Compelling Conversations – Asynchronous vs Synchronous Research

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Learn why and when to choose asynchronous qualitative research in our newest Compelling Conversation webinar, featuring Vice President of Mobile Qualitative Ross McLean, and Chief Strategy Officer Isaac Rogers.

If you missed this quick, Compelling Conversation, watch the recording below. Thank you to all who participated – there were so many great questions, the team wanted to be sure you got your answers.

Q & A’s from the webinar:

What kind of things can go wrong with asynchronous research? E.g., participants not answering prompts correctly, etc.

The biggest thing is misrepresented expectations during recruiting. From a technical perspective, asynchronous is very forgiving, so tech issues aren’t really something we have to resolve. The biggest issue we have is a researcher recruiting respondents for, say, a five-day over-the-shoulder mobile diary, but then asking them to participate for 15 days. Respondents will immediately leave the study when the expectations are a mismatch, but as long as you are clear, that’s a very simple thing to overcome.


Any experience doing asynchronous research compliantly with healthcare audiences?

Absolutely; from healthcare professionals to patients and everything in between. It’s an excellent match for HCPs who enjoy the flexibility of participating on their schedule.


Does recruitment differ for synchronous vs asynchronous (if so how), and how do you mitigate for sampling bias?

Not really; it’s more a question of setting good expectations during recruiting. (If it’s a five-day online community, make sure that’s clear to your Schlesinger recruiters!). In fact, we can reach a broader sample with asynchronous methods


Describe your experiences with using asynchronous with multicultural consumer studies — language or cultural issues.

Historically, there were some challenges, but those were resolved many years ago. QualBoard and OTS are used in dozens of languages.


I have used QualBoard for many client projects and am a big fan. I just recommended QualBoard to help an employer get honest, in-depth feedback on the company’s DE&I program. So we will use handles to keep it anonymous, but just wondering if there are any other ways to sell the benefits of QBs for confidential employee feedback. Thanks!

Yes, there are extraordinary tools in the system for making things completely anonymous, even obscuring emails and PII from client observers. That’s a huge feature set we leverage for studies with high confidentiality issues.


Would there be a way to conduct asynchronous interviews?

Yes! A large percentage of projects are more diaries or 1:1 conversations between the moderator and the respondent individually. However, the moderator is really engaging dozens of people at the same time, they just don’t know it! The moderator is basically having a one-to-many conversation.


For self-documented asynchronous studies, how can we ensure that the participants share their initial reaction to the product/design (instead of successful task experiences after their learning curve)?

We have some tricks to help with that. We have a built-in concept-testing tool (QualLaborate) that is fully designed with online concept testing in mind and tracks things like first impression and other important attributes so you know you are getting the right data.


Classical qualitative research is still very much grounded on cross-sectional study designs. Seems to me that asynchronous qual research would allow conducting longitudinal qual studies (almost akin to ethnographic research, but maybe more focused) over long follow-up periods. Have you encountered any of these longer-term studies before?

We hold hundreds of long-term (more than 30 days) studies each year. It’s quite common to use our tools for weeks or months on end for exactly those reasons


Can OTS be used as a shop along for example?

OTS is pitch-perfect for shop alongs. (It was originally conceived as an ethnography tool).


Would you recommend QualBoard for messaging testing?

100%. We do thousands of message tests every year.


Does Schlesinger run the QualBoard or can we run it and just use the platform with our own panel? Is there an ability to approve comments before they get posted to panel??

QualBoard or OTS are both platforms you can use yourself, totally DIY, or we can provide help, services, and assistance to fill in any kinds of gaps you might have in your team.

We don’t have a comment approval process. In reality, that’s not a feature we really have ever found useful. You can, however, edit respondent posts.


I work for an agency that subcontracts moderators. Are there moderators out there who tend to specialize more in asynchronous work? The moderators we use tend to steer us away from this approach.

Over 3,000 moderators last year used QualBoard and OTS. We find most moderators who steer away are just unaware of the benefits of asynchronous. Over time, most experienced moderators make asynchronous the primary digital approach due to all the factors we discussed in the webinar. It’s very common for researchers for start with “real-time video interviews,” but migrate to asynchronous as they evolve and mature their practice.


Thinking if we have payers as panel we’d want to approve a pharma clients comments to payers before they get posted to board. I’m about to schedule a demo with Robbie. Is there a sweet spot for length of time for a QualBoard with payers/IDNs, execs?

There is a control for that. We can “mask” question responses on a question-by-question basis or even for the whole project.

We find for extremely busy executives, most projects benefit from a two to at most four-day window. It’s just hard to get much more participation than two or three days at a time. We actually leave the board open maybe five or six days. This allows people who might’ve had to skip a day or gotten behind to catch up.