Qualitative Studies: Why and How to Use Them

Qualitative study, or “qualitative research”, is a form of research which aims to explore and discover the perceptions, motivations and attitudes that determine the consumption habits of an audience. This type of study will help your business create hypotheses, which can then be confirmed or disproved by quantitative research.

Here is a simple example of a question that can become the central topic of a qualitative study: “What do you think of our products and services? “. Thanks to this type of open question, respondents, whether prospects or customers, have all the latitude to answer as they wish. This allows people to speak freely about a topic without being forced to provide predetermined answers.

Qualitative studies complement quantitative studies when analyzing customer behavior, and understanding both types of studies is essential to getting a full picture and representation of your customer base.

Qualitative research vs quantitative research

While qualitative studies aim to describe the perceptions and attitudes of consumers, as well as their consumption patterns, quantitative studies have the function of recording empirical data that confirms or rejects subjective conclusions. Quantitative data is based on numbers and records compelling events that have taken place within your business, while qualitative data is descriptive, and reports what customers are saying or thinking about your business.

In addition, quantitative studies are conducted using data made on large population samples, while qualitative research generally uses smaller segments. This is because the numerical results carry more weight when they come from a large sample size. In comparison, it is much easier to analyze qualitative data when interviewing a smaller subsection of your target audience. And above all, analyzing thousands of customer reviews one by one is a tedious and time-consuming task, while a rigorously established discussion group or panel can give a fair and reliable Lebanon WhatsApp Number List overview of what your customers think.

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Generally speaking, quantitative studies collect and measure quantified data capable of delivering precise and targeted results, while qualitative studies collect verbal and open data which provide more aggregate results.

Why carry out a qualitative study?

When the figures are not sufficient to provide a complete answer to a question posed by your company, the qualitative approach can be particularly suitable. Thus, a qualitative study will allow you to respond to problems that your company encounters for example in the development phase of a new product or when it is restructuring its commercial offer.

As underlined in the introduction, the qualitative study aims to understand the attitudes, behaviors and needs of a set of consumers or of a particular population. In addition, it has the advantage of being flexible and of being able to be adapted to the means of your company. Depending on your objectives, the qualitative study can be carried out in isolation or upstream of a more complete market study which combines several research methodologies.

It is also perfectly suited to study a market which is completely new to you. By starting your research with a qualitative study, your field of investigation is reduced and you save time, even if you choose to supplement your research with other types of studies. For example, companies wishing to formulate hypotheses at the start of their market research often resort to a qualitative study, the results of which provide an invaluable overview of whether the direction taken is the right one.

Finally, the qualitative study makes it possible to explore new ideas, to tackle new horizons, and sometimes even leads companies to review their overall marketing strategy.

The essential steps to carry out a qualitative study

To conduct a perfect qualitative study, you will need to follow several key steps and a process that relates to analytical methodologies.

The first step is to determine what problem you want to solve.

Definition of a problem
Your qualitative study, as in any analytical process, must begin with the definition of a problem. You have to know what you are looking for through this study and find a starting point. From a main question, you can establish a set of sub-questions to try to answer more precise questions.

The problem that you have chosen also aims to limit the scope of your qualitative study, and to prevent you from getting lost in your research. It is for this reason that this first step is crucial, and that it should not be underestimated. Ask yourself any questions that come to mind and then organize them into thematic groups, which will make it easier to prepare your plan.

Development of a plan

The objective of your qualitative study plan is to organize the work of collecting data and information, then the implementation of their analysis.

To develop the plan for your qualitative study, you will base yourself on the various questions underlying your problem that we have mentioned previously. Grouped into different points, these questions will constitute the backbone of your qualitative study and give you its broad outlines.

It is quite possible that the different parts of your study require different methods of collecting information, the main thing being to determine which approach will be adopted to respond precisely to all the points raised in your problematic.

Data collection
There are two main ways to collect qualitative information for your study, either individually or in groups.

The most common method is to conduct one-on-one interviews and interview each chosen person one by one. If you prefer this method, the content and conduct of your interview should be carefully prepared and you should follow exactly the same process for each person interviewed.

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