There has been tremendous excitement over the many online and mobile research methods that have emerged in the last 5-10 years.
This excitement, however, hasn’t obsoleted the traditional research methods, such as face-to-face focus groups. Indeed, traditional research methods still are as valid, effective, and widely used as ever.
There are many instances in which traditional methods provide tremendous advantages over online and mobile methods. For example, face-to-face focus groups allow researchers to viscerally feel the nature and magnitude of a participants’ emotional reactions, or to gauge the palpability of a group dynamic.
Traditional methods also serve as an effective counter-balance for those research departments that are heavily biased toward online and mobile research methods. Periodically reverting to traditional methods serves as a way to directly reengage with the market. It also serves as a good check and balance against any biases that online and mobile methods might generate.
The traditional research methods that we utilize include face-to-face focus groups, individual interviews, shopalongs, intercept surveys (using an iPad), in-person ethnography, in-context behavioral obsevation, and paper-based surveys.