The Move To Digital Qual Research

Louise Principe
Apr 26, 2022

Digital Qual, aka remote qualitative research, isn’t new but it has evolved significantly over the last two years. Keeping up with the technology and finding the right vendor can be frustrating. The best solution is to choose one provider who can cover all your digital needs.

The shift from traditional to digital

With technology growing in leaps and bounds over the last few years, conducting real-time research anywhere in the world went from a dream into a possibility. Digital methods now have the opportunity to mimic in-person techniques and leverage technology to improve them.

For example, the last few years have led brands and agencies that traditionally relied on in-person methods to look upon online communities as a potential data source. In addition, according to the recent GRIT report, there has been a 12% and 20% increase in the use of digital qualitative methods such as in-depth interviews and focus groups, respectively. The advent of mobile Insights apps has expanded the digital qualitative options available to researchers.

Advantages of Digital Qual 

Direct access

Online qualitative solutions give researchers near-constant access to their participants no matter where they are located. Engagement won't be an issue even with participants spread out across the globe. Technology makes it possible for the researcher and their subjects to connect and engage wherever they are – whether at home, eating out, going to the store, or doing errands.

Extended research periods

One of the most compelling reasons to do online qualitative research is that it enables the researcher to maintain continuous engagement over long periods, giving it an upper hand over in-person research. As opposed to short, one-hour sessions over a couple of days, researchers can still interact with their respondents outside the confines of a research facility for months on end. This often results in having a deeper understanding of your participants’ perspectives and the relationship they have with brands or products that they use as they normally go about their lives.

Broader reach

Whether your participants live in different regions, are very busy, or have medical issues, remote qualitative research provides many recruitment benefits because of its ability to overcome obstacles such as time or location. Global screening and recruiting is now more possible than ever, enabling participants to provide feedback on their own time rather than a facility’s.

Familiar environments

Responding to answers through a phone or desktop screen offers participants a layer of security and comfort that is hard to replicate in a face-to-face setting. Digital solutions make it easier for moderators to cover topics that might be sensitive in nature because people can be more open and honest with their feedback in familiar surroundings.

Expedited timelines

Did you know that data travels through the internet at speeds of up to 200,000 kilometers per millisecond? If you’re looking to get fast and actionable insights, using digital tools for your qualitative research might be your best bet. Coupled with the possibility of a larger pool of prospective respondents, your recruitment time can be drastically reduced – resulting in quicker study execution.

Digital Qualitative Research Tools

Webcam interviews and focus groups

Online interviews and focus groups are essentially the same as their in-person counterparts but without the hassle of logistics. With a webcam and a stable internet connection, researchers can gather qualitative data from respondents who could be located anywhere in the world. With features such as stimuli upload, screen sharing, video recording, private chat, remote client observation, and crystal clear audio, webcam discussions can even outperform traditional in-person sessions in data collection.

Mobile Ethnography

A mobile ethnography app takes a smartphone and turns it into a digital diary for capturing data on the go. This tool can be utilized for ‘homework’ assignments, screening respondents, or an asynchronous study. Through a moderator portal, researchers can capture text, audio, photo, and video responses from respondents, view app activity, send follow-ups, and leave comments. This allows them to gather rich, authentic, and in-the-moment feedback to include in their research.


Combining hybrid quant/qual research methodologies through online focus groups lets you collect both the ‘why’s’ and the ‘what’s’ to gain more profound and comprehensive insights. Adopting a tool specializing in mixed methods research brings in more powerful insights backed by quantitative data. This allows for more agile and robust data collection and analysis that is critical in accelerating your speed to market.

If your project design requires face-to-face and digital participation, employing a digital qual tool with hybrid capabilities, such as CCam® focus, is the perfect solution. With a 360° omnidirectional camera, this tool offers an excellent view of everyone on one screen, whether they’re participating remotely through a live stream or in person. This ensures that no detail is missed, and everyone gets the chance to share their feedback.

Multimedia curation

A multimedia management and curation tool is essential for storing and organizing data for better discovery and analysis of online qualitative findings. Bookmark important points, clip videos, create a highlight reel and generate editable automated transcripts. These features enable researchers to condense their data into compelling and informative market research reports.

Choosing the Best Digital Qualitative Provider

Civicom Marketing Research Services has the digital qualitative toolset and experience to handle whatever your project demands may be. Whether your research is taking place online, in-person, in-home, or on mobile, we have the appropriate service to not only get you better insights but also to help you share those insights within your team and with key stakeholders.

Go Digital with Civicom® Marketing Research Services

Consider working with the global leader in delivering web-enabled solutions for your market research projects. The Civicom suite of market research tools includes online IDI and focus group facilitation, a mobile insights app, an online community platform, a qualitative multimedia curation tool, plus other solutions that will cater to your research needs.

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