Quantitative or Qualitative Market Research – Which Type of Research is for You?

Are you planning on using market research for your business? If yes, you need to know more about the two most common types of research, namely qualitative and quantitative research.  Let’s analyze both these methodological groups of research and find out which is a perfect fit for your business.

What is Qualitative Research?

This type of research can reveal why your customers behave in the way that they do and can also describe barriers that you will have to break to change their behaviour. With qualitative research you can explore why a group of people think, feel or do something in a particular way. Though you can explore such issues, you cannot obtain statistically robust findings from qualitative research.

How is Qualitative Research Done?

This type of research usually follows a structured discussion guide to make sure that all the relevant topics are covered in a discussion. The questioning is usually open and the participants in the group are encouraged to state the reasons for their responses. The discussion usually reveals the views, behavioural triggers, motivations and barriers of the group. Through the focus group or interview, you can find out reactions to your new products, printed material, messages and design features. You can also generate new concepts from the group.

In-depth interviews and focus groups are the two most commonly used qualitative approaches. A focus group will usually include 5-8 participants and will be guided by a moderator. In-depth interviews are one-to-one interviews that are carried out over the phone or face-to-face. In most cases, the audio of the qualitative research will be recorded and then transcribed.

This data will then be analyzed by the moderator. At times, focus groups can also be video recorded and viewed in real-time at specially-designed venues. After the completion of the research, a presentation/report of the findings along with verbatim quotes is given to the participants.

What is Quantitative Research?

This type of research employees statistical analysis to determine the results of how a group of people think, behave or feel in a certain way. For example, if you want to know how many customers support a change in your service/product, you can use quantitative research to find out how strongly they support the change and if your business should go ahead and make the change. Quantitative research can also be used to find out if your customers are satisfied and reveal what is important to them. You can also identify the priorities and needs of your customers.

How is Quantitative Research Done?

A structured questionnaire with mostly closed questions is used to conduct quantitative research. The respondents will select their answers from a given list of probable responses. At times, a range of question types can be used. For instance, ranking questions can evaluate customer preferences, while rating type of questions can measure customer satisfaction. Quantitative research can be either paper-based (postal survey) or computerised (online/telephonic survey). In recent times, computerized surveys can also be conducted with a laptop or PDA for interviews at the store or on the street.

Since quantitative research is based on statistics, the sample size is important. 30 is the minimum number of responses for any area of study, however a larger sample size can give you more reliable data. The findings of quantitative research are usually presented in the form of tables and graphs.

Which type of market research suits the needs of your business? Will you opt for Quantitative or Qualitative market research? Let us know by leaving a comment in the box below. We, at Outsource2india love to hear from you!

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