Market Research

What is Qualitative Research?

What is What is Qualitative Research?

Market Research is a systematic, objective collection and analysis of data about a particular target market, competition, and/or environment. It always incorporates some form of data collection (qualitative or quantitative) whether it be secondary research or primary market research which is collected direct from a respondent.

The purpose of any market research project is to achieve an increased understanding of the subject matter. With markets throughout the world becoming increasingly more competitive, market research is now on the agenda of many organizations, whether they be large or small.

Qualitative market research provides an understanding of how or why things are as they are. For example, a Market Researcher may stop a consumer who has purchased a particular type of bread and ask him or her why that type of bread was chosen. Unlike quantitative research there are no fixed set of questions but, instead, a topic guide (or discussion guide) is used to explore various issues in-depth. The discussion between the interviewer (or moderator) and the respondent is largely determined by the respondents’ own thoughts and feelings.

There are various types of qualitative market research methodologies. Research of this sort is mostly done face-to-face. One of the best-known techniques is the market research group discussion (or focus group). These are usually made up of 6 to 8 targeted respondents, a research moderator whose role is to ask the required questions, draw out answers, and encourage discussion, and an observation area usually behind one way mirrors, and video and/or audio taping facilities.

In addition, qualitative market research can also be conducted on a ‘one on one’ basis i.e. an in-depth market research interview with a trained executive interviewer and one respondent, a paired depth (two respondents), a triad (three respondents) and a mini group discussion (4-5 respondents).

The various types of qualitative market research methodologies are summarized below.

Market Research Depth Interviews
A single respondent is interviewed based on various themes and topics (can be conducted either face to face or via the phone).

Market Research Paired Depths
The same as a depth interview but there are two respondents. Particularly useful when ideas need to be ‘bounced off’ one another.

Conducted with three respondents.

Market Research Mini-Groups
Contains 4-5 respondents.

Focus Groups or Group Discussions
Normally contain 8 respondents. With groups you benefit from the interaction between the different personalities.

Market Research Observation
Observing a respondent in their ‘natural’ environment.

To elicit new ideas and to evaluate ideas.

Determine the best tools to use for your qualitative research and find a market research company that understands your objectives and has a provent track record of success with other clients.

Steven M. Smith, Owner, graduated The Art Institute of Vancouver for Web Design & Interactive Media, Graphic & Web Design and has been feature...