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  • S Hawkins

Introduction to Market Research

Updated: Jan 8

In the fast-paced business world, knowledge is power. As business people, you know that knowing your market is critical to success. However, the key to harnessing that power lies in the effective use of market research. Today, we'll look at the practical applications of market research and how it can help drive your business forward.

Qualitative and Quantitative

Qualitative and quantitative research are two different but complementary approaches to collecting and analysing data in the field of research and inquiry.

A general guideline for choosing between qualitative and quantitative data is:

  • Qualitative: Techniques for exploring and understanding, e.g. perceptions, beliefs, behaviour and motivations. They help us understand 'Why?'

  • Quantitative: Techniques designed to measure and provide robust evidence. , confirm or test a theory or hypothesis, use quantitative research. Measuring 'How many?'

Qualitative research

Quantitative research

Involves collecting and analysing non-numerical data to understand concepts, opinions, or experiences. It can be used to gain deep insights into a problem or to develop new ideas for research.

Typically conducted with a small sample size using flexible techniques, allowing the research to adapt to participant feedback.

Delivers very rich, detailed insights from longer sessions with a small number of participants.

However, the small sample means the findings are directional, not statistically significant.

Results are typically presented as themes, illustrated with quotes, images and video clips.

Is the process of collecting and analysing numerical data. It can be used to identify patterns and averages, make predictions, test causal relationships, and generalize results to larger populations.

Conducted with large sample size to give more robust findings that can be analysed by sub groups to reveal differences by gender, age etc.

Participants are all asked the same questions (typically tick box style).

Results are typically presented in percentages, tables and charts.

This delivers consistency, but lacks the flexibility of qualitative techniques. It is best used when issues are already understood and we know what to ask about / measure.

Examples of techniques used:

Qualitative techniques

Quantitative techniques

​Focus groups

In-depth interviews

Online communities

Accompanied activities, e.g., shopping and website use

Telephone surveys

Street interviews

Online surveys

Mystery shopping

Qualitative and quantitative techniques each have their strengths and weaknesses. Often, researchers use a mixed methods approach that combines both qualitative and quantitative research to gain a more comprehensive understanding. This integration allows researchers to benefit from the strengths of each approach and produce a well-rounded and robust analysis. For example, first exploring an issue, then measuring the most important aspects. Other times, we may measure first, then explore selected areas in more depth.

Selecting the right tool for the right job The starting point any market research project should always be the information need (the research objectives), rather than an idea of 'doing focus groups'.

We know it can be daunting to navigate the world of market research, but you don't have to do it alone. Our expertise is at your disposal, and we're always ready to advise you on which approaches are best for your project. There's no obligation. We believe that educating our customers is part of our commitment to excellence.

We're here to provide you with the knowledge and tools you need to make informed decisions and move your business forward.

Please get in touch if you have any questions or would like more information.

Stephanie Hawkins

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