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Qualitative vs. quantitative market research surveys

Posted on 10/30/2019 by Elizabeth in category: survey software articles

Two ways to approach market research are by conducting either a qualitative or quantitative research survey. You can think of qualitative data or information as unstructured information (i.e. observations, focus group comments, etc.) that's summarized subjectively instead of mathematically. Conversely, think of quantitative data or information as structured (numerical) data that you can plug into a spreadsheet and analyze with statistical methods. Here, we'll explore quantitative vs. qualitative online survey software in a bit more detail.

Quantitative Research

Quantitative research is the measuring and quantifying of information using statistical and numerical analysis. You work from a set of prescribed variables to sample a broadly based target group for measuring:

* Attitudes
* Opinions
* Behaviors

Then, you quantify the results.

Using tools like longitudinal studies, survey software, systemic behavioral observations and interviews, researchers ask the sample group quantitative questions and incorporate terms like "how many, how long, and how much." They're left with a broad set of data they can analyze and apply to a larger population.

Why Choose a Quantitative Approach

A quantitative survey tool, at the most basic level, is designed for taking hard, numerical measures of research question responses like:

* Magnitude
* Frequency
* Direction of change

Quantitative research approaches are somewhat rigid.

The questions you ask survey respondents need to stay the same from individual to individual, day-to-day and so forth. Any research script changes used by the interviewers, or the survey processes or the written questionnaire could lead to data that can't be analyzed statistically or data that's not a genuine measurement of the research question.

Qualitative Research

Looks at data that frequently describes subjective and emotional responses using words instead of numbers. Qualitative research tries to explore the reasons for specific behaviors and choices by delving into:

* Opinions
* Motivations
* Rationales

Its approach is more open-ended than quantitative surveys and favors market research:

* Focus groups
* Interviews in malls, homes and schools
* Observations

Qualitative research is typically used with smaller groups, but studies its subjects in more depth. The two different methods have their own advocates, in part because researchers often specialize in one area or the other.

Why Choose a Qualitative Approach

Qualitative surveys examine the softer research measures, like "opinions" that are expressed in the open-ended approach or the "why or why not" reasons individuals have for their quantitative question responses that don't ask for a rationale or reason.

Interviewers play an especially essential role in a qualitative survey tool that's administered over the phone or in person. The way you phrase the questions, the rapport between you and the respondent and the intonation of spoken questions can have an essential impact on data direction and quality.

For surveys that cover complex subjects, it's crucial you understand the topic well for you to probe and ask in-depth questions effectively if respondents are reluctant to offer quality answers.

You can conduct both qualitative and quantitative market research first, But, you should conduct qualitative research first if your project concept hasn't been researched previously. And, you should conduct quantitative research first if you have previously researched your project concept to some extent and you've absorbed some initial data from previous research.

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