Market research – and the wider world of business research – is predominantly divided into the segments of qualitative and quantitative research. A company commissions surveys in quantitative research and seeks to understand broader patterns within a target demographic and will study data from an extensive database of participants.
Qualitative research, rather, focuses on face-to-face market research. Using smaller samples of people, and through comprehensive interviews, the qualitative research process seeks to understand opinions, nuances in behavior, and motivations.
These two forms of market research used to be conducted separately and companies specialized in one or the other. Today most market research is now a combination of both methods, and researchers use the data to better understand the population being studied.
Here is a brief breakdown of what you could expect to learn from quantitative and qualitative research.
Market research: Quantitative
The defining characteristics of quantitative research are:
- Large sample sizes are often divided into subgroups, such as age, geography, and job type
- Pre-prepared questionnaires are often used to gather data, and all of the respondents within a subgroup are asked the same questions
- Questionnaire responses are collated. In other words, an aggregate of individual responses are used, where participants do not have access to others’ answers
- Questions are intend to probe into more rational beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours
- The data collected is then analyzed using statistics and numerical measurements
- The results are used to benchmark against findings in the industry or subgroup.
Market Research: Qualitative
The Key components of qualitative research consist of:
- Smaller sample sizes – may be representative of the population as a whole or taken from a subset who is critical to the core business question
- qualitative research is individual-oriented, meaning that subjective ideas, such as opinions, motivations, and ideas, are analyzed
- The research is characterized by a more informal interaction between research participants and the market researcher – questions are open-ended, and conversational format, prompting impromptu and imaginative responses
- The goal of qualitative research is to better grasp participants’ emotional and intuitive impressions –– to get beyond “top of mind” responses.
- A diverse range of methodologies are used in qualitative research, ranging from focus groups, in-depth interviews, and ethnographic research
- qualitative research data analysis is much more labour intensive, and time consuming to properly synthesize and conduct. Data is analyzed though codifying transcripts into themes and key details that facilitates understanding of key issues and finding market solutions.
InterQ, with a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods, uses specific study parameters to design studies that capture specific insights from real customers and prospects. We cross-reference and combine our findings with larger statistical patterns within the market sample in order to provide the best possible solutions for clients’ needs.