There’s an interesting dance that happens with member research. We ask the questions we think we want to know the answers to but members see those questions and find they would rather answer some other more important questions. They want to answer the questions that matter and they are right, we want the answers to the questions that matter most.
Online surveys don’t allow and don’t prompt members to add important questions and then answer them. Qualitative member research methods do.
Member phone interviews, the methodology most accurate for forward-leaning associations, allow members to add questions. Because it’s a conversation they feel free to say, “here is the answer to that question but, I don’t think it is a good question. The question you REALLY want to ask is…”
Qualitative is flexible by design. In nearly all of the member phone interview projects I’ve conducted, about a quarter of the way in, I added a better question based on the previous responses. These new questions always yield super insightful results. I’m also able to delete or change the problem question, the one that members don’t know how to answer, interpret or don’t like.
Each of our members holds so much wisdom, wisdom we need to advance the industry or profession. We just need to ask in the right way and provide the space for them to educate us.