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.
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.