Utilizing creative techniques: How to enhance the value and depth of data in online qualitative research

13. 12. 2023, Author: Jana Svobodová

Creative techniques contribute to enriching qualitative research by allowing participants to express their thoughts and feelings in various ways, fostering creative thinking and interaction. Online qualitative research comes with specific challenges, such as the distance between respondents, written communication, and technical issues. Creative techniques must be adapted to this environment, which can affect engagement and the form of interaction. It is also essential to provide clear instructions, support participants, and conduct a careful analysis of textual data.

Below, we present 7 reasons why we believe that using creative techniques in online qualitative research is beneficial:

  1. Stimulation of creativity: Creative techniques enable research participants to think and express their ideas outside the usual boundaries. This can lead to the discovery of new ideas, perspectives, and solutions.
  2. Deeper understanding: They can help uncover deeper emotions, attitudes, and motivations of participants, allowing for a better understanding of important aspects of the research topic. Participants have the opportunity to express their thoughts through stories, images, or roles.
  3. Increased engagement: Creative techniques can enhance participants' interest and engagement, as they feel actively involved and have the opportunity to share their opinions and experiences.
  4. Empathy development: Creative techniques can help participants empathize more with the situations being studied. For example, role-playing, storytelling, or creative activities can help participants better imagine what it's like to be in a given situation.
  5. Interaction among participants: Some creative techniques can promote interaction among participants, leading to discussions and synergy between different viewpoints.
  6. Diverse outputs: Creative techniques can produce diverse data that go beyond traditional text responses. This can include photographs, drawings, music compositions, or even videos. These varied data sources can add depth and richness to your results.
  7. More engaging presentation of results: Research results based on creative techniques can be presented and shared in a more interesting and entertaining manner, increasing their effectiveness when communicating with various target audiences.

We would like to inspire you with techniques that can enrich your research projects in online communities. Several qualitative researchers working with the Echonity platform have compiled the following types and examples:


Use cards with topics or questions and let participants select cards and respond to them. This can liven up discussions and stimulate creativity. For example: "My last visit to branch XY best illustrates image 1 because..."

Image collections

Ask participants to find images online that represent a particular theme or idea, then share these images and describe why they chose them.

Flashcards image

Source: DALL-E

“In the online community, we addressed issues and outages on the part of banks and insurance companies with our clients. Our goal was to not only identify the problems clients encounter but also understand how they feel in such situations. During the moderated discussion, we introduced emotional cards to clients, which encouraged them to express their emotions in a much broader spectrum. We were also surprised by how readily clients embraced this creative technique. As a result, the whole discussion became more colorful."
- Eva Waldoufová, Client Service Executive

Storytelling continuation game

Begin a story or sentence and let participants continue it. Each participant adds one paragraph or sentence to create a collective story. For example: "When I arrived at the branch..."


Create a discussion forum thread where members can contribute their ideas and opinions on a specific topic or question, leading to rich discussions and new insights.

Storytelling continuation game image

Source: DALL-E


Ask participants to take on different roles or situations related to the product or service to better understand their needs and reactions. For example: "Imagine you are the CEO of bank XY. What product would you invest in the most?"

Brand associations

Have participants provide the first automobile brand that comes to mind when thinking about your product or brand. This can help gauge the brand's perception. For example: "The bank XY brand reminds me of..."

Role-playing image

Source: DALL-E

Attribute associations

Have participants select words or phrases that best characterize your product, such as speed, reliability, luxury, innovation, etc. For example: "When I think of online banking with bank XY, the word that comes to mind is..."

Personality associations

Ask participants to liken your brand to a specific personality or famous individual to better understand how it is perceived. For example: "The personality I associate with bank XY is..."

Target audience associations

Have participants describe the typical customer for your product or brand. For example: "The typical customer of bank XY is..."

Mentoring and counseling

Provide a space where members can seek and offer advice, support, and mentorship to each other.


Create challenges that members can accept and contribute to, such as creating videos, photos, or texts related to your product or brand. For example: "Share a photo of how bank XY has made your life easier."


Organize contests for the best ideas, which can boost creativity among members and increase their engagement. For example: "Come up with the best name for our new YX service."

Competitions image

Source: DALL-E

We would be delighted to offer training to your teams for using the Echonity platform, in addition to providing methodological guidance. A team of seasoned qualitative researchers will share insights with you through workshops aimed at enhancing participant engagement through creative techniques and other best practices.

Would you like to learn more about how Echonity's online community can assist you in enhancing engagement with survey participants? Click here to book a meeting.

Contact: Jana Svobodová, jana.svobodova@nms.cz

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