In the last decade there have been a number of potentially significant technological innovations in qualitative marketing research. This study examined how recent technological innovations in one area - that of multimedia analysis - offers new scope to market researchers for the collection, analysis and presentation of qualitative data.
The Observer XT 12 allows market researchers to do the following:
record groups, depths or "real" behaviours (the latter can be time-sampled);
use pen- (private eye), hand-held- or fixed concealed cameras in the field for unobtrusive recording or accompanied shopping or consumption;
mark or code interesting behaviour remotely on the video as it happens;
analyse videos of qualitative interviews or behaviour afterwards on small notebook PC's (possibly while nomadic qualitative researchers are in transit);
add interpretation in the form of notes (text) and/or codes on screen next to the "video action";
search for codes or text - which takes less than a second in a one hour video because the video, text and codes are written onto CD discs;
use a variety of qualitative analytical tools to search for relationships within the data to check hypotheses;
easily compile video data for client presentations (in minutes, not hours);
use for training new qualitative interviewers (the best of the best moderators).
Using this type of technology should ensure thorough analysis as well as increasing the probability of identifying those elusive "nuggets" of insight. The system is, of course, open to abuse and misuse and should be seen as an aid to the qualitative researcher for certain types of projects. It should not be an analytical straightjacket nor a replacement for thinking!