Types of Research
Qualitative research is not about collecting hard facts and figures. Instead, the research technique is about gaining insight and understanding on complex issues. It uses open-ended questions that draw out the breadth of opinion on a subject. It is sometimes appropriate to then quantify this insight with quantitative research.
At Dynamic Markets, qualitative research is focused on understanding buyer behaviour and probing the underlying motivation behind this. Across the world, typically we find that there is much commonality in motivation between different countries, but that there are significant differences in the actions taken by buyers of different nationalities, due to the structural and channel differences in each country.
Also, SMEs differ hugely from corporates in the way they buy. Our research tells us that identifying SMEs that do what they say they will do is key, whereas clients need to unravel often quite complex buying behaviour that takes place within larger companies.
The qualitative research we do is conducted by mature, highly experienced interviewers who are able to engage senior managers in detailed discussion about their business. In addition to obtaining sensitive quantitative information, they are also able to engage the respondent in detailed discussion about their buying behaviour and underlying motivation, frequently covering areas of which the respondent themselves had not previously been consciously aware.
The project is typically run in at least two stages and this iterative approach allows us to push continually to deeper levels of insight and understanding - at each stage, the findings are shared with the client through an interim work session, in order to test the market picture against internally-held perspectives, to involve the client in decisions about the direction of the project and to allow the client team sufficient time to internalise the market understanding as it develops.
Final recommendations are made and presented to the client, allowing time for the client team to debate and reach agreement on implications and next steps.
Quantitative research is where the questions are closed (sometimes called tick-box questions). This is useful when the breadth of opinion is reasonably well known and there is a need to see how this opinion is distributed across a market. Quantitative research may well follow a phase of exploratory qualitative research and build on its initial insight.
There are many research methods available to collect quantitative data, including online, telephone and face-to-face. Data is then put through rigorous statistical analysis to draw out as much information as possible for clients.
Sometimes clients will find elements of quantitative research projects that they feel are suitable to put out into the public domain to support and draw attention to their proposition. This research method is ideal for this purpose as journalists like the large sample sizes and the robust facts and figures it produces.