Mobile qualitative research


With smart/ multimedia phones having flooded the market, the opportunity for using these to enrich inputs from respondents has dawned on researchers and these devices are being used in multiple ways to support the entire process. We would like to highlight all these usages together under this one head of mobile qualitative research .  

Mobile devices can be used many ways for qualitative research:

  • They can enable quick messaging back and forth between participants and moderators, using SMS texting, instant messaging, or email. Such exchanges can take the form of Q & A dialogues, more free-flowing conversations, notes, diary/journal entries, attachments, or moderator instructions, probes, reminders, and affirmations.
  • Mobile devices can also be used for more in-depth one-on-one dialogues using voice, voicemail, IM or email — including the types of mobile conversations people have naturally in their everyday work or personal lives.
  • Participants can use smartphones or tablets to access mobile apps or the mobile web to see and respond to on-screen questions or activities, and submit files easily.
  • Participants can also use their mobile devices to input information to an online forum or other central place, then log in later to engage in more activities or conversations, individually or as a group. Compared to handheld cameras or recorders, mobile devices make it much easier for participants to quickly capture and share photos, video clips, or voice recordings, by emailing them directly from their mobile device without the need to transfer them to a computer first.

    In the Indian context many of these smart phones do not have GPRS activated and few do not even have internet access otherwise, but the multi media capabilities of these phones can be still be tapped  by asking them to click photos, make videos which can be collected from them physically.