Qualitative Surveys for Opensource user need research

I recently came across qualitative surveys, a method which uses surveys for collecting qualitative data (Qualitative research deals with the what, how and why of (user) behavior, not about how many/often).

So in a qualitative survey you may ask things like:

Describe a recent positive experience you had when contributing (includes everything you can do on wikidata, including reading, editing, talking to other community members etc.)

[Free text field]

View a presentation on qualitative surveys here.

Looking at the presented advantages of qualitative surveys it seems they are well suited for user need research in (open source) software projects (in contrast to the more fixed-time and cost intensive classic live interview/observation).

In brief:

  • You still need to analyze the data with whichever method you prefer (thematic, grounded theory, discourse-analysis…)
  • The method is resource-lite (you just need a survey software) and is ethically sound (self administered, very low perceived pressure/easy to drop out if wanted)
  • Questions need to be asked and framed very clearly – you can’t react to participants asking a question back (so pilot the form!)
  • If your tool supports it, you can use images, videos etc. for clarification

I’d be interested in exploring the method and would be happy to collaborate on one or a few small research projects that use the method.