Along with mobile research, mixed-mode data collection has become a hot topic within the market research community. Mixed-mode data collection refers to collecting research data in a variety of “modes” or methods. For example, to reach your required population you may need to reach respondents in a variety of ways – both online and onsite.
Online distribution may take the form of online surveys (viewed on a PC) or mobile-web surveys (optimized for mobile browsers), or both. Additional online methods can include mining social media content as well as building survey panels (virtual focus groups). One drawback to online surveys are that you and you population must have an Internet connection to distribute and access the survey.
Onsite surveys on the other hand involve distributing surveys via mobile survey devices – the one exception to this is the traditional paper survey (interviewer with clipboard). However, paper is rapidly being replaced by mobile survey devices such as PDAs, Tablets, iPads, etc. (CAPI – Computer Assisted Personal Interview). There are many advantages to using survey devices and I discuss this in my other blog entries – suffice to say, survey devices provide interviewers with multiple advantages and efficiencies not to mention real-time data and reporting access. One word of caution – when shopping for a mobile research vendor – be sure that the survey app can run offline as well as online – you don’t want your survey to be dependent on an Internet connection to function!
Let’s dig a little deeper into the onsite survey distribution options that are available. We’ve already mentioned the mobile research options for CAPI above. However, with the advent of mobile phone survey apps – there is an entirely new distribution opportunity for market research companies. We can look at this from a B2B and B2C perspective. The B2B mode – where companies use their own mobile devices running mobile a survey app and use the device as a data capture device (it could be an iPhone, iPad, etc.). On the other hand, a business can promote free survey apps for their customers to download and use to participate in feedback. Additionally, touchscreen survey kiosks can be placed at the point-of-sale, point-of-service, point-of-care, depending on the nature of the business and capture spontaneous real-time customer feedback. The advantage to using unattended survey devices like survey kiosks (whether they’re mounted in a kiosk, or on a table-top, wall or aisle) is they require no staff involvement and often can be monitored and maintained remotely.
Certainly there are advantages and disadvantages to each and every modality for capturing survey data, we at Opinionmeter are dedicated to supporting all these methods so that our customers can deploy surveys in a truly mixed-mode environment – “Author Once, Distribute Anywhere”. Among the many advantages to this type of feedback platform is you can create and deploy the same survey to a variety of destinations and also all your survey data resides in one database – whether that data was captured using paper, online, onsite, mobile-web or mobile app.