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Market research – and really the business research world at large – is divided into two segments: quantitative and qualitative research. Commissioning surveys, studying data from a large database of respondents, and analyzing broader patterns within a population of customers falls under the domain of quantitative research companies. In contrast, qualitative research dominates the in-person market research sector. This kind of research attempts to understand a smaller sample’s opinions, deviations in behaviour, and motivating factors through comprehensive interviews.

The status quo used to be that a market research company would only specialize in one form of research, retaining the notion that quantitative and qualitative methods should be kept separate. Now, market research encompasses both methods, using data collected in both methods to form a complete picture of the population being studied.

Below is a brief outline of what quantitative and qualitative research might teach you about the market that interests you.

Market research: Quantitative

Some of the essential components of quantitative research are:

  • A large pool of respondents, divided into subgroups such as age, location, or position title
  • Pre-prepared questionnaires and surveys constitute the principal means of data collection, and all subgroups of a sample are posed identical questions
  • All responses are individual – respondents do not know other participants’ answers
  • The questions address surface beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours instead of probing deeper
  • Data is examined using statistics and numerical measurements
  • The results are valuable for comparing to findings presented by the industry/subgroup

Market Research: Qualitative

In qualitative research, the defining characteristics are:

  • Sample sizes are smaller – either a microcosm of the entire population or selected from a subset that is important to the core business question
  • Research that examines subjective ideas, such as opinions, motivations, and ideas; in other words, person-centred
  • More informal interactions between participant and researcher, leading to spontaneous and creative responses
  • Delves into emotional and intuitive responses, getting beyond shallow, “top of mind” responses
  • Employs many different methodologies, including focus groups, in-depth interviews, and ethnographic research
  • Data is analyzed by people, not computers; the information from transcripts is coded into themes and insights

InternQ, as you might have guessed, uses a unique combination of both quantitative and qualitative methods to conduct market research. We work on a case-by-case basis: we’ll design the study to capture insights from customers and prospects alike, and combine these results with larger statistical patterns within the market sample, all based on the specific study parameters.

Does your project require some quantitative and quantitative market research? Contact us for a proposal >