However, with the invention of the internet, things have changed drastically and research has been revolutionized for the better. The internet has enabled researchers to conduct their own research work from the comfort of a chair without having to incur the costs of travelling from one place to another. We can therefore say that the internet has made research a bit easier and cost effective.
Online research can be defined as the collection of information from multiple reliable sources on the internet through a computer or a smart phone. When conducting an online research, participants feel more comfortable giving their responses as they can remain anonymous throughout the whole process.
On the contrary, traditional methods of research cannot guarantee anonymity. Online platforms such as social media bases have facilitated the process of online research as they have millions of users whom their behavior can be monitored. If their behavior is monitored over a certain period of time, it can provide online marketers with strategies of marketing their products and services to those groups in a targeted manner.
Online research can be conducted through surveys, filling forms, questions and answers etc.
Tools of Research
It is obvious that you will need to have a list of emails for you to be able to run an email marketing campaign. Without this, there would be nothing like email marketing. With an email list you will be able to reach out to all your present and past clients and even your future clients.
Collecting emails from your clients is an easy process that requires you to use your website or ecommerce platform to request for emails. Having a contact form that requires them to fill out their name together with their email address is all you need to get started.
Avoid asking for too much personal information at the beginning. You may want to promise them a gift for filling out their email so as to motivate them into doing it.
These are groups created specifically to discuss certain particular topics. Members are selected using a chosen criteria and they participate for a certain period of time. The groups are normally regulated by a moderator who is also responsible for member selection. Normally, the participants are given incentives so as to take part in the research. Focus group discussions normally take 2.5 hours.
Interview on the Internet
Interviews of this nature are carried out through SMS, emails or live chats. There is not much difference between this type of interviewing and a one-on-one interview. Those being interviewed are usually asked to give their experience about a certain product or service they may have received.
In the case of live chats, feedback is given immediately while in the case of emails and SMS feedback may be delayed. Therefore the timings differ depending on which method is being used.
Qualitative research on the internet is carried out through blogs and online communities. The advantage of using qualitative method of online research is that it is time efficient and cost effective. Additionally, it is more reliable than a traditional method of qualitative research due to the fact that participants can be picked from established databases or via surveys.
Online analysis of text is a collection of different examples of internet research used to come up with insights from available information. It is majorly use to carry out quantitative research
Analysis of Social Platforms
This technique is still new but there seems to be having a high rate of acceptance due to an increase in the use of social media platforms. Through this analysis, researchers can identify and weigh relationships between social media users.
Types of Internet Research
Consumer Gratification Research
In the beginning, this was carried out via calls but since then things have really changed. Nowadays service providers seek to know their customers’ satisfaction through emails. They send them an email asking for a review of the service they received and the customer is able to respond to it.
This can also be done immediately after receiving the service through filling out a form. An offline app is also another way of getting the feedback.
New Launch Research
The process of launching a new service or product can be very hectic. Service providers are always eager to find out whether their new service will experience success or not. For this reason, sellers carry out a test with a small number of people from the target group. The responses can be gotten immediately and used to strategize.
Understanding Loyalty to Your Brand
Customer loyalty is one of the most valuable experiences a brand can have. There are brands which depend majorly on the loyalty of their clients. Loyalty is therefore a very essential part of a business. What you need to put your effort in is maintaining or advancing the level of customer loyalty to your brand. This will require you to conduct an online research so as to find out your selling points to clients and strengthen on that.
You will also need to understand what makes clients loyal to other brands offering similar services as you. With this kind of information you can come up with a strategy to improve on customer loyalty to your brand.
In every organization, employees are a vital and essential players in its success. Their happiness with their employer can directly translate into more productivity. It is the responsibility of every brand to find out what its employees think of it. This will help in improving the quality of their service provision and cause them to be good ambassadors for the brand.
Lack of knowledge on whether employees are happy working for the organization can lead to poor service delivery and a bad reputation for the brand. These two elements can be highly damaging to the brand and result in a closure of the business due to lack of sales.
What to Consider
Make Surveys with Choice Answers
Providing respondents with answers to choose from is an easier and quicker way of carrying out a survey. It doesn’t consume much time for them and it doesn’t require a lot of thinking.
When you provide survey questions without answers respondents are likely to take a lot of time to fill them out and at some point they may quit the process. It could also be annoying to think of what to write as a response.
Immediacy and Tolerance
There is absolutely nothing wrong with having multiple respondents fill out the same survey form. What you need to do is let each of them know that there will be other respondents too and they should be ok with it. This happens mostly when you need a response urgently. Once the survey is carried out, it’s important that you exercise patience as you wait for the outcome.
Keep Surveys Short
When collecting the views of people online through a survey form, it’s important that you ensure that you don’t lose them halfway. This can only be achieved by keeping the survey questions short and with accurate answers.
Respondents tend to shy away from long surveys especially if they have had an experience with you before.
Importance of Internet Research
A Wide Pool of Data
The online platform has proved to be very essential and beneficial to researchers across the globe. Researchers appreciate the fact that online research is cost effective to them and also time efficient. They can conduct research from the comfort of their couch without worrying about travelling to places to gather information.
Time Efficiency and Cost Effectiveness
The internet has become a great pool of knowledge with tons of information being uploaded each and every day. This has made the internet to be a valuable resource for both researchers and individuals.
For researchers, this has taken off a huge load from their shoulders. They no longer need to spend a lot of time moving from one place to another in search of data. They also do not have to spend a lot of cash on transport and accommodation. All they need is to have a strong and fast internet connection and they can delve into research.
One Stop Research Centre
The internet offers a lot of information which is updated on a regular basis. Researchers are able to access this information at any given time concerning any topic of interest. It is not only a resourceful platform for researchers but for students as well.
Students can carry out academic research using the internet. This proves that the internet harbors a lot of value for its users.
Data Collection Tool
Online research has really taken a new dimension by enabling researchers to conduct polls and surveys through emails. It is now possible to fill out questionnaires online without having to use pen and paper.
This development has really improved how brands carry out research concerning their service provision and employee’ satisfaction.
Ways to Improve Internet Research
Understand Your Objectives
Before embarking on any research, it’s important for a researcher to set goals and objectives of their research. You need to know what you want to achieve at the end of the day.
Are you looking for scientific verifiable data or are you just interested in gathering personal opinions of online users? These are key questions that any researcher ought to answer before starting the research process.
Knowing what your end goal is enables you to figure out how to go about the whole process. You will also know where exactly to find what kind of information.
Prepare Keywords for Your Research
When it comes to fetching for information online, keywords are an essential part of the endeavour. You need to come up with word phrases that will gather you the information that you need. These phrases can contain 4-5 words. The more detailed the phrases are the better the information you are likely to gather.
Having the right keywords can save you a lot of time and energy. You may also want to use quotation marks so as to make your search more targeted. When you make your search more targeted, irrelevant information is filtered out from you search results.
Another way to filter your search is by adopting the use of a dash (-) in your keywords. What comes after the dash dictates what information is to be filtered or left out in the search results.
Search Engine Specialization
There are several search engines available on the internet with the most popular one being Google. Despite Google being a useful resource, it may not fetch you some of the information that you are in need of as a researcher. Therefore this requires you to use dedicated search engines.
Such engines are able to fetch information from sources that Google is unable to. That is why they are special or dedicated.
Whenever you are researching on the internet, it’s important to ensure that you use information found on reliable sites with extensions like .org, .gov and .edu. Such sites are non-profit and they are more likely to present more authentic information that is not aimed at marketing.
Those ending in .com are usually commercial in nature and therefore they are likely to push information forward for marketing purposes.
Assess Your Bookmarks
Once you have bookmarked some links, it’s essential that you go through them so that you separate the chaff from the wheat. It is not every link that will contain valuable information for your research. Some links may contain a lot of information, others less information while others may not contain any vital information.
Do away with those links that you do not find relevant to your research. There has to be an assortment in terms or relevance and verifiability of information.
Bookmark Your Links
Whenever you are conducting a search online you are likely to come across several links that contain information related to what your research is about. Even when you are not so sure about its relevance, it’s important to bookmark it for future reference.
Online research has in many ways made research more affordable and enjoyable. The ease of carrying out research through the internet is a wonderful experience for both scholars and students. The availability of tons of information both scientific and non-scientific has made the internet a reliable resource of research.
Remember that the use of keywords that are relevant to your research will always make your work easier and faster. Without defined goals internet research will be a tedious and boring process for any researcher.