Rise of Online Qualitative Research: An Evolution Not a Revolution

The marketing research industry is changing. No one can dispute that fact. But it’s not cause for panic, as Michelle Finzel of Maryland Marketing Source points out in this post on Quirk’s. Take, for example, our business. Here at 20|20 Research, we’re known for our robust but easy-to-use online qualitative research tools, but we also still run some very successful focus group facilities (in Nashville, Miami and Charlotte). See? We didn’t shut those down as soon as online qualitative research entered the picture.

Finzel says it well: “The eruption of new methods does not mean that our other ones just get covered over, buried and left for dead. On the contrary, not only do telephone interviews and in-person focus groups remain research methodology staples, they only stand to benefit from advances in technology and communication.”

In other words, research is an evolution not a revolution. The rise of one new method does not mean the elimination of all others. Research is continuing a process that it always has, evolving into better and better methods.

So don’t fear the change, embrace it. I love this quote from Michelle: “Until researchers have the opportunity to step out there and risk moderating their first online bulletin board group…such methodologies will remain scary, distant and ‘next-gen’ instead of ‘now-gen’ to many of us.”

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