Exploratory Research :

Behaviour observation, online diaries, online consumer and user communities, online bulletin boards

By observing patterns of behaviour, it is possible to draw conclusions about the underlying motives. Consumers can also document their own behaviour in the form of online diaries and scrapbooks, focusing on specific topics. However, focusing attention on a specific topic can influence the spontaneity of responses.
We may also spend time with people in their workplace, such as construction workers or dental technicians, to observe as many different processes and tasks as possible that would normally occur during a working day. Even if we are not able to observe all the tasks that people might have to execute, the processes we observe will give us a complete picture of the working day.

Online diaries & communities

The strength of online blogs, diaries & communities is that they can be used for almost any topic in both consumer and B2B research. They are particularly suitable for idea generation and evaluation, product testing, ethnographic topics and understanding target groups.

Survey instruments are tailored to the questions being asked. For example, questions that are discussed in the group can be combined with questions that are discussed individually between the participants and the moderator.

The process is interactive yet asynchronous so that respondents can follow the rhythm of their lives. Participants can post their answers, pictures and short videos to illustrate, for example, their products and how they use them. We capture not only opinions, but also behaviours! The research is truly ethnographic.

But watch out, this method is not suitable for target groups that are less tech-savvy, such as craftspeople. It also requires a certain level of commitment from participants as they will need to contribute to the blog/community on a regular basis. So be prepared to have to remind some participants to post more often.

Asynchronous online communities (MROC), online bulletin boards

Participants can organise their time with complete flexibility and still benefit from the interaction and excitement generated by differing opinions in the community. Sharing confidential issues with like-minded people is a great way to open up and gain valuable insights.

For example, we were really surprised at how openly women in the menopausal years talked about their complaints and discomforts in an online community.

Professional moderation is key

At Séissmo, experienced moderators ensure that the blog is dynamic and engaging - without being boring, and always with the caveat that the way the question is posed should NOT steer participants too much in a particular direction.

In fact, the majority of answers should be spontaneous. Depending on the detail of the answers and the ability of the participants to put their answers into words, the moderators will ask further questions if necessary, without interrupting the natural flow of the conversation.

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