Rapid Methods Paper
Rapid profiling techniques are gaining in popularity as Sensory and Consumer researchers try to reduce the time and cost associated with running conventional descriptive analysis.
The most widely discussed Rapid Methods are Free Choice Profiling, Flash Profiling and Napping.
Most of the time spent in QDA based descriptive profiling is in panel training particularly bringing the panel to full consensus about the descriptive lexicon and its relationship to the sensory characteristics of the product set. The Rapid Techniques remove this step by either avoiding a descriptive stage altogether (Napping) or allowing individual assessors to create and use their own unique lexicon (Flash and Free Choice Profiling).
QDA based profiling also requires that assessors are trained in the use of rating scales (usually unstructured line scales) so that they can use these scales to record the intensity of the individual sensory characteristics in the context of the test product set. So, the use of rating scales to produce reproducible and repeatable data that discriminates test products is also an area of focus in panel training. Again the Rapid Methods seek to shorten this training time: in Napping, no scales are used; Free Choice profiling accepts that assessors will all use scales differently and deals with this in its data analysis; and Flash profiling uses ranking rather than rating scales to measure relative intensities of sensory characteristics.
This white paper gives a practical guide as to how to carry out Napping, Flash and Free Choice Profiling and the questions that they are most suitable for answering. It also includes things to watch out for and references for further reading.