"Are MROCs [Market Research Online Communities] the next big thing in market research, and will they eventually take measurable share from traditional qualitative research?"Sentient Services has been working in online qualitative for a few years now through asynchronous bulletin board focus groups. While you give up a lot in moving away from a face-to-face interaction (body language, vocal intonation, etc.), in an asynchronous online group you have a lot of different strengths.
- Less time restraint – respondents have more time to think, they can look up notes and do “homework” assignments. Additionally, we can let side conversations go and see if the tangent provides additional insight
- Broader coverage – asynchronous participation means that respondents aren’t locked into 6-8pm ET, making time zones a non-issue. This translates to breaking down some geographic boundaries.
- Bigger groups – we’re not limited to the capacity of a conference room, meaning that we “seat” at least 12 participants per group (vs. 6-8 participants in a traditional group).
What are your thoughts on MROCs? What other evolutions do you foresee in the research industry?