Bulletin boards


Bulletin boards (also called forums) continue to be a popular qualitative method worldwide due to their versatility and the rich results they can generate. Boards often involve 15-20 pre-recruited participants. One has the flexibility to start with a large number, break them into subgroups, or invite selected participants to engage in further activities online or offline.

Discussion Board participants typically commit to log in once or a few times per day over the course of a few days or longer, to participate in an online experience moderated by one or more skilled qualitative researchers. Participants can be from a mix of geographic locations.


Researchers can set up different sections of a board in various ways:

  • One-on-one mode — where each participant communicates with the moderator, but does not see or respond to comments from other participants
  • Blinded or masked mode — where participants must post their own comments before they can see and reply to what other participants have posted
  • Group mode — where all participants can see and reply to each others’ comments in a threaded discussion

    Moderators can give each participant access to an entire board, or just certain sections

    Clients can log in to watch a board unfold, and confer by posting comments that are visible only to the client/research team. Teams can also have their own private work area within a Discussion Board platform for planning, collaboration, and debriefs.

    Now Discussion Board platforms often include webcam/video capture, audio/voicemail capture, and mobile input tools that can incorporate even more facial expressions and body language.






    Skilled qualitative researchers can obtain great depth from boards, since participants can take their time to provide thoughtful responses