When conducting qualitative research fieldwork, it’s important to have a virtual backroom. As a specialist in qualitative research, you are aware that participant conversation is only one aspect of project participation that needs careful supervision. Utilizing a virtual backroom with video and text during the focus group is one approach to benefit from the client observers' or project stakeholders' significant contributions to the qualitative research process.
What is a backroom?
Backroom is a set-up that allows clients to watch focus groups or in-depth interviews without the subject being very aware of it. Customers can communicate feedback or additional inquiries using chits in a real backroom or chat in a virtual backroom.
How client backrooms are beneficial?
- Client backrooms are a part of the ethical practice of qualitative research, wherein respondents are informed about being observed. However, respondents can be more relaxed when they do not constantly witness client presence. Client backrooms helps the moderator, researchers (if different) and client remain connected in the course of discussion. When clients are in the backroom, they're usually more relaxed and open to conversations. Clients can discuss amongst themselves without hampering the focus groups discussion process. As a researcher, this is also your opportunity to get to know your clients better on a personal level, and learn more about their likes and dislikes within research process and understand their point of view.
- Backrooms allows the client to see the research in action and get a better understanding of the process. This can be helpful in terms of understanding the dynamics of the research and how it works. It can help to build trust between the researcher and the client. Seeing the research being conducted can help to build trust and confidence in the researcher and research process
- With no additional active participants in the meeting, respondents can feel more comfortable sharing their experiences. Moderator can gain valuable information about their participants' thoughts and feelings by asking open-ended questions and listening without the risk of respondents getting distracted
- Backrooms can also provide an opportunity for the client to debrief with the researcher after the research has been conducted. This can be beneficial in terms of getting feedback on the research and also in terms of understanding data with client perspective.
- It is crucial to make sure the focus group discussion and the backroom are kept entirely distinct.
- Nothing is more scary to a respondent than to log into a video meeting and see more spectators who aren't participating in the conversation. The constraints on chat and video connections prevent those miraculous moments of collaboration in the backroom when the observers are connected to the main online focus group session.
- Additionally, being able to see the participants' faces and hear their voices while actively participating in the research process allows observers to develop empathy and obtain deeper understanding than they would by merely reading a written report.
- Overall, client backrooms can be a valuable asset for any qualitative research process. They can help to increase the quality of data collected, and they can also make the research process more efficient and enjoyable without being conscious.
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