Author: Jim Riley Last updated: Sunday 23 September, 2012
In terms of data capture and analysis there are two main
types of market research:
• Qualitative Research
• Quantitative Research
Qualitative Research is about investigating the features of a market through
in-depth research that explores the background and context for decision making.
There are two main qualitative methods - depth interviews and focus groups.
However qualitative research can also include techniques such as usability
testing, brainstorming sessions and "vox pop" surveys.
Depth interviews are the main form of qualitative research in most business
markets. Here an interviewer spends time in a one-on-one interview finding
out about the customer's particular circumstances and their individual opinions.
The majority of business depth interviews take place in person, which has
the added benefit that the researcher visits the respondent's place of work
and gains a sense of the culture of the business. However, for multi-national
studies, telephone depth interviews, or even on-line depth interviews may
be more appropriate.
Feedback is through a presentation that draws together findings across a
number of depth interviews. In some circumstances, such as segmentation studies,
identifying differences between respondents may be as important as the views
that customers share.
The main alternative to depth interviews - focus group discussions - are
typically too difficult or expensive to arrange with busy executives. However,
on-line techniques increasing get over this problem.
Focus groups are the mainstay of consumer research. Here several customers
are brought together to take part in a discussion led by a researcher (or
"moderator"). These groups are a good way of exploring a topic in
some depth or to encourage creative ideas from participants.
Group discussions are rare in business markets, unless the customers are
small businesses. In technology markets where the end user may be a consumer,
or part of a team evaluating technology, group discussions can be an effective
way of understanding what customers are looking for, particularly at more
creative stages of research.