Online bulletin boards

An online bulletin board (OBB or OLBB) is an online forum that  participants can log into to carry out research tasks or reply to questions asked by a moderator at their own pace. OBBs allow time-poor respondents to provide insight when it is convenient for them, as well as providing a way to attach images, videos, or other files to support their thoughts.

Whereas the participants in an online focus group all sign in at the same date and time, OBB participants can visit the platform when it is convenient for them, usually over the course of a few days.

Respondents usually receive instructions on how often they should log in and how many tasks will be posted for them to work on, but they respond at their own pace. Since the respondents have control over exactly when they make a submission, they can take their time to form coherent, well thought-out answers.

OBBs can also stimulate discussions, often between globally disparate individuals, and they can be subtly led by your subject matter expert or our own trained moderators. Some can also allow anonymity, which can encourage candour and reduce aversion to sensitive or controversial subjects.

Some forms of OBB also enable the client to log in and observe the discussion as it happens and transcripts or preliminary findings can be created at any stage of the study.

RELATED CASE STUDIES

Teenager making peace sign with one hand while holding other hand out to make selfie video

Recruitment of Snap! users for online qualitative research in the UK, France and Canada

A US agency specialising in qualitative market research amongst Millennials and members of Generation Z asked FieldworkHub to support them by recruiting young people aged 13-17 and 18-22 who used Snapchat. There were two parts to the project – the first part involved submitting a video online and the second part, which took place several weeks later, was based around an online bulletin board. We screened and recruited 24 suitable respondents in the UK, France and Canada for the online video part of the project and almost 50 suitable respondents for the online bulletin board. The client was very pleased with the quality of the respondents that we provided.

Man touching 'home' button on circular interface of smart home technology assistant

Online bulletin board with owners of smart home devices

A leading manufacturer of connected home devices wanted to find out more about the way that consumers in the UK and Germany use smart devices in conjunction with each other (e.g. using a smart speaker to control a home heating system, using a smartphone to monitor home security while out and about). They wanted to interview customers of their own products and competing brands. We used a free find approach to recruit over 250 promising candidates, screened them using an online questionnaire to pick a sample of 40. We then guided the final 40 through the research programme which was based on a smartphone activity and diary app.

Yellow U-Bahn train crosses the Oberbaum Bridge with Spree river at sunset, Berlin, Germany

Online bulletin boards on commuting and leisure travel

A large German public transport operator wanted to conduct research to understand how urban travellers in Berlin, Munich, Stuttgart and the Ruhr area who use public transport and shared mobility options (such as taxi and ride sharing) in their day-to-day lives over the course of a week. The objective was to learn about the way respondents use public and private modes of transport for commuting and leisure travel and to understand what factors are most important for people when they are travelling to different destinations. Another objective was to explore mobility patterns that combined public transport with the use of private vehicles, or taxi/ride sharing, in one trip when travelling to and from various destinations. The project methodology required us to satisfy complex recruitment quotas based on where respondents lived, what modes of transport they used and other personal factors (such as disabilities and adults accompanying children on journeys). We made initial contact with over 200 promising respondents and screened in 40 for each of the two study phases. We then helped to guide the participants through the study which involved the use of an online video diary app.