Qualitative video – why it makes sense and how to make sense of it

Qualitative research has many benefits. It can provide you with rich and detailed information to give an in-depth understanding of consumers and topics. By encouraging openness respondents can also reveal new avenues to explore. Areas that haven’t been considered and wouldn’t have been included in a quantitative survey.

However, some qualitative techniques can be time consuming and expensive if you are trying to conduct them face to face, especially on a global scale.

Self-recording video opens-up a wealth of opportunities.

Most people now own a smart device allowing them to film good quality video from the comfort of their own home or when they are out and about. No need for film crews. Quick and easy for you, quick and easy for respondents. Video provides you with the unique opportunity to get closer to your real customers, understand their behaviour and see them in their own environment.

We see video being used across a wide range of use cases, utilising a broad spectrum of methodologies. Here are just some examples.

Video diary studies

Self-recording video is a popular method for carrying out diary studies. You can get closer to the respondent and gain more detailed feedback than you’d receive through a written response. Video provides the added benefit of also seeing the respondents’ environment. Our healthcare clients have found this particularly useful. When viewing patients, they can see how they move around their house or discover any issues with the layout of their hospital room. They can observe how certain treatments impact a patient or watch them open medicines. This observation is overlaid with the thoughts, feelings and opinions of the respondent as they feedback in their own words.


Respondents can be set a variety of self-recording video tasks, including ethnography based projects. For example, our clients use self-recording video to observe respondents carrying out everyday tasks from in-store food shopping to cooking an evening meal. It allows researchers to see what people actually do, rather than what they might say they do – as we know, quite often these can be different things!

Mobile technology provides everyone with the freedom to record both in and out of the home. We see people of all ages, from all backgrounds taking part in studies.

In-depth interviews (IDI)

In-depth interviews (IDIs) are conducted by skilled interviewers to gain detailed information from selected participants. As with focus groups (below), IDIs are often transcribed and summaries provided, they can also be recorded, just audio or video.

As with other content, IDI video or audio files can be uploaded for analysis and reporting into tools, such as LivingLens. The content becomes easy to search and refer back to at a later date, giving it a longer life than it might otherwise have had. By seamlessly navigating to the moments of interest, show reels can quickly be created to demonstrate key points and themes. A perfect way to share consumer stories.

Focus groups

Focus groups provide a unique way to engage with groups of respondents in offline or online environments. They can help to understand attitudes, opinions, beliefs and emotional reactions and are used regularly within innovation and product development. Nowadays, many groups are already recorded and transcribed. However, real efficiencies can still be gained by uploading this video to a platform such as LivingLens. Not only can it facilitate transcriptions and translation, but can help to analyze content. Themes within and across focus groups can be identified. Content can quickly and easily be mined and searched reducing project timelines and extending the lifespan of the content.

The power of qualitative video

The in-depth nature of video combined with the latest tools for analyzing that content mean that video can provide you with qualitative feedback on a quantitative scale, and can drive efficiencies for the more traditional techniques. By storing all your qualitative video content in one place you can create an insight hub, where content can be easily searched and re-used, delivering value beyond a single project.

To incorporate video within your qualitative project or to analyze your existing qualitative video, contact us today.

Video can also be incorporated into quantitative studies, find out more in our https://livinglens.tv/6-reasons-video-questions-in-surveys/ blog post.