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Qualitative Research. MKTG 3342 Fall 2008 Professor Edward Fox. Gather preliminary information that will help define the problem and suggest hypotheses. Exploratory Research. Describe customer’s attitudes and demographics Determine product’s market potential. Descriptive Research.

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qualitative research

Qualitative Research

MKTG 3342

Fall 2008

Professor Edward Fox

research objectives

Gather preliminary information that will help define the problem and suggest hypotheses



  • Describe customer’s attitudes and demographics
  • Determine product’s market potential



  • Test hypotheses about cause and-effect relationships.



Research Objectives



Source: Adapted from Prentice Hall

primary data
Primary Data
  • Primary data are survey, observation, or experimental data collected to address the current research problem
  • Recall that secondary data is information that was previously been collected for a different purpose
research design
Research Design

Primary research requires a research design:

  • The research design is a detailed blueprint used to guide the conduct of marketing research so that the research questions are answered and the research objectives are realized
  • Research may be either qualitative or quantitative
qualitative research5
Qualitative Research

Qualitative research is a loosely defined term. It implies that the research findings are not determined by quantification or quantitative analysis.

qualitative vs quantitative research 1 of 2
Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research(1 of 2)

Comparison Dimension Qualitative Research Quantitative Research

Types of questions Probing Limited probing

Sample size Small Large

Information per Much Varies


Administration Requires interviewers Fewer specialized skills

with special skills required

Types of analysis Subjective, interpretive Statistical, summarization

qualitative vs quantitative research 2 of 2
Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research(2 of 2)

Comparison Dimension Qualitative Research Quantitative Research

Tools Tape recorders, projection Questionnaires, computers

devices, video, pictures printouts

Ability to replicate Low High

Training needed by Psychology, sociology, Statistics, decision models,

the researcher social psychology, DSS, computer program-

consumer behavior ming, marketing

Type of research Exploratory Descriptive or causal

qualitative research methods
Qualitative Research Methods


  • Depth Interviews
  • Projective Techniques
  • Focus Groups
  • Observation (Ethnography)

… and other methods

depth interview
Depth Interview

Example: Wide Seats in an Airplane

I: “Why do you like wide seats in an airplane?”

R: “It makes me comfortable.”

I: “Why is it important to be comfortable?”

R: “I can accomplish more.”

I: “Why is important that you can accomplish more?”

R: “I feel good about myself.”

Implication: Wide seats may relate to self-esteem!

projective techniques
Projective Techniques

Eliciting deep-seated feelings/opinions by enabling the respondents to project themselves into unstructured situations.

  • Word Association
  • Sentence Completion
  • Role playing
  • Story telling with pictures

… and several others

popularity of focus group research
Popularity of Focus Group Research
  • Most marketing research firms, advertising agencies, and consumer goods manufacturers use focus groups.
  • Focus groups tend to be used more extensively by consumer goods companies than by industrial goods organizations.
focus group13
Focus Group

A group of people who discuss a subject under the direction of a moderator. Focus groups are used to:

  • Spot source of marketing problem
  • Spark new product ideas
  • Develop questionnaires for quantitative research
  • Identify new advertising themes
  • Diagnose competitors’ strengths and weaknesses
focus group research overview
Focus Group Research - Overview
  • The goal of focus group research is to learn and understand what people have to say and why
  • The emphasis is on getting people to talk at length and in detail about the subject at hand
  • The intent is to find out how they feel about a product, concept, idea, or organization, how it fits into their lives, and their emotional involvement with it
benefits of focus group research
Benefits of Focus Group Research
  • Synergy - together, the group can provide more insights than insights obtained individually.
  • Snowballing - chain reaction to comment by one individual.
  • Stimulation - group interaction excites people.
  • Spontaneity/serendipity - participants may get ideas on the spot and discuss them.
focus group research steps
Focus Group Research - Steps
  • Define objectives of study
  • Develop questions for discussion - Moderator Guide
  • Recruit participants
  • Conduct Session with a moderator
  • Analyze and report results to decision makers

Results can be misleading if the focus group is not conducted properly.

focus group issues 1 of 2
Focus Group Issues(1 of 2)
  • How many people in a focus group?
  • What type of people should be recruited?
  • Should participants be …
    • Knowledgeable?
    • Diverse?
    • Representative?
focus group issues 2 of 2
Focus Group Issues(2 of 2)
  • How should participants be recruited?
  • Should they be given monetary incentives?
  • Where should the focus group be held?
  • How much interaction among participants?
  • What is the role and qualification of the moderator?
  • How to write the moderator guide?
  • Should management observe the focus group?
  • How should the report be written?
differences in qualitative research between the u s and the u k
Differences in Qualitative Research between the U.S. and the U.K.

Area U.S. U.K.

Focus group size 10 to 12 6 to 8

Focus group length 2 hours 1.5 to 4 hours

Location Professional facility Recruiters’ homes

Client viewing Common Rare

Topic guides Long and detailed Short and flexible

Recruitment By income/occupation By social class

Sample size Of more concern Of little concern

Credibility Moderate High

trends in focus group research
Trends in Focus Group Research
  • Telephone Focus Groups
    • Focus groups that are conducted via conference calling.
  • Videoconference Focus Groups
    • Staffers can watch focus groups via videoconferencing and avoid the costs of travel.
  • On-line focus groups
    • Focus groups that are conducted through internet (Chat rooms) - http://www.greenfieldonline.com
summary of key points
Summary of Key Points
  • Exploratory or qualitative research is used to obtain deep insights into the behavior of few consumers, or to gain preliminary information about the market
  • Common exploratory research methods include depth interviews, projective techniques, and focus groups
  • The focus group is the most common method of conducting qualitative research
  • The method consists of five simple steps; care must be taken to implement those steps correctly