Bulletin Board Research in an Online Community

We recently used our online community software to complete a small-scale, three-day Bulletin Board online discussion with 20 participants we recruited from our 15,000-member online panel, SaskWatch®. The purpose of the online discussion board was to look at how effective a three-day online research project could be. In the first two days, we asked participants about their favourite sports teams and their preferred way of watching television and movies while on the third day, we probed for feedback on the actual bulletin board, itself.

This online format proved to be an excellent way to gather input from participants, as well as create an engaging experience that will keep members participating in further research projects. This ongoing participation is different from traditional focus group participation.

Online-Communities Bulletin-Board Insightrix-Research Insightrix-CommunitiesFocus groups are great when in-person product interaction is needed. An example of in-person interaction would be a company producing a product on which they want feedback, in regards to shape, design, texture, weight, etc. Another example would be if a company or restaurant wanted to do taste tests.

In instances such as these, the focus group is imperative. However, in other instances where in-person feedback is not necessary, focus groups prove to have their limitations. They are very time-intensive, and often involve travelling to various locations to gather feedback.

These time and travel costs can grow exponentially, and the amount of input and time participants can commit are limited. This is where online communities prove to be invaluable. Online communities allow participants the opportunity to join in and participate, regardless of location or time of day.

The findings from this project showed the online bulletin boards are flexible, and help steer research based on objectives while allowing the ability to probe for deeper insights as the research progresses.

Convenience was another key finding. Participants were able to log into the bulletin board at a time that was convenient for them, allowing time for reflection that ultimately produced better quality research.



Unlike focus groups, the bulletin board research project proved to be very cost-effective with a fast turnaround.

Partha Roy is a senior research executive at Insightrix Research® and he was the lead researcher in charge of this bulletin board project. Partha began working for Insightrix Research last year and, prior to that, he worked for Millward Brown as an associate account director, both in Singapore and South Korea. 

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