Qual Street

Dedication to the answer


Fast forwarding

Fast forwarding


Sometimes getting respondents to use their imagination, projecting forwards into the future can really help with understanding what behaviour is likely to be…

Here’s an example of what I mean: Imagine you want to research first time buyers and how they make new purchase choices… One way to go is to interview people who have been a first time buyer and ask them what they did. OK, but memories aren’t very fresh, and we know that some decision making, particularly technical and complex decision making, gets forgotten once it’s done.

So, an alternative approach is to recruit people who are thinking about becoming a first time buyer, and to brief them to imagine they have actually just bought a home. To make the process more real to them you could get them to select the house they could imagine buying from what’s on the market (on-line) at the moment and tell you all about this, getting into a story telling mode with you… Then you set them some first time buyer tasks – get your (imagined) home mock insured, mock buy some white goods… whatever you want to explore. Then in real-time (or near real-time) you can experience with them their decision making, thought processes and feelings.

Sometimes using imagination and story telling techniques can get you closer to ‘real’ than recall can…

I think this technique could be used for any number of projects that involve ‘first time’ experiences. Getting reading glasses for the first time, booking a family holiday abroad, doing an on-line shop. As part of this approach it’s important to accept that not all respondents will be able to fast forward, so you need to start off with a larger pool of respondents and end up with a smaller number of completed interviews. But this approach will allow you to look to the future, and that’s always worth a bit of extra investment…

Why not give fast forwarding a go?


Kath Rhodes, Qual Street Owner

I love love learning and so I invest time and resources with Ambreen and Claire into exploring social psychology, neuro science, creativity and new techniques in research. Read all about it and help yourself to the ideas that will deliver your business the insight it needs

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@Qualstreet on 17 March 2023