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How KR&I Used dscout to Seed a New Approach to Parenting

A three-person research team tackled the evolving topic of parenting in today's media, both to create a valid book and to better advise companies in the media industry.

Words by Ben Wiedmaier, Visuals by Jarred Kolar

Kresnicka Research & Insights investigates the myriad ways media and fandom intersect to impact the consumer marketplace, advising brands of all size on ways to adapt and engage. Susan Kresnicka, principal and founder, partnered with faculty from the University of Southern California to investigate how parents are evolving their approaches given today's media saturation. The team used dscout to inform a forthcoming book about the topic.

The Opportunity

The team—both as parents themselves and as researchers—recognized a gap in the research literature. Learning more about the actual lived experience of parents—what they perceive as "good" media for their children, how they were preparing to introduce devices (or not), and the nuances across parents were the drivers.

"The pandemic put this advice about controlling screen time into a crisis, as all major activities in our lives were now being conducted on screen. What was once seen as a socially isolating technology was now understood as our lifeline to the world."

"That makes clear what many of us already knew, that it's not about our screens, but what we do with them that matters. What we didn't know was how parents in the US today actually feel about navigating media with their children, and that's where dscout enters the picture."

Dr. Henry Jenkins
University of Southern California

Capturing open-ended, video, and scale data would give the team the breadth of insights to feel more confident in their conclusions and recommendations. dscout's platform was a perfect fit.

The Approach

Diversity—both in terms of participants and approaches—was critical to the team. As such, they leveraged three of dscout's tools: Recruit, Diary, and Live.

"It was really important to us that we have a diverse sample, diverse in a wide range of ways, and that our data has some real breadth to it. We also knew that we wanted to have really deep conversations with parents and be able to contextualize their approaches to media within their lives more broadly, within their value systems, and within the household dynamics. We knew that basically, we wanted it all, we wanted both breadth and depth, and we knew we could get that by using Recruit and Diary and Live on dscout."

Susan Kresnicka

After recruiting a group of parents, the team used Diary to probe on a number of media and parenting-related areas: impacts from COVID, general parent approach, to concerns about specific forms of media. Diary was able to support all these research activities in a single project, which streamlined the fieldwork and kept the team organized. The team then selected a smaller sample from the Diary study to participate in 1:1 Live interviews. Together, Diary and Live created a powerful triangulation force, offering the team the opportunity to add context in specific areas and offer the chance for participants to respond and share more.

"We collected detailed stories about our participants' own childhoods, the parenting philosophy in the household they grew up in. We talked a lot about how their overall parenting philosophy relates to their media approach with their children. It was so interesting to see how sometimes those two aligned with one another and how sometimes they did not. We were able to really contextualize their overall approach to parenting and media holistically within their lives, their values, their household dynamics."

Susan Kresnicka

The Impact

The team is currently analyzing, synthesizing, and writing up their findings and recommendations. The project should produce a book that is grounded in the lived experiences of parents and offers actionable, reasonable, and sound advice on how best to support their children in a media landscape that will only continue to evolve and grow.

"Much like we use dscout in usability testing to make sure that the products we build and the features that we create are going to intersect with the way people actually need to use the things that we're creating intersects with their life in the way that it needs to, we're trying to do the same thing here. We want to make sure that our advice for parents is really syncing with the way their experience as parents unfolds."

"Finally, we are using our dscout data to humanize this topic. We have this beautiful open-ended data, all of all these vignettes from the in-depth interviews, and we're going to use them to bring people's stories to life and make sure that it's accessible and really human when we bring the book to market."

Susan Kresnicka

Have questions about using dscout for research? Let's talk!

Ben is the product evangelist at dscout, where he spreads the “good news” of contextual research, helps customers understand how to get the most from dscout, and impersonates everyone in the office. He has a doctorate in communication studies from Arizona State University, studying “nonverbal courtship signals”, a.k.a. flirting. No, he doesn’t have dating advice for you.

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