Qualitative and Quantitative Research

Cite this article as:"Qualitative and Quantitative Research," in The Business Professor, updated July 17, 2014, last accessed June 7, 2020, https://thebusinessprofessor.com/lesson/qualitative-and-quantitative-research/.


Quantitative and Qualitative Research Process

Start by defining the purpose and scope of the intended research? Have a concrete idea in your head about the problem or issue you are trying to solve.  In the initial market research phase, it may be very general (such as determine the preference of a certain product).  However, you should subdivide your objective as much as possible.  The more specific you can make the issue or question you are trying to answer, the more useful and reliable your results will be.


Next, identify the sources of data where you can retrieve the information.  Remember you will want to test as broad of a sample base as possible.  The pool of individuals that you test should be relevant to the geographic area or market you intend to serve. Remember, you do not always have to do things yourself. There are often places where you can purchase collected data and research.


You will then need to develop a reliable method for collecting the data.  Examples of data collection sources is questionnaires, surveys, conducting or purchasing third party observational research. If you are using a survey or questionnaire, you will need to spend considerable time identifying questions that will provide answers to your objectives. The questions should be specific and use vocabulary that any potential customer can readily understand.  The questions should not be too long, in order to avoid the bias of frustration in completing a long form.  The meaning of each question should be clear and unambiguous at the first reading. The questions should also be as relevant as possible to the issues your are trying to address without becoming pointed or biased.  The hard part in this situation is to draft questions that are not biased or influence the individual answering the question toward an answer. Better said, the questions would be completely neutral and free of self-serving influence.


Lastly, you will need to categorize the characteristics or demographics of the individuals taking the survey. This is the only manner to match customer preference with identifiable customer demographics.  Often, potential customers will be reluctant to provide this information, as some of the information can be sensitive to the customer.  At a bare minimum, you need to identify the age, race, gender, geographic area, and socio-economic status of the potential customer.  Other information, such as education level, ethnicity, marital status, children’s age, etc., may be helpful.


Analyzing the Data

Data analysis can be a very difficult task. Remember your purpose.  You are trying to take the customer demographics and preferences and translate that into meaningful information that allows you to meet the customer’s demand preferences.

The primary way of using the data is through statistical software.  You will have to determine the relationship between the individual data points.  This is generally done by carrying out simple statistical analysis. Explaining how to use simple business statistical techniques is beyond the scope of this post, but examples of such techniques include:

  • Correlation
  • Variance
  • Chi-square test f
  • The t-test

Note: You can learn more about these statistical methods through various youtube channels.

The result of your statistical analysis should summarize the findings in a way where you can answer the issues or objective questions.  These will form the basis of your decision to either pursue or forgo a potential market opportunity.

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