Hook’s 4D Methodology – Discovery, Dialogue, Development, Deliverables

Written by

The Hook Team

Published on

February 5, 2017
Time to read: 4 minutes
Hook Research 4D Methodology

The world is increasingly complex. Our role at Hook Research is to make it less complex – giving advice and recommendation that offers clear direction, powered by the voice of the consumer. That’s why we created our 4D Methodology.

We feel that for research to properly drive decision making it needs to do three things: it needs to frame questions in a way that consumers understand; it needs to engage with consumers in a way that empowers them; and it has to create contexts in which we can understand the complexity and nuance behind decision making

The acknowledgement that research needs to be layered – using a combination of different insights to create clear, actionable insights rooted in real behaviour – is behind Hook’s creation of its unique 4D methodology. The 4Ds stand for different aspects of the research process which we consider important: Discovery, Dialogue, Development, and Deliverables. In themselves they are discrete stages of an iterative process aimed at progressively collecting insights that give a rounded, actionable picture of an issue.

Hook Research's 4D Methodology

Discovery is the method we use to refine a problem

In the Discovery phase of a project we utilise a number of research tools (powered up by our extensive industry experience) to understand the outline of the area under discussion and key pressure points. It’s about establishing the broad landscape in which a piece of research sits, tracking the conversations that consumers are already having around a research topic, and identifying the potential opportunities and pitfalls for our clients.

We deploy a number of different tools and processes at this Discovery stage to ensure we generate the most comprehensive coverage, from responsive media diaries to big-picture quantitative surveys.

We’re particularly excited by our exclusive partnership with data science company Signify. Together, we’ve created ‘Social Intelligence’ – a new methodology that combines the massive scope of Artificial Intelligence with the nuance of qualitative techniques. This powerful process unlocks the internet – enabling us to uncover game-changing insights about brands, products, and trends on a global scale.

We begin the conversation at the Dialogue stage

Once we’ve established the scope of the research in the Discovery stage, we deep-dive into the specific queries within the research brief. It is at this Dialogue Stage of our 4D Methodology that our Talking Human ethos shines through most vibrantly. In an increasingly democratised marketplace, with consumers exhibiting greater savviness than ever, we’ve found that we get the most from respondents when we treat them less like research participants and more like consultants – engaging them in honest, frank conversations and maintaining a two-way dialogue at all times.

Online panels are great ways to begin this conversation, allowing us to capture a combination of in-the-moment and considered reactions to content and questions. The responsive nature of these panels means that our questions can be similarly iterative – probing and building on previous answers (all in a cost-effective way).

Safety is a priority for us – and online panels allow respondents to share their thoughts in a non-judgmental, secure space. With younger audiences in particular, we’ve found that respondents are most comfortable sharing their opinions online, as the panel mirrors the way they are holding similar conversations in texts, emails, and social media.

We like to follow up this panel with focus groups and workshops. Building upon the rapport we generate with respondents online, we continue the dialogue in living rooms and viewing facilities around the country – probing further on the areas of interest unearthed in the panel, and developing a nuanced understanding of our clients’ research queries.

4D Methodology 2 - Hook ResearchThe Development stage of our research looks at next steps

The Development stage of the research is about looking forward – how will this research area change and develop over the next few weeks, months, and years?

To gain this perspective, we often turn to long-term ethnography – going in-home (or out and about) with respondents to actively immerse ourselves in their worlds. The emphasis in this stage is not on questioning respondents but allowing them to demonstrate their knowledge and approach to a specific problem. To do this, Hook create resonant contexts in which we can monitor real behaviour and real reactions. This process enables us to gain a daily, contextual idea of peoples’ distinct lives, and a deeper understanding of how their behaviours translate into actionable, future-facing insights for our clients.

Recently, we’ve also seen some amazing results from our Consumer Consulting technique. In this process, we educate respondents about clients’ specific business objectives and work closely with them to explore how they would like for these objectives to be realised going forward. This process has seen incredible buy-in from respondents and stakeholders alike, and has produced powerful insights that have to lead real change in our clients’ businesses.

*If you want to learn a bit more about our research methods, be sure to check out our ethnographic research techniques blog!

Beautiful Deliverables help our research stand out

We all know it’s true – no matter how good the research may be, if it doesn’t look good you’ll have a hard time getting your colleagues to engage with it. That’s why our in-house design and videography teams work on each of our projects, ensuring that we produce debriefs and outputs that have cut through across your business. From vibrant personas to professionally shot video interviews or illustrated infographics – Hook’s deliverables always stand out (you can take a look at an example of our video work below).

Can Hook Research’s 4D Methodology reveal insights about your business?

Our 4D Methodology has been generating powerful insights for clients across the UK and around the world – and we’d love to chat with you about how are methodology might be applied to your research needs.

If you’d like to meet up for a coffee (our treat!) or if you’re just curious to see what else is going on at Hook Research – please don’t hesitate to get in touch: send us an email, connect on LinkedIn, or even drop us a DM on Twitter.


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