7 things to consider when planning your research

Written by Philippe Dame • Posted on December 8, 2016
Ad-hoc or short term communities provide you with a lot of flexibility through the robustness of the tools available on platforms like Recollective. Using these platforms, conducting agile qualitative research can quickly become your ‘go to’ methodology, but it’s not without challenges. Considerations to balance against that flexibility are questions about the appropriate types of activities, how much you should be asking participants to do on a daily basis and the length of time your project should run. Getting these things clear in your mind when scoping and designing your project are crucial. If not, there could be cost implications, timing implications and there is potential for participants and your own researchers to be stretched too thin. We've run thousands of projects on Recollective and had a chance to observe what works and what doesn't. Here are a few tips based on that experience to help guide you:
  • Try to keep the activities and tasks you assign, including follow-up questions, to no more than 30 minutes from the participant daily; 45 minutes – MAX!
  • When thinking about the time frame for an activity and the following probes, try not to drag it out for days. It’s best to release an activity or task, ask your follow-up questions and then close that out as quickly as possible. It keeps the conversation moving, prevents confusion and gives the community members some boundaries to work within.
  • Ask your recruiting partner to monitor the project to make sure everyone stays on track and follow up with anyone that isn't. This is also something Recollective can handle for you – just ask us how.
  • While these first points might make it sound like the total number of tasks doesn’t matter...it does. We don’t want to overwhelm the participants with too many distinct tasks, so while it makes sense to group tasks by topic – try to consolidate them into no more than 15 distinct tasks per day.
  • With that in mind, you’ll need to consider the types of activities you give them. Obviously a daily journal and a poll are very different and require different levels of commitment from the participant. We are happy to take a quick look at your guide and provide estimates on how long we think each exercise might take.
  • Also, if you have a task that needs to be completed away from their home, it’s a good idea to let participants know in advance so they can plan their time accordingly.
  • It might be worth considering building in a few extra days. First, to allow people some time to warm up to the platform and get comfortable with you and the technology. Second, to give them a chance (and you) to catch up during the middle of the project. Lastly, an extra day at the end to wrap things up.
Our system allows you to apply points to certain activities and participants respond well to receiving recognition through badges. So consider how that can be used to reward and encourage participants for timely and thorough responses. We’ve got a team of experts at your disposal! Let us know how we can help.

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