What is an Online Research Community?

An Online Research Community (ORC) is a digital platform where researchers can engage with a group of participants to obtain in-depth insights on a particular topic or subject of interest. This approach to market research is gaining popularity due to its cost-effective nature and the ability to gather data from geographically dispersed respondents in a shorter period of time.

Online Research Communities are often used for qualitative research studies that require frequent feedback and ongoing interactions with participants. The communities can be moderated or unmoderated, depending on the nature of the research project and the desired level of control over the data collection process.

An ORC typically comprises a group of pre-screened and recruited participants with a shared interest or experience related to the research topic. The participants are usually invited to participate in an online forum, where they can interact with each other and the research team, answer questions, or participate in activities. The forum can be accessed via desktop, laptop, or mobile devices, making it easy for participants to contribute at any time, from anywhere.

Online Research Communities offer several advantages over traditional methods of market research. For example, they allow researchers to engage with participants over a longer period of time, enabling them to build a deeper understanding of their attitudes, behaviours, and preferences. This can lead to richer and more nuanced insights that are difficult to obtain through other research methods.

ORCs can also be used for co-creation, where researchers collaborate with participants to develop new products, services, or ideas. This approach is particularly useful for organizations seeking to develop products or services that better meet the needs of their customers.

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