that social media listening is just one piece of the qualitative research puzzle.

Social media is also limited to recording what people say or do, not what they think or feel, or even don’t do. The authors touch on several other interesting challenges that the qual research experts identified.

To read the complete article, visit the MRA website

The Market Research Organization (MRA) publishes Alert! magazine quarterly, checkout archived issues on the website.

About InsideHeads
InsideHeads is a full-service online market research company since 1998 with experience developing surveys and platforms for moderating online focus groups.

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Margaret Pero
InsideHeads, LLC
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