Why Does Face-to-Face Research Matter?


So why does it matter?

In the current environment of mobile surveying and social media listening, quick research is perhaps becoming easier and more accessible for smaller companies and brands alike. However, it is sometimes easy to discount the value of involving people in direct face-to-face discussions, to really get a feel for their experiences and insights into their behaviour.

It is especially important to ensure the younger generation are still involved in these ways. They are human beings, even though they may be attached to their devices for most of the day.

Traditional qualitative research appears to be becoming less favoured and deemed as too expensive or even experimental, when online work is cheap and at times – an effective way of gleaning responses to certain questions. Of course, young people spend a lot of time on social media. BUT they also like the opportunity to talk about their experiences in a way that involves the physical signs of being listened to and understood.

Talk or device research
Traditional or new?

I feel that research should be a process of engagement – of actively involving participants in a subject and really exploring their reactions to this. In my opinion, this is only ever fully achieved through human interaction. As a researcher, I find that multiple methods work well with young people – online focus groups are another example of a useful addition to a researcher’s toolkit, but the real richness and all-important context and narrative comes directly from real-world discussions with them.

Do you agree or disagree with this post? Please comment below.

Don’t forget you can join my hashtag hour #SpeakUp4Youth every Wednesday 1-2pm GMT to discuss issues affecting youth and research approaches.




  1. Excellent paper as it is pointing to very accurate realities.
    As a matter of fact the more we advance in our e-citizenship realities, the less there are occasions where people can meet face to face in person (I mean not the physical connection but the personal as in a human speaking to another human). Conceding to automated processes to communicate has a good side but it comes with a pervert aspect: dehumanization of what we do the best : communicate!
    Of all the researches I conducted and contributed the ones that were mostly successful were when we involved the ethnographical aspects in our interviews.

    Thank you for this very valuable sharing of ideas and motivational thoughts Laura!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comments Michel! I’ve also had the same experiences, in that the most richly illustrative and insightful data has come from ethnography and spoken narrative. Surely that is part of who we are – the real projection of the ‘self’…


Add your comment here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s