Our client was looking to speak with individuals who were soon-to-be studying abroad in the UK, specifically seeking future expats who were based in the US, Germany, and Canada (with these being the most popular countries of origin for international students living in the UK).
The recruitment criteria initially specified expats who had applied, and were accepted, to study at a University within the UK from term dates starting in September/October 2020. We were restricted to students who were still highly dependent on receiving financial aid from their parents / families.
The recent Coronavirus crisis did give us pause - it has thrown many events into the air, and not least expats, who no longer have the international travel freedom they once had. With this in mind, the client decided to widen the recruitment scope to still include those who had been accepted at a UK university, but also individuals who were looking to study in the UK from 2021 (all going well).
We were asked to recruit participants in each market, manage the project, moderate, and handle incentives. The deliveries included transcriptions of each interview, alongside a translated document for the German-speaking participants
We worked with our client to create a professional and detailed discussion guide that really got to the heart of their research, asking the right questions and covering the necessary topics. The client wanted to explore what financial support those students were getting, and understand their positioning and perspective on a new app being offered by the end-client (developed to help with financial transfers).
Note: It’s always important to remember that your discussion guide is a tool, not a rule book. We crafted something thorough and detailed, but also flexible.
The moderator could move between the questions smoothly, going in some instances wherever the respondent took them (when this is still useful information to the research of course!).
Full briefing calls took place between the client and the ‘on-the-ground’ moderator so that they could discuss these unwritten directions, and make plans for when a respondent goes off-path into a very interesting area.
Note: The discussion guide is built-on and improved throughout the project, with the client's approval on all changes, to ensure that it becomes the most effective tool it can be.
Once all respondents were recruited, MRFGR handled the setup of the online interviews using the Zoom web conferencing platform, the administration that it involved, and of course, the management of respondents. Meeting rooms were set-up for each time bracket, and links to those rooms (along with passwords to enter) were sent to participants individually.
For online research, we always ask respondents to test that the online platform is compatible on their device before proceeding. We then check in with them a couple of days later to make sure the testing worked went - if not, we explore other options with the participant - can they borrow a friend's laptop? Can they go somewhere else with better connection? If no solution is found, replacements are sought quickly and efficiently (with us always keeping back-ups on hand in case of such scenario).
Tip: Zoom allows anyone to test the meeting space is compatible on their device for free. Just ask your participants to head on over to https://zoom.us/test
We allowed for client-viewing by having the client join in as a muted participant, with the additional function of being able to privately message the moderator through a chat box to request additional probing or questioning on points they found to be more interesting.
Live directions from the client can be extremely useful during any market research fieldwork. It helps to steer the discussion into a place that the client deems to be more insightful, and encourages further findings to inform future investments. But (and this is a big but), this should never interfere or override the moderator themself until they’re no longer in control. The chat box allowed for an unobtrusive and effective way of letting the moderator maintain a smooth discussion with the respondent, while still getting some tips and directions from the client.
An interpreter was on hand for all German-speaking sessions, with them joining as an additional muted participant and interpreting what was being said to our client over the phone.
At the end of the research, all discussions were transcribed (and translated where necessary) within the agreed timeline. These were provided to the client on a rolling basis so that they could kick start their side of the analysis as early as possible, with little delay in waiting for any of the materials. Overall, the client was very satisfied with the outcome of these research sessions and has raised the possibility of running more sessions in the very near future.
Overall, we continue to work with exciting new projects and deliver on our client's expectations. If you have any questions , please do not hesitate to get in touch if you need anything - we'd love to chat and catch up!