Online research – the ideal partner for sensitive topics

Online research – the ideal partner for sensitive topics

We often talk about the benefits of depth and breadth achieved by online research. From online surveys, to panels and communities, it’s about helping us get closer to people that other methods might miss.

Anonymity allows people to feel comfortable

From farmers in remote cattle stations, to housewives from the Gold Coast, online communities have brought people together in virtual spaces to help companies and organisations understand the bigger picture. Now anyone with an internet connection can have a say, not just those who can come and meet us face to face.

As well as who we reach, we sometimes overlook the impact of how powerful the anonymity of an online community can be. A recent project we conducted with Australians with a range of Anxiety Disorders really brought this point home.

Most of the online community members would have found it impossible or challenging to attend a focus group with a group of strangers, in an unfamiliar environment.

But more importantly, if they had, the level of intense personal detail shared would have been nothing compared to what was shared online.

Positive experience despite challenging topics

We were privileged to shape and guide conversations covering extremely sensitive and challenging topics, and were thrilled when our community members fed back to us on the positive experience of sharing their thoughts, with both us and with the other community members.

The combination of a safe and anonymous discussion space, connecting with others with similar experience, and the freedom to share when and where it suited them, in as much or little detail as they liked, made the online community an ideal approach.

So, for marketers and other clients who need to understand topics that are sensitive in nature, from health care, social issues, taboo topics etc, we fully support harnessing the power of an online community.


Photo Credit:  deepwarren via Compfight cc

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