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The Crowdtech Staircase

Enabling a deeper level of probing

Online qualitative research has developed in leaps and bounds over the past decade, and accelerated further due to the world’s increased digitization during the global pandemic. At Crowdtech we strive to stay ahead of the digital curve, improving and enhancing our online research offerings wherever possible.

Running online qualitative research communities is an important element of our work. Naturally, effective moderation is critical to the success of any qualitative community, and it is our role to ensure that moderators can carry out their jobs in this space as well as possible. Since qualitative research moved online, moderators have faced the challenge of how to probe deeply and effectively, without the benefit of traditional face-to-face interaction.

Enabling moderators to probe in real-time

To address this challenge, we have developed what we call our Staircase tool. This brand new tool -part of our community platform- enables customized smart-routing of questions in a survey, the main effect of which is to enable moderators to probe individual responses in real-time, before respondents move onto the next question.

Typically, probing would take place after respondents had moved forwards with a survey, meaning that answers to probed questions would be recorded ‘after the fact’. Now the Staircase options allows moderators to drill down on exact responses in the moment of response, enabling moderator and respondent to ‘walk the staircase’ together, getting into a deeper discussion on a certain point or topic.

It does this is by honing respondents’ focus in on each individual question rather than presenting them with a set of questions at a time. This allows for deeper concentration on each question, in a way that is customized to individual respondents, taking into account how they have answered the previous question.

Allows for drilling-down in qualitative research

A further benefit of the Staircase tool that’s part of our Community platform is that it effectively brings the logic of a quantitative survey into a qualitative panel. While the two branches of research have different applications and uses, there are elements of each that can benefit the other.

Quantitative research has long had the ability to drill down for greater granularity of research. On the other hand, qualitative research has typically been on a flatter level, set up for in-depth engagement, with the opportunity to probe to a second level on an ad hoc basis. The Staircase tool now marries the best of both branches together, enabling the drilling down process to happen in the qualitative space by utilizing the survey logic of quantitative research.

This has the result of being able to address any topic or assess any attitude or behaviour at a deep qualitative level yet following a structured, quantitative approach. Further, it allows respondents to only see their own answers and moderation correspondence. This results in keeping the conversation more focused on their own thoughts and perceptions, rather than being influenced by the rest of the community.

Online qualitative research achieves reach and depth

Often research solutions focus more on quantitative than qualitative work, due to the fact that the bulk of research sits within this space. At Crowdtech we recognise that both elements are vitally important to our overall offering to clients, and as such as aim to develop both to their optimal capacity. Therefore the Crowdtech staircase is one of the benefits our Community platform has to offer.

Digitization has opened up qualitative research in numerous ways, but also posed some difficulties to overcome. With the development of various tools and techniques – the latest being our Staircase tool – we are confident that our online qualitative offering not only matches, but truly surpasses traditional face-to-face alternatives. This results in wider reaching surveys, faster turnaround and now, thanks to the Staircase, greater depth than ever before.

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