Intro - Where's all the qualitative research amongst all the data?
In preparing to submit our entry into Kantar’s Information is Beautiful awards, the delvv.io research team called a huddle to discuss the importance of using visual cues, infographics and imagery in our qualitative research process and how it has changed our relationship with clients.
When we first made a push into visualizing our qualitative findings, our team could find very little references or examples to learn from. The quantitative world has been on the dataviz kick for many years now, thanks to companies like Kantar, but how do you translate raw text and quotes into pie and bar charts? Who could we learn from?
We had to start from scratch.
Finding and Creating the Story
Like most qualitative research processes, the team had to comb through the hundreds of pages of responses from our panel of creative professionals. As many of you know, this includes a process of thematic analysis, documenting recurring themes and relationships between them.
Traditionally, we had simply started the presentation of the findings with a summary slide outlining all the top themes, followed by the implications, but if we were to visually communicate findings this time, we had to deconstruct the themes and reassemble them to form a flowing story. As a result, the themes are mixed with other top-line findings and presented not simply as a keyword or phrase, but brought to life with icons, typography, charts and imagery.
Verbal expression-Not just a numbers game
It is unlikely that we will see a fully functional dataviz tool like the quant world currently is able to use to create interactive graphs and charts. There is simply, no clear way to predictably represent raw text in a consistent yet engaging fashion. We also are ardent believers in the value of qualitative feedback, and the power that quotes and turn of phrases, especially when communicating with clients. Therefore, we didn’t want to shy too much away from quotes, and in fact placed them in a prominent position toward the top of the infographic.
From percentages to trends
Though we always remind clients, we are working with small panel sizes of 30-50 professionals per project, we wanted to borrow some of the power a clear cut percentage or metric can have to demonstrate a trend. To accomplish this, without having the benefit of quantitative significance, we simply highlighted when there seemed to be consensus among the panel. We use phrases like “more than half of the panel” or “100% of the panel understood the main creative message”. This allowed us to surface summary findings to the client, which to them became clear calls to action.
Challenging the norm
As this was our first attempt at visualising qualitative research, we are excited to keep on challenging the status quo, while growing in this field and exploring new ways of creating and presenting data in an engaging and enticing way. So, watch this space!