In the era of COVID-19, the world is beginning to see what it is like to be an online researcher. Working from home and webcam meetings are now the norm. Trying to have civilized conversations with adults while their children, pets, and spouses run amok in the background is a daily occurrence. While market researchers are used to these arrangements, the rest of the population is finally catching up to us.
As the news has shown in the last couple of weeks, this transition from in-person interaction to virtual meeting has been anything but smooth.
With the rest of the world beginning to understand many of the challenges market researchers have been facing for years, we are ahead of the curve. Online research has helped us to understand how to work with people who are unfamiliar with virtual settings. With that in mind, we wanted to offer a list of best practices for webcam which can be applied to market research or any professional setting.
At Ready to Launch Research, we have developed a set of guidelines that we share with participants in webcam interviews and focus groups. We communicate these expectations in advance of the interviews and at the outset of each session.
Best Practices for Webcam Interviewing
- Set up a webcam in your home or office and be sitting up for the duration of your interview. Make sure that you are not in motion (such as during a commute) or lying down.
- Be fully dressed during your interview and know that you are being observed by people with whom you are not interacting with directly.
- Please refrain from eating, smoking, or texting during your interview.
- Be in a quiet space; turn off televisions and other background noise.
- Have adequate lighting so that we can see your face, avoid having bright lighting behind you that will give an excessive glare.
- Have headphones ready that have an attached microphone.
- Ask other members of your household to be in a different room so that there is no noise interference
- Remember that bandwidth can be limited. If you are getting a slow connection, you may need to shut off streaming, gaming, or anything else that is taking up bandwidth in your home
- Put pets in a different room if possible to avoid distractions.
- Place your camera strategically so that your whole face is visible but there is adequate space between you and the screen.
Distributing these guidelines ahead of time has made the practice of webcam interviewing smoother for everyone as they get their bearings in this new world. We recommend giving it a try.
About Jenny Karubian
Jenny Karubian is the CEO of Ready to Launch Research. She is an expert in qualitative research and has been conducting online qual since 2011. Contact Jenny if you need a moderator for your online qualitative studies. Jenny@readytolaunchresearch.com