The power of cognitive interviewing and what qualitative research can learn from Behavioral Economics by Gina Henderson #Qual360 #QRCA


Live blogging from the Qual360 conference in Toronto, Canada. Any errors or bad jokes are my own.qual360

The power of cognitive interviewing and what qualitative research can learn from Behavioral Economics 
Gina Henderson, Director, Qualitative Research, TNS
  • People don’t always do what they way they are going to do
  • motivations and needs are only half the picture, we need to understand behaviour more holistically
  • BE has made popular th eideas  that people do not believe rationally, intuition and emotion play a significant role in our behaviors, choices are affected by context
  • our choices are endless, consumers don’t give the effort to consider every possible choice, they consider what is available as opposed to what they really want
  • how do qual and BE relate? people don’t say what they mean or mean what they say, behaviour is driven by unconscious, words are poor tools, intuition and emotion are important – that why we use projective techniques
  • this is still only part of the story
  • BE says behaviour is automatic and unthinking, satisfying vs maximizing, real choices of what people actually do, contemporary, adaptive unconscious, capable of learning complex information better and faster, use behaviour as an entry point
  • Qual says choices are outcome of enduring needs preferences and beliefs, ideal solutions, feelings, perceptions, attitudes, psychoanalytical view, raw, untamed, use meaning as an entry point
  • Consumers are ok with good enough because they don’t have time to make the extra effort for the ideal solution
  • diaries and ethnographies help us learn about current behaviours
  • Cognitive interviewing – from 1970’s, police used it a lot to get as close to the actual experience as possible, this is what qual researchers want also
  • Some people believe memory failure is a failure of retrieval, we just have to know the right codes to find it, triggers could be a memory, image, smell, taste, sound, emotion, location – like smelling cookies and remembering gramma
  • Don’t ask why – consumers will give you an answer but they can’t recall in a meaningful way, it’s not conscious
  • experiment – students rated jams the exact same way as jam experts ranked them, until the students were asked WHY, then the ratings were all different
  • Goal of cognitive interviewing is to recreate the context – anchor them in time, find out what else was going on at that time, what time of the year was it, ask them about the building, the atmosphere, then ask who was there, who did you talk to, what did you talk about. Can let responder meander, they don’t need to stay on topic, don’t interrupt them, allow a freeflowing conversation, a lot of silence is okay
  • Horlicks case study – a milk additive – why did people stop using the product – learned about user habits, the environments they were in, context of using product, where the product was available, learned about whether the product could be soy or dairy
  • BE is not the answer to everything, it’s another tool

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