A resurgence of interest in qualitative approaches to research in online consumer behaviour studies has spawned a need for structured approaches in the use of appropriate research techniques. A mixed method approach to research questions can often lead to a greater clarity of answer as well as exposing the researcher to new ‘tools of enquiry’. This paper describes a mixed method approach using qualitative techniques to pre-test software and task design for a field experiment and to pre-test a questionnaire for data collection. In the study, think-aloud protocol (TAP) sessions were adopted to test software. The study required participants to complete an online shopping task and thereafter complete a questionnaire. Twelve TAP sessions were carried out. The sessions enabled the researchers to verify both the propriety of the task and the face validity of the questionnaire. Here, the operation of the TAP methodology and a description of its use as an observational technique in testing an online questionnaire and online task-based research are presented.
: This research was supported by the Irish Social Sciences Platform (ISSP), funded under the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions, administered by the HEA and co-funded under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).