qualitative research

Quantitative Research vs. Qualitative Research

quantitative research

Before embarking on an entrepreneurial venture, launching a new service or piloting a new product, it is essential to perform some market research to ensure you are promoting your product effectively. Collecting market research data and information can be broken down into two methods – quantitative and qualitative research.

Each method involves a different process and execution, and both give the researchers differing information. It has been found that to gain an accurate description of the business environment, the consumers and the market, you need to conduct a combination of both quantitative and qualitative research.

Quantitative Market Research

Quantitative market research involves collecting data that is numerical or statistical. These values give a statistical analysis of the trends in the data, allowing for the researcher to compare and examine these movements.

Quantitative research usually involves a standardized set of questions that reach out to a large number of respondents. It is very structured in nature and can be achieved using various methods. RIM Marktforschung lists the following most common quantitative research methods:

  • Mail
  • Face-to-face
  • Telephone
  • Email
  • Online surveys

Quantitative data collection should be used prior to carrying out any new product launches, businesses or services. It helps to offer factual figures and data around specific interest groups and target markets, as well as also help secure investors. It can also aid managers or product developers to create forecasts, trends and revenues. These are all essential and key aspects to a successful product life.

Qualitative Market Research

Qualitative market research is different from quantitative in that it provides more of a behavioural data for consumer trends. It looks at consumer actions, opinions, wants and needs. It also assists the marketer in understanding why a consumer has acted a certain way and has purchased in the past. This type of market research usually does not follow a predetermined set of questions like quantitative research does; rather it explores a topic and follows more of a discussion pattern.

During the research, the topic discussion guide will evolve and reveal a significant amount of information. Once the discussion data is collected, it is analyzed by researchers for trends and topics. Some of the most common types of qualitative data collection include:

  • Focus groups containing (6 – 8 participants)
  • Mini group discussion (4 – 5 participants)
  • Triad (3 respondents)
  • Paired (2 respondents)
  • ‘One on one’ depth interview (1 respondent)

Qualitative market research is an essential part of the market research process as it can highlight and reveal very critical information about consumer behaviour. It looks at opinions of consumers and allows managers to alter and adapt their product or service idea and ensure customer satisfaction.

When to use which method

When deciding which method of market research to conduct first, one should look at some variables:
Has the project concept previously been studied? If no, qualitative research should be conducted first to enable the researcher to understand the consumer’s initial, unbiased reaction to the concept without influence. It can also reveal past experiences with similar products or services. This also allows the business developer to look at modifications and areas of improvement before launching the idea.

You should conduct quantitative research first in the case of when a project concept has been previously researched. That way you should have some initial information about the project and allow you to gain information to assess the feasibility of the project. In this case, quantitative market research also highlights areas of further investigation before you move onto the qualitative research.

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