What is a bulletin board? A case study
The Web has profoundly changed the way we communicate and share information and has opened up new scenarios for companies wishing to listen to the opinion of consumers. Online market research is becoming increasingly important as it offers the possibility of simultaneously involving people distributed in a very large geographical area.
Among the most used tools there are bulletin boards and communities, methodologies that come from the USA where, in order to take a snapshot of the country, it is necessary to use this type of techniques that allow to cover a wide geographical area.
An online bulletin board offers results comparable to those of multiple in-depth personal interviews, but conducted simultaneously. It has numerous and varied applications, a very wide geographical representativeness, allowing to compare at the same time the metropolis and the small town, urban area and rural area and it has an obvious advantage in terms of costs.
The online forum is a very valid methodology in qualitative research but it can also be used in quantitative research, being an extremely versatile tool.
The technical support
Respondents, selected according to criteria that depend on the topic under discussion, are invited to access the bulletin board through personal access credentials.
The moderator moderates the discussion from their “own room”, inviting the participants to express their opinions and interacting with them individually for an adequately long period of time. The interviews carried out with this methodology are quite “dynamic”, in the sense that they can be modified over time allowing the integration of user-generated content.
The moderator, or even the client, can at any time access even partial results of the discussion by downloading the transcripts.
Bulletin board participants, generally around 15-20 (but in some cases they may be even more) after being recruited, must log in on a platform, where every day, the moderator posts the topic to discuss or the task that the participants will have to carry out. The bulletin board can be open for several days and can function as an open journal, or the moderator can drive the discussion by posting a task from day to day, such as uploading a photo, video or answering questions.
The comments of each participant are visible to the moderator who asks questions, relaunches and investigates the answers.
The bulletin board advantages
There are many important advantages:
- to reach a wide and varied geographical area
- to interact with relatively large groups for quite long time and asynchronously
- the high degree of interaction with each participant
- cost effectiveness