Qualitative Research Consultants Association (QRCA) - QRCA Views Magazine, Summer 2020

QUALITATIVE RESEARCH CONSULTANTS ASSOCIATION 57 Catalyst for Change As entire countries went into lockdown, industries have suffered from mandated shelter-in-place measures. Restaurants, hotels, airlines, cruise lines, entertain- ment, and other businesses were forced to make changes as more consumers enacted in-home isolation practices. Online or app-based orders for home deliveries and parking lot pick-ups, we all hope from an employee wearing a mask, became our norm. While some families have learned to cook new recipes together or even cook more at home, others find themselves eating (and enjoying) more canned foods and frozen entrees, which have pandemic-friendly expiration dates. Health and hygiene products—from brands such as Purell, Clorox, Lysol, Kleenex, 3M, Johnson & Johnson—have helped to provide a strong feeling of preparedness in personal/home health care. Global outbreak or not, shoppers who venture out of their homes appreciate having ready access to hand sanitizer stations when washing their hands isn’t an option, such as after they’ve shared shopping carts and baskets. When the front line lacked personal protective equipment (PPE), fabric suppliers like Jo-Ann Stores and entire communities of sewists—me included— banded together to sew washable masks and other PPE, sharing patterns and new video tutorials. Individuals with 3-D printers have created devices to relieve the constant tug of elastic on nurses’ ears and created new parts to repair life-critical machinery. 2020 saw the rise of individual consumers stepping up to fill in the health care gaps where products did not exist or were not adequately available on the shelf. There is an independent “can-do” spirit that defines small businesses, Kickstarter, Ebay, or Etsy, which has inspired individ- ual households of creators to take action. Risk Reduction with Digital Fieldwork Most business travel and in-person meetings were halted as of April 2020, but it is possible that we will be operating with increased cleanliness and continued social distancing measures in place by the time this article is published. As we navigate through the uncharted waters of COVID-19, potentially facing a second wave of the virus, we can predict that client teams will be asked to minimize team travel and exposure to the disease as we move forward. As an alternative, there is increased interest in digital qualitative research. There are several big-picture scenarios to consider moving forward. Let’s start with a simple extension of traditional techniques. Live Qualitative Video Streaming This scenario is best suited for a modera- tor who can travel or is living in the market of interest. The moderator can conduct live interviews at a market research facility or other venue, while the rest of the team observes from a private video streaming platform. Here’s what you need to know: • Live-streaming services, such as FocusVision, are standard equipment in many focus group facilities. • Services such as Curator or Hark Connect are also providing portable solutions at non-traditional research locations. By Shaili Bhatt n Senior Research Director n C+R Research n Chicago, IL n shailib@crresearch.com