Cartoon Sequence Research is a context-driven qualitative methodology that uses simplified pictures called pictographs to explore how and why consumers make buying decisions. These pictographs depict the buying experience from the beginning to the end. Usually there are twenty to thirty pictographs that are shown to respondents to encourage them to explain their emotions and thinking as they “experience” the buying scenario. In short, they tell a story. There are no direct questions by the researcher, and the researcher learns detailed information related to motivations, emotions, and subjective terminology.
Steps in the Process
1) Determine the question that you want answered. For example: What is involved when someone decides to buy a car? How do people decide to take a cruise? How does someone decide to use a particular bank?
2) Interview the client company to specify the “decision points” involved in the question that you are trying to understand.
3) Translate the decision points into pictographs. This is also called “developing the scenario.”
4) Utilize three types of pictographs in developing the scenario. These include:
describing the environment; showing interaction; and showing reflection.
5) Develop different sets of pictographs to fit different demographic categories.
6) Show the pictographs to selected respondents. Avoid leading questions. Audio record their answers, i.e. the story they tell as they look at the pictographs.
7) Pictographs can be added or eliminated as more is learned.
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