Qualitative research is a powerful tool to increase the value of survey results. SSRS deploys a range of techniques such as in-depth interviews, focus groups and online bulletin boards after survey data have been collected to help us gain a deeper understanding of the research topics, to provide valuable context behind the survey data, and to help us reflect the data more richly by sharing respondents’ stories and underlying perspectives.
With our expanded in-house qualitative practice, post-survey qualitative research can be added at a range of different price points.
SSRS Sees Four Core Advantages to Adding a Qualitative Phase after a Survey is Conducted:
1.Unique access to targeted sample. Using survey responses as the source of sampling for a qualitative research phase, we purposefully select a subset of survey respondents who fit agreed-upon criteria, such as people who answered questions a certain way, or people who fall into specific demographic subgroups (or a mix of both). This provides us with a unique and cost-efficient opportunity to gather deeper information from individuals who would otherwise be challenging and costly to identify and recruit. This targeted sampling is meaningfully more cost-effective and time-efficient than would be a ‘fresh’ qualitative or quantitative study aimed at getting more information from specialized populations of interest.
2. Ability to collect insights and feedback on specific questions of interest or new questions. Post-survey qualitative research can be used to gather additional context for respondents’ answers. This can be particularly helpful to understand the results of specific survey questions by exploring how respondents interpreted the questions and how they decided on their answers.
3. To understand unexpected findings. A third effective use of post-survey qualitative research is to explore unexpected or puzzling findings. Follow-up interviews give us the opportunity to understand what respondents were thinking as they answered the questions and to hear the contextual stories behind their answers.
4. To better reflect diverse populations. Survey samples are often unable to produce enough data to fully understand the perspectives of narrower, diverse segments of a population. Using the targeted sampling approaches described above, we can follow-up with specific respondents to help illuminate their voices and deepen our understanding of their lived experiences.
When Conducting Post-survey Qualitative Research, here are Some Important Considerations SSRS Emphasizes:
Sampling Strategies: Driven by the research objectives, we carefully design eligibility criteria for the qualitative follow-up. For example, if the research objective is to explore puzzling findings, the sampling would be driven by specific survey responses. If the objective is to gather a contextual understanding of a particular population segment, the sampling would focus on demographic criteria. Or, both strategies could be used concurrently.
Timeline Tactics: In planning for a post-survey qualitative study, we are thoughtful about the timing of re-contacting survey respondents. As time elapses after completing a survey, interest can decline in participating in a follow-up study. Ideally, we aim to conduct the qualitative phase shortly after survey responses are received. However, there may be situations where we purposefully delay the follow-up research, in which case, we develop special strategies to motivate participation.
Incorporating Insights: Data triangulation between the qualitative feedback and survey findings strengthens the overall validity and reliability of the research by corroborating information from different sources. We present findings in an integrated way, enhancing statistical survey results with illustrative quotes and thematic findings from the qualitative research.