The Remote Research Revolution: How to Conduct Great Research From Anywhere

Heather Lohmann
October 2020

The Remote Research Revolution: How to Conduct Great Research From Anywhere

While conducting remote research is nothing new, 2020 is the year that saw RFH — “Research From Home” — become ubiquitous.

Back at the beginning of quarantine, we invited Kayte Hamilton of InsightsNow and Kristin Howell Schwitzer of Beacon Research to join us for a discussion and Q&A about how to not only adjust, but thrive in a newly remote-first world. While many of us have settled into our home offices by now, or perhaps moved to a new location or even back into an office space, we wanted to share Kayte and Kristin’s insightful perspectives on how this transition impacted — and will continue to impact — the research community.

From increasing flexibility in your schedule to packing a more powerful punch with your share-outs, we’ve compiled a few of our top video highlights below:

Conducting Research Post-Covid: Will We Ever Go Back to “Normal”?

When communities began locking down earlier this year, we were forced to rethink our go-to methodologies. With in-person research now off the table, we all had to pivot online — and we had to do so quickly. Now — over six months after the lockdowns began — newfound methodologies born of this time have shown some serious staying power.

Kayte predicted how both process and approach would change as a result of this massive societal shift. As we moved from workplaces we commuted to, to home offices that suddenly contained the entirety of both our work and personal lives, we all struggled with new challenges, including figuring out how to set boundaries. As a result, Kayte said, we as researchers needed to become more 1) flexible, 2) understanding, and 4)empathetic:

“And I think that’s going to stay around,” Kayte said. “I think we’re going to see new boundaries, I think we’re going to see more empathy, and I think that we’re going to see that constant balance between work-life has completely shifted.”

Kristin continued on the theme of empathy, discussing the importance of one-on-one conversations over video in her own process: “That’s actually one of my favorites, it has been for years..I’ve been doing an awful lot of webcam interviews...It’s just a wonderful human connection.”

Many researchers have been thriving in virtual settings for years — 2020 just forced everyone to adapt to the remote experience, whether they liked it or not. Even as some semblances of “normal” life return, it’s likely that research will continue to live online in at least some capacity, and the in-person experience will be forever changed.


Inspire Empathy with the Unique Power of Video Content

Even before the pandemic, Kayte and Kristin used video as part of their research process, understanding its unique resonance (and ever-growing popularity — hello, TikTok!) as a communication medium. And while video may have previously been a no-go for older folks, the virtual meeting revolution has made video-based methodologies more approachable for all generations.

There really isn’t anything quite as powerful as seeing someone express their delight, confusion, or other reaction or opinion in their very own words. To show you exactly what we mean, here are Kayte and Kristin expressing their two cents on the subject of research on video:


Kristin’s Top 5 Tips For Remote Researchers New to Video

As a researcher who’s spent a solid chunk of her 20+-year career working fully remote, Kristin had some great advice for researchers who — pre-Covid — hadn’t yet honed their research-on-video chops:

1.  Understand how your deliverable is going to be used: Off the bat, ask yourself what action you’re trying to inspire. This will help you design your methodology upfront, as well as dictate how you will want to edit and share your results.

2.  Schedule in an ”off” day, don’t overschedule yourself, and take breaks: Burnout is real. If you don't give yourself the breathing room to recoup during a long day or week, you often end up doing yourself, your clients, and your participants a disservice.

3.  Make sure your participants are tech-literate: Screen potential participants with questions that help you understand whether or not they'll be able to participate over video in a productive way. Kristin also suggests having them complete a tech check for the same reason.

4.  Use clear pauses in your speaking: Don't get in your own way. Ask your question and then give your participant the floor so that you end up with clean footage for clipping.

5.  Ask more verbose participants to summarize their lengthier responses: If a participant gives you a 4-minute answer, it can be difficult to figure out which portion of their response captures it in entirety. Instead, ask your participant to summarize their feedback so you end up with a perfectly concise, yet thorough video clip.


Kristin & Kayte Share More Concise, Compelling Content with Reduct.Video

For some, 2020 was the year of learning how to insert video into their research project by way of necessity. But for Kristin and Kayte, this year’s remote revolution simply validated a shift in methodology they’d already adopted well before the pandemic and our webinar.

Highlight reels, for example, have been a game-changer in helping Kristin communicate findings out to clients. By creating and sharing 1-2 minute reels during sessions, she has been able to deliver insights in a much more concise and compelling way.

If you hear a clip of one or two people making a point, you’re like, “Well, is that normal or was that an anomaly?” But when you hear 5 or 6 or 8 of them hitting the same point using different words over and over again, it really drives home that idea.


And Reduct has cut Kayte’s video editing time down to mere minutes, while the ability to add captions with the click of a button has brought a new dimension to presentations that wasn’t always accessible before.

As soon as I collect video in an online community, I can immediately make them a 2-minute clip and send it to them and show them what the product is going to look like, or show them the value of that video response.


Interested in learning more about how Reduct.Video can help you make the most of your remote research sessions and inspire more action with video? Get in touch with our team, or get up and running on your own with a free trial!

And of course please let us know if you’d like to access the full webinar and we’ll send the recording your way.

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