Is the term MROC morphing?

When Brad Bortner, of Forrester, coined the term MROC (Market Research Online Community) in 2009, he defined it as a qualitative tool. This definition has been used widely to define qualitative communities, in contrast to online access panels (large, quant, and minimal community), and in contrast to community panels (large, qual and quant, with community). However, the difference between access panels, community panels, and MROCs may soon be a redundant distinction. One of the reasons that things are changing is that the platforms for conducting research via communities are changing. In the early days of using communities for research, there were essentially two types of platforms, discussion-based systems and panel based systems. Discussion-based systems, such as forums and bulletin-boards, tended to have good discussion tools, but they had few survey options and few community management tools. This made them ideal for small communities, e.g. 30 to 300, where the overhead of looking after queries, incentives, sampling etc were very simple. Companies that opted for this type of platform tended to stay with a qualitative type of research, making the term MROC, synonymous with both the type of research and the type of software used. Panel-based systems, such as community panels, […]