Just as seasonings enhance the flavours of food, hybrid research designs can enhance the value and richness of insights. Hybrid research approaches also build validation of the insights, and reduce the risk of not hearing the consumer correctly. There are as many ways of building a hybrid design as there are ways of seasoning food! This article will help you navigate past the buzzwords, and see how to spice up your insights.
Definition of hybrid methodology
Hybrid methodology is also known as Bricolage, Triangulation or Mixed Methodology. All of these names refer to the combining or mixing of more than one methodology, approach or conceptual model, to investigate a particular problem or issue from different relevant angles or points of view. Mixing qualitative and quantitative is a common hybrid approach. For us as qualitative specialists, hybrid refers to bringing together a mix of different qualitative methodologies involving individual or group interaction as well as in-person or digital methodologies. Hybrid qualitative can also bring together different target markets, stakeholders, or even expert opinion in our project design.
The use of different methodologies and involving different target segments and stakeholders, results in verification and comparison of the results from the different components of the research. The research team can use this rich data to produce a more detailed and comprehensive understanding of the research challenge.
The value of hybrid design: get closer to reality
The main advantage of hybrid research design is that it yields richer data and enables the research team to layer their experience and enhance their understanding. This produces better insights and more in-depth learning for the research and client team.
The multi-disciplinary approach also helps the team get as close as possible to reality. The mixing of methods relies not only on reported behaviour and recall of actions and decisions, but also endeavors to get closer to observing actual behaviour and evidence of attitudes.
We find that the versatility of the approach is more interesting and fun for participants leading to higher levels of engagement and involvement.
Hybrid methodology allows the voice of the consumer to be heard.
Hybrid methodology confirms the value of the Gestalt theory that the end result is more than the sum of the individual parts as it offers insight into the holistic ‘bigger picture.’
Examples of hybrid projects
The associates of Think Global Qualitative believe in the value of hybrid design and many of our most impactful and innovative projects have used this approach. Some examples of projects that we have been involved in either as a global network or individual consultants, have included:
- A global study with dog owners in Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, India, Mexico, South Africa, UK, and USA which utilized a combination of digital methodologies including individual smartphone diaries to immerse into the lives of dogs and their owners, an online discussion forum and, finally, co-creation to develop new solutions for common problems identified during the research
- Understanding the aspirations, values, lifestyle, interests and social behaviour of millennial wine drinkers using a combination of digital and in-person methods, namely mobile journal, social media listening and in-person group discussions
- A multi-stage mini-community followed the journey of a start-up experience business over a period of nine months, including self-ethnography, usability testing of website, ‘test-driving’ product concept and follow-up discussions between project stages
- Exploring attitudes of young people around the world towards climate change, combining quantitative and qualitative digital methods and social media research ‘cloud listening’
- Finding deep insights into belief systems and the customer journey of borrowers. Multi-stage phased approach involving consumers and other stakeholders. Combined knowledge harvest synthesized all available data on the topic, executive interviews, webcam ‘selfie’ videos, mystery shopping, frontline staff interviews, more in-depth interviews and resulted in integrated reporting in the format of a customer journey map and interactive web report
Want more information? This brief article provides just a few of the highlights of our approach and work. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about the projects or the methodologies discussed, or to arrange for a presentation.