Online panels

Online panels enable organisations to develop long term, on-going engagement with the communities they serve. They provide a fast and cost-efficient way for organisations to consult stakeholders, customers, staff and potential customers on a wide range of issues.

We have access to hundreds of thousands of people across the UK. We can provide a pre-screened, pre-agreed number of panellists, who can be part of an interactive group of ring-fenced respondents that can be contacted for research and engagement purposes on an on-going basis to help you gain a better understanding of your communities. Read more about online panels in our whitepaper.


Online groups/bulletin boards

Conducting qualitative research online can be particularly useful where you wish to understand the needs and perceptions of niche / time-poor and / or geographically dispersed audiences. A group can be convened online, at a particular date and time and a moderated online chat room is conducted, with all participants online at once. The relative anonymity this offers can be of benefit. There is also the advantage that clients can observe the live chat unfolding. A bulletin board involves a similar process but the chat is run over a longer time period with participants notified as questions are posted. They can log in and out and contribute their thoughts at their own convenience.

We have a great deal of experience of using online qualitative techniques and can moderate them using a number of different platforms. We find them of particular value with professional audiences (because they require less of a time commitment than attending a face to face session) and when testing digital and other visual communications (because they are being tested in the right environment.)


Social media analysis

Social media can be a rich source of unprompted feedback which, if analysed effectively, can provide a useful insight into community views. Akin to eavesdropping, it allows you to hear what the community says when they are not conscious of being questioned. By applying structured analysis to social media conversations you can pick up on things that may otherwise have passed you by. Of course, it is vital to understand that those active on social media do not necessarily represent the whole community, but nevertheless there is useful insight to be gained.

Our team has experience of conducting qualitative analysis of online conversations and feedback. This type of research is a great addition to an existing research programme, giving you a broader context and sometimes access to the views of a different audience.


Website evaluation and user testing

Websites are a key communication channel for most organisations. User-testing is vital, particularly if you are re-designing or amending your site in some way. Very simply it’s vital to gain user feedback to inform website development and ensure it meets the expectations and needs of the target audience. For general feedback, focus groups or one to one interviews work well. But if you really want to understand how web visitors will use the site then usability testing – either in a lab or using specialist software – is vital. These approaches capture how users actually navigate the site.

The team at Community Research has experience of website evaluation using all of these techniques and we can help you to ensure that your website is as effective and user-friendly as possible.