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How inVibe Collects the Authentic, Unscripted, Confessional Participant Story

'inVibing' research to get richer in-depth participant insights

By Hannah Brooks

Tue May 31 2022

inVibe turns traditional qualitative research on its ear through our easy and accessible Listening Platform. Our platform provides a solution for participants to share their stories in their own time, on their own terms, and without fear of judgment by eliminating the need for a moderator.

inVibe has created a convenient, efficient, and systematic platform to collect these important participant stories. We capture narratives that address our clients’ objectives with our thoughtful and intentional study design, focused on the participant experience and leveraging our team’s expertise.

Study Design

Tripp Maloney, one of our Senior Analysts, shared in a recent blog that the goal of our Voice Response Studies is to prompt respondents to answer a series of questions thoughtfully and thoroughly. We specifically craft our prompts to be thought-provoking and to encourage respondents to pull from personal experience in their unbiased and authentic voice. Starting with the inVibe Prompt Library, which contains thousands of carefully crafted prompts we’ve asked over the years and measured to determine which delivered the most robust response, we design each prompt to meet the objective of our clients.

An example prompt might be something like the following: “Please describe how your condition impacts your day-to-day life. What frustrations or challenges do you experience? And what have you done to adjust to these challenges?” We phrase the prompts as a series of questions to be linear, easy-to-understand, and reflective of how respondents have approached similar questions in prior studies in order to solicit a complete narrative around a central theme.

Participant Experience


We collect data in a way familiar to participants: it’s just like leaving a voicemail. Our studies use a real human voice to read the prompts aloud, like the recording in a voicemail box. Participants respond, often with a goal in mind of what to say, but then they may start to ramble. This shift to stream-of-consciousness may result in a “confessional” way of talking. ‘The Confessional Effect’ allows the participant  to speak more openly and authentically, touching on the questions in the original prompt before expanding in a less-prepared, more-improvisational manner. This stream of consciousness is also free from judgment as respondents are more able to quasi-monologue their stories.

Listen to how this caregiver feels as they reflect on the naturalness and ease of using our automated voice response study:

“[When] I did an automated interview for the first time, I was actually surprised how natural it felt to answer a question with an automated response. So, while the moderated response was very normal and typical and natural, I think that then trying the automated response, I was pleasantly surprised to how easy it was to answer questions and then hit accept. Because I think with new technology now, and even just with leaving voicemails, it was easy to answer a question and leave a message kind of idea, how you can leave people voice messages. It was not out of the ordinary to do an automated response with the automated interview. While the moderator was natural, I was pleasantly surprised at how natural it was to do the automated response as well.”


One of the unique aspects of 'inVibing’ research is that it is, by default, carefully controlled for consistency since the questions are pre-programmed. This highly structured way of conducting qualitative research  allows for responses between participants to be directly compared. It gives our analysts a quantitative element along with the rich qualitative data to draw actionable insights from including less obvious themes that are as notable for their absence as for their presence.

To get a better sense of our methodology, listen to how a patient answers the question “If your experience living with this condition were a book, what would its title be and why? And what would you name the chapter you are currently in?” Notice how she elaborates on why she’s called the book “The Journey to the Summit,” explaining the metaphor for her journey with rheumatoid arthritis, but also rationalizing the decision for her titles as she goes into detail. You can hear how she not only answers the prompt but gives in-depth descriptions.

To demonstrate how much of her answer is devoted to answering and expanding, we’ve highlighted direct answers in BOLD and elaborations in ITALICS.

I live near the mountains, so I would say I would call this "The Journey to the Summit," the summit of the mountain being like having a great life, and living the best life you can. You know, when you're climbing and hiking there are parts of it where you're like, "I feel amazing. I'm killing this hike, I'm doing it." And you feel great. Then there are some parts of the hike where you're down, you're tired, you're hungry, you're not sure if you're going to make it to the top. I think that that very much symbolizes arthritis, because there are days when I forget I have it, and I do everything I've ever wanted. And then there are days, or weeks, that go by where you're just debilitated. You can't move, you can't do what you want to be, and you're wondering if it's always going to be like that. So, I think it is an up and down, but at the end of the day, when you get to the top at the end of your great life, you'll realize that you made it, you could do it, and you had a great journey. And so, I think that that's kind of what I would call it. I would say the chapter I'm in now is like "A Restart of the Ascent" because I'm still going up, but the last two years have been really tough. I've had a lot of RA flares, I couldn't get it under control. I had to take a ton of Prednisone, had some other medical issues come into it, and so it's just been a really rough two to two-and-a-half years. And so, I finally just found this Humira that's working for me. I'm finally off Prednisone, which is amazing, so I feel like I'm starting to feel more normal and forget that I have arthritis every day. So, I'm starting that climb back up, where I'm feeling great, and I've got this. And I'm going to crush it.”

Patients are not the only ones who go into great detail. Listen to this caregiver answer the question, “Imagine if you could travel back in time and meet the person you were when you or your loved one were first diagnosed. What advice would you give them? How would you describe to that person how you feel now?” Here, her emotions come out as she reflects on a touchy subject and grapples with some of the decisions she’s made and the realities she’s faced as the parent of a child with epilepsy.

Once again, we’ve highlighted direct answers in BOLD and elaborations in ITALICS.

“This is a very heavy question. I would just tell myself that to just keep searching, to keep fighting, to keep learning, and doing what's best for my daughter. I feel we have done so. I would advise myself to... I guess I would just maybe give what medications we're on now because the journey has been difficult because she wasn't seizure-free if you will. And now, because of the combination of medication that she's on after years of searching, now we're in a good place. So maybe I would just tell myself, try these medications at this dosage, because this is what works for her. I would also tell myself to be patient when it comes to friends that are outgrowing her and she doesn't communicate with the same way anymore because she can't keep up with them.They're at a different level. That's been hard, I think on me. She has a very good circle of friends, but kids are kids and they notice the differences and she's just different and they know. And so I would say, be patient with that. But other than that, I mean, it's been a difficult journey, but we've always just done what's best for our daughter and we've always just taken on the next challenge fully and done very well with it, I feel. So maybe just the medication part would be the only thing that would be really heavy for me to say to myself.

In both instances of patient and caregiver, we hear so much more detail and have so much more clarity. They describe significantly more than just what the prompt asks, which helps our researchers understand the full story and tease out linguistic nuances more effectively.

Listening and Learning

Through inVibe’s proprietary technology and  methodology, we are able to decode the human voice by providing participants the opportunity to tell their story in their own words without fear of judgment or without worry of expectation. In so doing, we challenge the norms of traditional qualitative research. You can hear participants’ experiences and feel their emotions, and that is exactly what we strive for at inVibe: to listen with empathy.

Don’t take our word for it though, contact us and we will show you how it works and why it can give your insights an edge.

Thanks for reading!

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