The following blog post was written by Sara Cruz, Research Analyst at RMS.

Market research can be broken down into quantitative research, qualitative research, or a combination of both.

Simply stated, quantitative research is the process of collecting and analyzing numerical data, while qualitative data involves collecting and analyzing non-numerical data.

What does this mean?

Think of quantitative research as numbers and think of qualitative research as thoughts and perceptions.

You can use quantitative research for things such as:

  • Generalizing large populations
  • Investigating relationships
  • Examining cause-and-effect
  • Finding averages
  • Making predictions

You can use qualitative research for things such as:

  • Discovering thoughts, feelings, opinions, and perceptions
  • Testing new products
  • Validating concepts
  • Understanding strengths and weakness
  • Learning purchase decision dynamics

Common types of quantitative research are online surveys, telephone surveys, and mail or paper surveys, while some common types of qualitative research are focus groups and in-depth interviews.

Advantages of quantitative research include:

  • It’s reliable
  • It’s repeatable
  • It allows for benchmarking and tracking
  • Data can be collected quickly

Advantages of qualitative research include:

  • It’s an open-ended process, (the interviewer can probe and request more detail)
  • It offers very specific insights
  • Smaller sample sizes can be used
  • It provides data that is useful for practical application because it uncovers the “why” behind the “what”
  • It uncovers themes from individual experiences

If you are interested in learning more about how quantitative or qualitative research can assist your needs, reach out to us. We are happy to help.

RMS is a professional market research firm that can help you successfully navigate these changing times. If you are interested in learning more about our research capabilities, please contact Sandy Baker, Vice President of Corporate Development, at or by calling 1-866-567-5422.