Online Communities: What Characteristics Should Participants Have?

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Online research communities are becoming one of the most widely used qualitative methodologies. However, as it is a relatively recent methodology for some companies, it can still generate some uncertainties when it comes to implementation.

In this research tip, we address one of those uncertainties: What characteristics should participants in an online community have?

Characteristics Participants Should Have in an Online Community

We detail the 3 characteristics that should be inherent to every member of an online community.

Digital Savvy

Due to the nature of Online Communities, participants should be familiar with online environments. They don’t need to have advanced skills, but they should be accustomed to using applications and web platforms.

At We Are Testers, this digital habit is naturally learned by our panelists since all the studies they collaborate on with us include digital methodologies. And all of them are developed on applications and platforms built by us and fully oriented toward user-friendliness for panelists.

Well Segmented

Participants must faithfully meet the needs of the target audience of each community they participate in.

In other words, if they need to be buyers of a certain product category or from a certain socioeconomic level or familiar with a certain brand, etc.

We must ensure that, based on their profile, participants have the ability to provide relevant information according to the specific objectives of each research.

At We Are Testers, we already know more than 300 variables of our panelists. In any case, in each recruitment for online communities, the pre-known variables that affect the profile are reconfirmed, and inquiries are made about those that may be necessary if that information is not available in advance.

Strong Written Expression Skills

Although online communities may have activities to be completed using other formats, such as uploading videos or audios, most tasks to be performed by participants will be written. Therefore, it’s crucial that individuals recruited meet certain requirements in their written expression.

But how can you know that a person is good at expressing themselves in writing, will be thorough in their responses, and will delve into nuances and details?

For We Are Testers, it’s relatively easy to know in advance whether a panelist will function optimally as a participant in an online community.

Through the thousands of open-ended responses that panelists provide in our quantitative surveys, and by using Artificial Intelligence, we at We Are Testers identify how extensive and thorough a specific individual’s responses tend to be when they have to express themselves in writing.

As a result, we have built a ranking that scores our panelists in terms of their suitability to participate in an online community. This way, we can guarantee that all participants in our qualitative methodologies will make valuable contributions and help obtain relevant insights.

Another essential element for obtaining all the insights pursued in research through an online community lies in the moderator’s skills and knowledge.

In the next article in this research tip category, we will delve into the keys and tricks for moderating an online community optimally.

Stay tuned for our publications!

Update date 21 November, 2023

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