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Agenda. Exploratory Research Qualitative vs quantitative Projective techniques Focus groups. Narrowing down your topic. Area of Interest. EXPLORATORY RESEARCH. Research Questions. Research Objectives. Exploratory research and qualitative analysis.

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  • Exploratory Research

    • Qualitative vs quantitative

    • Projective techniques

    • Focus groups

Narrowing down your topic

Narrowing down your topic

  • Area of Interest



Research Questions

Research Objectives


Exploratory research and qualitative analysis

  • From total ambiguity to not quite total ambiguity

Exploratory research

Exploratory research

  • Initial research conducted to clarify and define the nature of a problem

  • often a first and preliminary step

  • may be a single investigation or a series of informal studies

  • may be a single technique or a combination of techniques

  • almost always qualitative



  • Quantitative: studies that use mathematical analysis that can reveal statistically significant differences

  • Qualitative: research data not subject to quantification

Qualitative versus quantitative

Qualitative versus Quantitative

Qualitative versus quantitative1

Qualitative versus Quantitative




can help identify small problems with significant impact



improve efficiency of quantitative


does not distinguish small differences

not necessarily representative of population

very dependent upon skill of researcher


Why conduct exploratory research

Why conduct exploratory research

  • Diagnosis

  • screening alternatives

  • discovering new ideas

I wonder...



  • Secondary Research

  • Depth Interviews

  • Focus groups

Projective techniques

Projective techniques

Projective techniques

  • Indirect means of questioning that enables a respondent to “project” beliefs and feelings onto a third person, onto an inanimate object or into a task situation

  • assumes that people are reluctant, unaware or unable to relate their true experiences, perceptions or beliefs


“A man is least himself when he talks

in his own person; when given a mask

he will tell the truth.”

--Oscar Wilde

Common types

Common types

  • Word association

    • subject is presented with a list of words, one at a time, and asked to respond with the first word that comes to mind.

  • Sentence/story completion

    • respondent completes a sentence or story with the first word or phrase that comes to mind.


Word Association Examples


  • Kraft

  • Cheddar

  • Goat


Sentence Completion

People who drink beer are ______________________

A man who drinks light beer is ___________________

Imported beer is most liked by ___________________

A woman will drink beer when____________________

Common types1

Common types

  • Third person techniques

    • subject is asked why a third person behaves in a certain fashion or what s/he thinks about a particular event/object/activity

    • role playing: the acting out of third person’s behaviour

Common types2

Common types

  • Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)

    • A series of pictures are shown to subject who is then asked to provide a description of the pictures.

    • Cartoon completion tests

    • Photo sorts

  • Consumer drawings

Focus groups

Focus groups

A group interview

Focus groups defined

Focus Groups Defined

Focus groups had their beginnings in group therapy used by physicians. Today, a focus group consists of 8 to 12 participants led by a moderator in an in-depth discussion on one particular topic or concept.


  • Most frequently used to conduct exploratory research

  • May also be used after a survey or quantitative study to clarify findings

    • Quantitative research tends to be long on what and short on why

Types of focus groups

Types of Focus Groups

Focus groups

that explore



Focus groups that

enable a client

to observe and

listen to how

consumers think

and feel about

products and





Focus groups that aid in the precise definition of the problem, in pilot testing, or in generating hypotheses for testing or concepts for further research


Steps in Conducting a Focus Group

Prepare for the Group:

Select a focus group

facility and recruit

the participants

Prepare the Focus

Group Report

Select a Moderator:

Create a

discussion guide

Conduct the Group


Focus Groups: Key Terms

  • Focus Group Facility

    • Facility consisting of conference or living room setting and a separate observation room. Facility also has audiovisual recording equipment.

    • Not all focus groups are conducted in this contrived setting.


Focus Groups: Key Terms

  • Focus Groups Composition

    • The ideal size is 6-10 participants.

    • Homogenous groups seem to work best

  • Focus Groups Moderator

    • The person hired by the client to lead the focus group. This person may need a background in psychology, sociology, or marketing.


Focus Groups: Key Terms

  • Discussion Guide

    • A written outline of topics to cover during a focus group discussion.

    • Contains prefatory remarks to inform the group about he nature of the focus group and an outline of topics/questions to be addressed

Advantages the 10 s s

Advantages- the 10 S’s

  • synergism

  • serendipity

  • snowballing

  • stimulation

  • security

  • spontaneity

  • specialization

  • scrutiny

  • structure

  • speed


Disadvantages of Focus Groups

  • The immediacy and apparent understandability of focus group findings can mislead instead of inform.

  • Focus group recruiting is a problem if the type of person recruited responds differently to the issues being discussed than other target segments.


  • “Moderator style” may contribute to respondent bias.

  • Respondents can be a problem if they are overly introverted (and do not speak) or are overly dominating (and try to sway the discussion). This can also lead to a halo effect


Trends in Focus Groups

  • Telephone Focus Groups

    • Focus groups that are conducted via conference calling.

  • Two-Way Focus Groups

    • A target focus group observes another focus group, and then discussed what it learned through observing.


  • Nominal Grouping Session

    • Qualitative research method in which consumers, brought together in small groups, independently generate ideas about a subject and then discuss the ideas.

  • Internet based focus groups

    • what are some advantages and disadvantages

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