What’s the difference between qualitative market research and quantitative market research?
October 10, 2011 Leave a comment
When people think of market research, people typically think of a group of people sitting around a table talking about which logo looks best. Although this is important, it only represents a small portion of market research and what market research can do.
Actually, there are two types of market research: qualitative market research and quantitative market research. Let’s explore these.
Qualitative market research (sometimes referred simply as “Qual”) is any personal interview conducted among a small number of individuals simultaneously. The idea of qualitative market research is that the research relies more on group discussion than on a series of directed questions to generate data. Renata Tesch in her book “Qualitative research: analysis types and software tools” names over 40 types of qualitative market research. Although each that she mentions is unique in their own ways, I believe that is just complicating things for those not in research. Examples of qualitative market research are the traditional focus group previously mentioned, but also Diads and Triads (2 on 1 & 3 on 1). Some have experienced one-on-one interview, like mall-intercepts. The idea of this type of research is to get verbal feedback about something that is subjective. I recently heard somebody call this as “marketing research” with the idea of that this form of research is to investigate parts of the 4Ps like the product and promotion. To read a little more about the 4Ps click here.
Quantitative market research (sometimes referred simply as “Quant”) is research that is done “on paper” like a survey. The main point on all of this is that it is all statistically relevant. There are generally four types of quantitative market research. I like the way Dr. R. Ouyang from Kennesaw State University breaks these out, although it is a little formally presented.
- Descriptive: Descriptive research involves collecting data in order to test hypotheses or answer questions concerning the current status of the subjects of the study. It determines and reports the way things are.
- Correlational research attempts to determine whether and to what degree a relationship exists between two or more quantifiable variables. However, it never establishes a cause-effect relationship. The relationship is expressed by correlation coefficient, which is a number between .00 and 1.00.
- Cause-comparative: Causal-comparative research: establishes the cause-effect relationship, compares the relationship, but the cause is not manipulated, such as “gender.”
- Experimental: Experimental research establishes the cause-effect relationship and does the comparison, but the cause is manipulated. The cause, independent variable makes the difference. The effect, dependent variable is dependent on the independent variable.
Quantitative market research is heavily used at the beginning of developing a new product or service to determine customers, market depth and price, among others.
By know what you are trying to accomplish, then you can determine what type of research needs to be done. By doing the appropriate type of research for your needs, the return on it will benefit your business more than the money you put into it.
How do you use these types of research in your business?