Editor's note: Susan Fader is president of Fader and Associates, a New York research company.

As detailed in articles in Quirk’s and elsewhere, Jon Puleston of GMI has done extensive work to integrate gamification into online quantitative research. Can his work and that of others who champion the addition of game-like elements to marketing research provide new ways of thinking about qualitative? We think so.

While many qualitative researchers point to the projective techniques that have long been used during focus groups (or IDIs or phone interviews or even online focus groups) as proof that game-like elements are already present in qualitative research, more can be done.

Gamification in qualitative research does not have to focus exclusively on personification techniques or even on techniques only used during the research session. Participant interaction with a qualitative research study can begin before the session begins, so why wait until the discussion starts to begin the game?

We have a number of suggestions for how to get things going sooner that we have successfully integrated into qualitative research we have fielded with different demographics both in and outside the U.S. These techniques not only make the research fun for the participants but can also ignite excitement in the recruiters, clients and us as qualitative researchers.

In order to identify and qualify the “right” participants, we have to ask questions. But the traditional method of using a laundry-list of forced-choice questions, with multiple answers that need to be rated on scales, can be tedious for both the person being screened and the recruiter, which can negatively impact the quality of the recruit.

Puleston has talked about personalizing and emotionalizing questions for online surveys and we can do the same in qualitative research screening. It can help make the recruiting process more interesting f...