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Surprise! The Projector is Always Running, Even in Online Bulletin Boards

February 11, 2011
Projective Techniques in Online Bulletin Boards

Face to Face vs. Online Research

An assumption among many seasoned moderators, who have cut their teeth on qualitative research conducted face to face, is that you can’t really get the same in-depth or richness of response from online bulletin boards.

And that assumption holds true for some types of research.  But in a recent study  designed to learn why a certain name brand retail store, new to a particular area, was not doing well, online one-on-ones conducted through BlogNog provided clear direction as to what the new store  needed to do to compete more effectively.

Projective Techniques Used

Two projective exercises were used in the study:  One was to write a eulogy at the “funeral” of one of the more successful stores in the category, and to assume that the newly introduced store (which was the subject of the study), would be its replacement.  The other was to personify the brands of the store in question compared to key successful stores in the area, imagining them as actual people.

What We Learned

The findings provided vivid and detailed reactions based on the combination of direct and less direct questioning.  The projective exercises were key in confirming and extending the findings.  Both elicited rich feedback and insight in ways that did not appear to be constrained by the online approach.  Further, there were advantages:

One advantage was evident in one respondent’s initial response to the brand personality exercise:  “I don’t think of stores are people.”   But when she came back the next day,  she completed the exercise.  Apparently, she needed more time to convince herself she could do it.   Another advantage was the luxury of “thought time” for coming up with follow-up probes and additional questions, without the time pressure of “real time” interviewing.

BlogNog:  Easy to Use

Another issue with conducting online research is that there is generally a learning curve associated with online platforms.  BlogNog is unique in that it requires virtually no training.  It operates the same as blogs or Facebook, with respondents and the moderator seeing the same set-up.  If respondents are asked to upload an image, for example, they see the familiar “browse” button used in many other applications.  In short, it allows the moderator to focus more on how to understand and learn from respondents with less technical distraction.

The question before conducting the study was whether online bulletin boards could deliver output enriched by the effective use of projective exercises.  The answer is that it did.  And doing it through BlogNog made it just that much easier.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 4, 2011 1:22 pm

    Nice to meet y’all!

  2. leajoscontals permalink
    February 14, 2012 5:50 pm

    Molto interessante idea

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