Although there is a wide range of definitions of what constitutes a poll, from a long survey to a vote, ballot or election, I’ll be talking about polls here as a quick stand-alone question, which can be single or multiple choice. Polls are like a piece of micro-quant, quickly planned and launched for the researcher and super-speedy to answer for respondents. In particular, they work well on mobile because they are simple and quick to answer.
Quick PollMR is one of the longest serving tools in the FlexMR tool kit and over time has proved itself to be one of our most flexible tools. It works really well alongside other tools and in fact it is in combination with other tools that Quick PollMR is at its most powerful. Because a poll is by definition so simple, you often need some other information to cross-tabulate with your results to dig deeper, for example segment information contained in DatabaseMR, survey questions, forum comments or even the results of previous polls.
1. Starting a discussion
Polls can be a great way to kick off a forum discussion, especially if it’s a topic for heated debate. Just ask your poll question, show participants how their vote compares to the overall results then link to a forum thread for further discussion. Participants can argue for the way they voted with passion and feeling and question others on why they voted they did, generating healthy and constructive debate.
2. Simple sampling
If you are running an event, a live online discussion or an in-depth project a good way to initially capture participants’ attention is by posting up a quick poll to gauge their interest or assess their suitability. You can then simply filter based on their responses to ensure you direct further activities to the most relevant panellists.
3. Show of hands
Polling is incorporated into Live ChatMR using the ‘show of hands’ facility. This enables you to post up a quick poll to gauge consensus on a topic just as you would ask participants in a face-to-face focus group to raise their hands in response to a question. This acts as a stimulus to then prompt and probe further on the issue and also to stimulate further group discussion. It’s also a great way of injecting a quick take home finding for stakeholders into the group.
4. Show and tell
To gain quick feedback on creative, a TV or internet advert or a document, you could simply link from a poll to the stimulus and ask participants for initial reactions. Polls are also really useful for quickly testing recall of adverts – shortly (and I’m talking minutes) after a TV advert has aired for the first time, why not post up a poll which says ‘Have you seen our new ad?’, then follow it up with those who recall the ad by asking what they thought of it.
5. Synchronised feedback
An emerging and really interesting use of polls is to track opinion live during events, something in which Bing Pulse is leading the way. This allows respondents to react to simple ‘pulses’ every few seconds to track reactions as the event unfolds. You can also run polls during events, adverts and livestreams to capture more data.
6. Snappy decisions
Finally, if you have a continuous community with members logging in to take part in various tasks and discussions you have the ideal platform to be able to capture opinion on those quick questions which don’t require the depth of a full research project and which are simple for respondents to visualise or answer. If you need to give participants a bit more info, you can ask them to read more and view images before they vote. Examples might be “Thinking of the locations of tills in our store, would you prefer one central location or multiple tills located around the store?”, “Would you pay 5p for a carrier bag?” and so on. You can then easily follow up with forum discussions or run more detailed activities if you decide you need more depth.
Those are our 6 easy ways to integrate polls into online research. How do you integrate polls into your online research? Let us know in the comments below.
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