Is app-ification of research nigh?
From the useful (ordering a taxi) to the downright strange (sending a 'yo') – it seems there is an app for practically everything. And now, qualitative interviewing has become the latest task to get the app treatment.
The newly launched StoryCorps app allows you to interview your nearest and dearest via your smartphone and then upload it to the companys online archive, as well as to a collection at the US Library of Congress. Not only does the app enable you to conduct the interviews, but it also helps the user build an appropriate topic guide, by selecting probes from an extensive list of commonly used questions.
But while the apps emphasis on peer interviewing may have value for exploratory research or capturing a snapshot of consumers lives, it doesnt allow a third party (either client- or agency-side) to probe on key areas of interest because it only allows preset probes, which is a significant drawback. What it does offer, though, is an interesting model for delivering qualitative research.
StoryCorps archive works in a similar way to a social network, enabling users to follow other users and listen to, like and share interviews, bringing respondents to life in a way that is often impossible through traditional face-to-face interviewing.
Research Director, Razor Research Ltd
This article was first published in InBrief magazine, June 2015
Copyright © Association for Qualitative Research, 2015