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MODERATED VERSUS MOBILE



Mobile video interviews are authentic and efficient by using the latest in technology.


Prior to the widespread adoption of ResTech, it was common practice to fly across the country in order to conduct in-person moderated interviews. The spread of COVID-19, however, forced the world to grow more comfortable with technology and evolve the ways research was conducted. Moderated interviews via a video chat platform like Zoom became the new normal, cutting down on researchers’ travel time and expenses. But despite positive, progressive changes, the truth is evident: moderated interviews continue to have significant shortcomings.


Chief among these is time investment. It is impossible to conduct multiple in-depth interviews (IDIs) at once. This means 60-minute individual interviews with 30 participants requires a 30-hour investment from a research team – not to mention time spent juggling schedules, playing phone and email tag, and following up.


Fortunately there is a readily available, convenient, and comfortable solution: mobile video. At Vidlet, we can conduct 30 individual interviews in one hour without worrying about aligning participants’ schedules with the research team, moderating, or sorting through hours of recordings. This gives us more time to do what we do best – research.


Trust us, we’ve heard the criticism before: “Moderated calls allow you to dive deeper and ask more specific follow-up questions!” After completing more than 1,000 mobile diary studies, however, we know that the right approach gathers insights on par with or greater than moderated interviews. Creating the right script, with the right amount of questions, prompts, and details, is a skill that the researchers at Vidlet have more than perfected. We know what questions to ask and how to ask them. Drilling deeper into initial themes or insights is as simple as creating a brief follow-up script and sending it out to participants.


Beyond the ease and convenience of mobile diaries, we’ve also found that they yield more accurate, authentic reactions and findings than moderated interviews – the opposite of everything you thought you knew! The reason? With mobile diaries, participants are not affected by the moderators' demeanor, facial expressions, word choices, or reactions. Humans – especially those participating in research – have a natural tendency to want to please. We frequently hear their reactions in moderated interviews: “Was that too much?”; “Is that what you wanted me to say?”; “How am I doing?” Even the best moderators will affect participants' answers and reactions simply by their presence. Being interviewed, recorded, and knowing you are being observed and analyzed can make participants uncomfortable and inclined to hold back their unfiltered feedback.

Mobile diaries provide a level of ease for participants that other interview methods can’t match. Participants can answer from the comfort of their own homes and on their own schedules, free from real-time judgment of their reactions and raw emotions. Mobile video diaries create an environment much more conducive to authentic and uncensored insights – the kinds that drive meaningful, resonant research.

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