Characteristics of a Full-Service Online Bulletin Board

There is a wide variety of online community platforms available for market research studies so it’s not difficult to find a platform and put it to use. The question is, does the one you are looking at offer the features and services that your research project needs? Remember, finding the right online market research tools for gathering and analyzing data is essential in a study. An example of this are online bulletin boards which are not just mere internet forums or message boards. The problem is, how can you know if you’ve found the perfect platform for your study? Simple: identify all of your needs and hunt for a full-service online bulletin board provider that’s willing and capable to support everything.

characteristics-full-service-online-bulletin-board-1The most important feature is, of course, its data collection capability. Online bulletin boards are known for their diverse, engaging activity options. Look for a provider that’s willing to customize and incorporate the specific data gathering strategies you have in mind. For example, close-ended questions might force the respondents to answer what they think the researcher wants to hear but open-ended questions, on the other hand, allow them to freely consider their own thoughts, experiences, ideas, and feelings. This also encourages collaborative work, as it gives the respondents the opportunity to chime in and discuss the topic as a group.

Online bulletin board studies should also be able to handle diary and journalist activities for basically any topic - shopping, pharmaceuticals, etc. These platforms should ideally be flexible enough to be tailored specific to the researcher’s needs since some studies require daily, weekly, or set interval responses, while some give respondents time and space to reflect and write entries at their own time.

You can also utilize online bulletin boards to showcase stimuli through tasks like image and video reviews - even without the presence of the moderator - as if they’re reacting to social media posts. This enables respondents to carefully think and analyze topics as opposed to giving “first thing in mind” answers.

Online bulletin board segmentation capabilities can also be helpful within studies conducting cluster analysis - exploring insights of groups of people with similar characteristics compared to different groups. Respondents may be clustered based on nationality, age bracket, gender, interests, or even medical condition. This allows researchers to figure out how people respond to the subject matter in relevance to their profiles.

Laying out all activities to the respondents at once may induce bias as respondents will just answer whatever question they would like to finish first. Uncoordinated data gathering is a threat to research findings. The ideal solution to manage this kind of threat is Question masking. A full-service online bulletin board must be capable of placing you, the moderator or researcher, in-control of the activity plan, requiring respondents to answer prerequisite questions before moving on to the next. Being able to track and manage participation/completion rates and leader boards is a huge plus too! In addition, sequential activities are recommended to discover highly compelling insights and perceptions. Additionally, a full-service online bulletin board has robust MROC analytic tools that the researcher can further use when it comes to aggregating all the data.

A unique feature you can find in online bulletin boards is gamification. Among mobile and web-enabled marketing research tools, past research shows that gamification is the best method for driving participation rates using rewards, incentives, challenges, and recognition.

For individuals or companies who don’t have the required resources, some market research online bulletin board providers can even offer recruitment services to do this internally. Look for a provider with global expertise that will allow the study to branch out to its widest reach as well as supports multi-language studies with accurate translation services, thus, eliminating language barriers and avoiding cultural misunderstandings.

Another factor that can help safeguard your study is using a platform that offers dedicated service and support - one where your platform provider loads your discussion guide, sets up respondents, and shows you how the platform’s functionalities and moderator tools work and how to make the most of them.

To top it all of, look for a provider that can complete supporting tasks such as exporting data to Excel and Word transcripts, and translating discussions in local languages. Make sure to use a platform that’s accessible by many devices and reformats itself to a variety of screen sizes, orientation, and operating systems as well.

Get the most value from online community studies and check out our full-service online bulletin board solution, Civicom Chatterbox. Let us know what you’re looking for at +1-203-413-2423, and we’ll custom-tailor your online bulletin board study to reach its greatest possible potential.

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