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This week’s blog is from our intern, Logan Underwood

Market research – and the wider world of business research –  is on the whole, split into the segments of quantitative and qualitative research. The qualitative research process seeks to understand motivations, opinions, and nuances in behavior. These goals are accomplished through the use of small samples of people, focusing on face-to-face market research, and implementing comprehensive interviews. Contrastingly, with quantitative research, a company seeks to understand broader patterns within a target demographic and will implement surveys and study data from an extensive database of participants. In short, qualitative research measures the “how,” while quantitative research measures “how many.”

Companies used to specialize in one or the other form of market research, yet today, most market research is a composite of both methodologies, and a full-service market research company will use the improved findings to better understand the population under scrutiny.

Here is a brief overview of the types of insights typically gathered from qualitative and quantitative research.

Qualitative market research characteristics

The Key components of qualitative research are:

  • Qualitative research is focused on the individual, meaning that subjective ideas, such as motivations and opinions, are analyzed.
  • Smaller sample sizes – these may be taken from a subset who is critical to the core business question, or representative of the population as a whole.
  • The research is characterized by a more relaxed interaction between the market researcher and research participants – questions are in conversational format, and open-ended, prompting imaginative and impromptu responses.
  • A varied range of methodologies are used in qualitative research, including in-depth interviews, focus groups, and ethnographic research.
  • The object of qualitative research is to better grasp participants’ intuitive and emotional impressions –– to uncover more than “top of mind” responses.
  • Qualitative research data analysis is significantly more time consuming and labor intensive to properly conduct and synthesize. Data is analyzed though codifying transcripts into key insights and themes that facilitate finding market solutions and understanding of key issues.

Quantitative market research characteristics

The defining characteristics of quantitative research are:

  • Large sample sizes are often divided into subgroups such as geography, age, and job type.
  • Pre-developed questionnaires are frequently used to gather data, and all of the respondents within a subgroup are asked the same questions
  • Questionnaire responses are aggregated. In other words, individual responses are collated for use, where participants are not privy to others’ answers.
  • Much larger sample sizes are required to find patterns within a population and calculate statistical measurements
  • Collected data is then analyzed using statistics and other numerical measurements.
  • The results are used to benchmark against findings in the subgroup or industry.

InterQ, with a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods, uses distinct study parameters to design studies that capture insights from prospects and real customers. We combine and cross-reference our findings with larger statistical patterns within the market sample to provide the best possible solutions for clients’ needs.

What type of market research study design does your project require? Contact us for a proposal >