A prior market research blog post (authored by our guest blogger, Mark Dengler, President of Research & Marketing Strategies) gave the following explanation of qualitative research.
Qualitative Research is used to explore and understand people’s beliefs, experiences, attitudes, behavior and interactions. It generates non-numerical data – for example a customer’s explanation of “very satisfied” rather than a “10” rating using a numerical scale. Techniques like focus groups and in-depth interviews are commonly used in qualitative research fieldwork to document a variety of experiences, or in studies about how an organization is functioning, revealing views and experiences of test subjects.
Qualitative research is usually the first step in market research and usually involves follow-up quantitative research. Qualitative research can include, but is not be limited to:
- Focus Groups
- Mystery Shopping
- Intercept Surveys
- In-Depth Interviews (IDIs)
If you are unfamiliar with qualitative market research and how it relates to a process, see the image below. RMS, a market research company in Syracuse NY, uses this flowchart in our business development materials to new clients. It helps walk them through the process of commissioning qualitative research from start (RFP) to finish (report). Obviously, all qualitative research projects will not follow the same path, but most can be summarized through this graphical process.