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Explore Your Competitors And New Business Opportunities With Qualitative Market Research

How Qualitative Market Research Can Help You

qualitative-market-researchQualitative market research uses non-quantitative research data to learn customers or potential customer’s perceptions of products and services. It can provide you information on why a person did or didn’t buy a particular product. It can also help in determining products that they do need, providing an opportunity to fill a gap in the market. Qualitative research can be applied to many other aspects of business as well, including how your competitors are viewed and if current marketing strategies are effective. Qualitative market research techniques tend to focus on smaller groups and lead the way for further quantitative research on a larger scale should it prove feasible.

Data Collection for Market Research

There are a number of ways that qualitative data can be collected for market research but before beginning, a few things have to be established. Before any research happens you must determine:

  • What is the purpose of the research? Is a new product being launched, or is your business expanding into a new area? Are you testing a new marketing concept or evaluating an advertising campaign? It may be you want to see how a competitor’s product is faring in comparison to your own. Whatever the reason is, it must be determined before your market research begins.
  • Do you know your target market? Is there a particular age group you want to gather data from, a group from a particular geographic area, income level, or something else? To be effective the research data must come from the right target group or it will do you little good. It could actually hurt you if you made decisions based on information that misled.

When the purpose and target group are determined, then you can select the qualitative data collection method that is the best fit for your purposes.

Data Collection Methods in Qualitative Market Research

Qualitative data collection for market research is usually based on ethnography and phenomenology. That is on observations and written or recorded narrative responses. Methods of data collection may include:

  • Open-ended surveys– These allow for a non-structured response to questions and are good for measuring consumer attitudes. They are also relatively inexpensive.
  • Interviews – Interview questions are open-ended in most cases. The interviewer will guide but avoid influencing responders.
  • Focus or discussion groups– similar to interviews but with a small group of people as opposed to just one, group interaction can be taken into account.
  • Observations– Often done in conjunction with interviews or focus groups.

Modern technology has changed the way many of the above techniques take place. An interview is likely to take place on line or through cell phones. Focus groups are also often online. The theory is still much the same and the goal remains to find out what consumers think and what motivates them. The next step in the qualitative market research process is data analysis.

Qualitative Data Analysis Methods for Market Research

Analysis of qualitative data for market research uses several techniques. Methods of analysis include the following:

  • Recursive abstraction -Basically data sets are summarized and those summaries are summarized again, until the data is in a distilled version more easily handled.
  • Coding – Coding interprets the data through an organizing process where data is taken in sections and labeled with a key word or words. This is an interpretive method that enables the interpretation to be introduced into some quantitative methods. Ideally qualitative data could be assigned a specific quantitative value, although this does have some critics.
  • Computer analysis – Often serves more to enhance an analyst’s efficiency than as a standalone method of analysis.

Qualitative market research techniques used along with quantitative methods can be especially effective. The ASA (American Statistical Association), has a section formed of members devoted to the use of statistics in marketing. Check them out at http://www.amstat.org/sections/mktg/index.html to learn more about statistics in marketing. You can also get to know more about qualitative business analysis and qualitative analysis in marketing with our help.

Qualitative market research, get it here!