When to Use Qualitative Research

Qualitative research can help you…

  • Develop hypotheses for further testing and for quantitative questionnaire development,
  • Understand the feelings, values, and perceptions that underlie and influence behavior
  • Identify customer needs
  • Capture the language and imagery customers use to describe and relate to a product, service, brand, etc.
  • Perceptions of marketing/communication messages
  • Information obtained in quantitative study and to better understand the context/meaning of the data
  • Generate ideas for improvements and/or extensions of a product, line, or brand
  • Uncover potential strategic directions for branding or communications programs
  • Understand how people perceive a marketing message or communication piece
  • Develop parameters (i.e., relevant questions, range of responses) for a quantitative study

Situations where qualitative research is often used:

  • New product idea generation and development
  • Investigating current or potential product/service/brand positioning and marketing strategy
  • Strengths and weaknesses of products/brands
  • Understanding dynamics of purchase decision dynamics
  • Studying reactions to advertising and public relations campaigns, other marketing communications, graphic identity/branding, package design, etc.
  • Exploring market segments, such as demographic and customer groups
  • Studying emotions and attitudes on societal and public affairs issues
  • Assessing the usability of websites or other interactive products or services
  • Understanding perceptions of a company, brand, category and product
  • Determining consumer language as a preliminary step to develop a quantitative survey

Do not expect qualitative research to…

  • Count, measure or offer statistical validation
  • Determine the best product concept or price point; or establish the importance of specific customer needs or satisfaction criteria
  • Be a substitute for quantitative research because of time and/or budgetary constraints when quantitative evaluation is critical

Still want to learn more about Qualitative Research?

At QRCA, our common language is all things qualitative.


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