Methods

Qualitative market research is our core business. Over the years MaResCon has been more active in offline projects but we are also quite experienced in online qualitative research.
The first step is to define the objectives & the expected results. These must be clear before the most appropriate method can be chosen. In the pre-proposal phase we will challenge your research request in order to recommend the best possible format.
 

Mirror Sessions

What

These are purely internal sessions, organized around a specific theme, eg customer service, Brand DNA, internal communication...

 

When

Ideally when tension occurs, processes are not streamlined, conflicting market approaches...

The sessions take ± 4 times.

 

How

we are going to work as projective as possible, using tangible / visual material (photo drawings, Lego® blocks ...) to avoid pure and sometimes hollow 'talking'.

 

Objective

The goal is threefold:

  1. firstly experience how the same theme is sometimes viewed in very different ways

  2. then retrieve which sources (real company data, own experience ...) one actually uses / on which ones one relies to have a certain vision / views / beliefs ...

  3. finally work towards a more aligned vision regarding a certain theme

 

Group discussion

Powerful when it comes to exploring & creating. It’s about bringing people together with the aim to energize the interaction between individual minds.

It is important to keep in mind that a group discussion is not a bunch of individuals talking. It is a cross-pollination of ideas between a number of people in order to go beyond personal constraints and surpass individual limitations.

Our approach takes into account a number of aspects in order to arrive at a productive and relevant group discussion:

 

Openness and transparency

  • Experience shows that the participants in a study are more motivated and committed when they have a clear picture of the goals and ambitions of the study. Research that lacks direction and that is based on a set of general questions, exercises and projective techniques quickly loses all sense of purpose.

  • At the start, every group is clearly informed of the programme and the logic behind the discussion flow.

Preparation

Two critical observations with regard to group discussions:

  • The balance in a group is often compromised because the participants are not at the same level (e.g. some people are more actively involved in a topic than others, some participants have superior verbal skills, some are more spontaneous and quicker to respond whereas others need a bit more time to think).

  • Warming up to the topic often takes a certain amount of time.In order to get the participants on the same level as much as possible and avoid a long warm-up we often give the participants ‘homework’. In preparation for a group session they are asked to complete a number of small assignments designed to make them reflect on a number of things. The participants must turn in their ‘homework’ before the start of the session. For the moderator, this approach offers the additional advantage of getting to know the group a little before the start of the actual session.

Practical:

  • MaResCon has a wide network of research facilities (with two-way mirrors and/or a CCTV setup) both at home and abroad. The chief research cities in Belgium are Ghent, Antwerp, Brussels, Liège and Namur.

  • MaResCon has also its own modest research space, suitable for in-depth interviews, smaller group discussion and informal meet & greets. An internal television circuit allows the client to attend the sessions.

 

In-depth interview

The IDI is the best possible way to look into the customer’s heart. It is an intimate and safe setting where all cards can be put on the table.

The IDI is a very powerful tool. It is a very personal way of challenging the customer and looking him/her in the eye. But getting it right, getting to the bottom of things take a great deal of skill.

Our approach takes into account a number of aspects in order to guarantee a productive and relevant interview:

An interview is a conversation

More than simply asking questions, a good interview should be a two-way street with room for the interviewee to ask questions of his/her own. Compared to the group discussion the structure is not so dominant. There must be room to conduct the interview at a pace that suits the interviewee and explore aspects that he/she finds important.

Trust and respect

It is crucial for the interviewee to feel comfortable. Both the environment and the interlocutor must instill confidence and a sense of security.

Don’t be afraid to challenge

It is only human that people do not have an answer right away and/or need some time to get to the point. It is not surprising that the participants want to keep their cards close to their chest. It is almost normal to make contradictory statements from time to time.

As an interlocutor, the moderator must be very alert and not afraid to point this out (in a non-threatening way). Experience shows that interviewees appreciate this critical attitude. Also, they often recognise that this helps them reflect more deeply and accurately on the questions and their relation to the topic.

 

Practical

As far as location goes, MaResCon offers four interview options: at a central location, at the interviewee’s home or workplace, by telephone or via Skype. Each of these four methods offers specific advantages. The final choice often depends both on practical and content-related considerations.

 

Triads & mini group

These two variants on standard group discussions allow us to get more depth in the topic we want to explore.

Very valuable to explore a topic, both in depth and in breadth. An individual is often too limited to think in broad terms whereas a group is frequently too dynamic to go in depth.

Practical:

  • MaResCon has a wide network of research facilities (with two-way mirrors and/or a CCTV setup) both at home and abroad. The chief research cities in Belgium are Ghent, Antwerp, Brussels, Liège and Namur.

  • MaResCon has also its own modest research space, suitable for in-depth interviews, smaller group discussion and informal meet & greets. An internal television circuit allows the client to attend the sessions.

Online Focus Group

Our online approach is purely chat-based, without webcam. We truly believe in its value when used for a specific purpose (see also Packaging Design).

 

We do not view the online group as a practical means to overcome geographical or convenience issues. We opt for this kind of session because an online focus group delivers proven added value for very specific research question.

 

Offline setting

An offline setting (e.g. group discussion) is a very complex set of interactions and influences. In fact, it is more complex than you could ever imagine. When it comes to packaging design, communication concepts, etc. offline assessment can easily turn into chaos and the stimuli get lost in the process.

•       Everyone interacts constantly with each other (explicitly and implicitly).

•       There is no specific attention for the stimuli as such, they get sidetracked due to the interaction between the participants and the moderator 

•       There is no focus at all

•       The moderator holds a central position and is therefore very close to the stimuli

• if not attentive he/she can even influence or determine how a packaging design is perceived by the way he/she introduces the proposition, the mock-up…

Online setting

When researching a very specific stimulus e.g. a packaging, a visual … the online setting (text chat only and no webcam!) is pure and unbiased (see also the Heinz Case). 

In our online setting the research topic is front and centre, it is the only focal point.

Every single participant is directly connected with the stimuli that we want to research and explore. The research universe is clearly defined and consists solely of what we are interested in: the stimuli and the response. Although the moderator is important, he/she is more of a facilitator rather than a concrete part of the research universe itself.

Practical:

 
Your challenge

You’ve screened our methods and you feel none of them will properly address the issue you or your company are struggling with?

Customer centricity is key to us too! Let us know what research question you are struggling with and we will come up with a research plan to help you. And remember, trying to capture the problem in a small briefing is often already part of the solution.

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