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QUALITATIVE RESEARCH. ¿ W hat is qualitative research?. Is a term used loosely to refer to research whose findings are not subject to quantification or quantitative analysis.

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w hat is qualitative research
¿What is qualitative research?
  • Is a term used loosely to refer to research whose findings are not subject to quantification or quantitative analysis.
  • Qualitative research could be used to examine the attitudes, feelings and motivations of the heavy user, essentially how to communicate with them.
why does the popularity of qualitative research continue to grow
¿Why does the popularity of qualitative research continue to grow?
  • Qualitative research is usually much cheaper than quantitative research.
  • There is no better way to understand the motivation and feelings of consumers.
  • It can improve the efficiency of quantitative research.

All marketing research is undertaken to increase the effectiveness of decision making. Qualitative research blends with quantitative measures to provide a more thorough understanding of consumer demand. Qualitative techniques involve open-ended questioning and probing

limitations of qualitative research
Limitations of qualitative research
  • One drawback relates to the fact that marketing successes and failures many times are based on small differences in attitudes or opinions about the marking mix, and qualitative research does not distinguish those small differences as well as large-scale quantitative research does.
  • The second limitation is that they are not necessarily representative of the population of interest to the researcher.
the importance on focus groups
  • Focus group consists of 8 to 12 participants who are led by a moderator in the discussion on one particular topic or concept.
  • The goal 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 .
  • The intent is to find out how they feel about the product, concept, idea or organization; how it fits into their lives and their emotional involvement with it.
popularity of focus groups
Popularity of focus groups
  • Focus groups allow the research to experience the emotional framework in which the product is begin used.
  • In a sense, the researcher can go into a person’s life and relieve with him or her all the satisfaction, dissatisfactions, rewards and frustration experienced when the product is taken home.
step 1 prepare for the group
Step 1. Prepare for the group
  • Setting: is often conference room, with a large one-way mirror built into one wall. Microphones are placed (usually on the ceiling) to record the discussion. Behind the mirror is the viewing room.
  • Participants for focus group are recruited from a variety of sources. Two traditional procedures are mall-intercept interviewing and random telephone screening. Researches normally establish criteria for the group participants.
step 2 select a moderator
STEP 2. Select a moderator
  • Having qualified respondents and a good focus group moderator are the keys to a successful focus group.
  • A focus group moderator needs two sets of skills.

1. The moderator must be able to conduct a group properly.

2. He or she must have good business skills in order to effectively interact with the client.

step 2 select a moderator1
STEP 2. Select a moderator
  • Key attributes for conducting a focus group include the following:
  • Genuine interest in people, their behavior, emotions…
  • Acceptance for de differences in people.
  • Good listening skills.
  • Good observation skills.
  • Good oral and written communication skills
  • Objective
step 2 create a discussion guide
STEP 2. Create a discussion guide.
  • A discussion guide is a written outline of the topics to be covered during the session. Usually the guide is generated by the moderator based of the research objectives and client information needs. It serves as a checklist to ensure that all salient topics are covered and in the proper sequence.
step 2 create a discussion guide1
STEP 2. Create a discussion guide.
  • The guide tents to lead the discussion though three stages:
  • Rapport is established, the rules group interactions are explained are objectives are given.
  • The moderator attempts to provoke discussion.
  • Is used summarizing significant conclusions and testing the limits of belief and commitment.
step 3 focus group length
STEP 3. Focus group length
  • Many managers today prefer shorter (around an hour)focus groups. Yet the average group today is still about 90 minutes.
  • The group length issue is not an insulated one, it is intertwined with a second key factor: the number of the discussion guide.
  • The managers should examine the interactions between the length of the focus group and the size of the discussion guide.
step 4 focus group report
STEP 4. Focus group report
  • After the final of the group in a series is completed, there will be a moderator debriefing, sometimes called instant analysis.
  • A formal focus group report is typically a PowerPoint presentation. The written report is nothing more than a copy of the PowerPoint slides.
benefits and drawbacks of focus groups
Benefits and Drawbacks of Focus Groups
  • The benefits and drawbacks of qualitative research in general also apply to focus groups. But focus groups have some unique pros and cons that deservemention.
  • Advantages of Focus Groups: The interactionsamong respondents can stimulate new ideas and thoughts that might not ariseduring one-on-one interviews. And group pressure can helpchallenge respondents to keep their thinkingrealistic. Energeticinteractionsamong respondents also make it likely that observation of a group will providefirsthandconsumerinformation to client observers in a shorteramount of time and in a more interestingway than will individual interviews.
  • Anotheradvantege focus groups offer is the opportunity to observe customers or prospectsfrombehind a one-waymirror. In fact, there is growing use of focus groups to expose a broaderrange of employees to customercomments and views.
  • One more advantege of focus grops is that they can be executed more quickly than many other research techniques. In addition, findings from groups tend to be easier to understand and to have a compelling immediacy and excitement. “I can get up and show a client all the charts and graphs in the world, but it has nowhere near the impact of showing 8 or 10 customers sitting around a table and saying that the company´s service isn´t good”. By Jean-Anne Mutter (director of marketing research at Ketchum Advertising).

Disadvanteges of Focus Groups: Unfortunately, some of the stengths of focus groups also can become disadvantages. For example, the immediacy and apparent understandability of focus group findings can cause managers to be misled instead of informed. Mutter says, “Even though you´re only getting a very small slice, a focus group gives you a sense that you really understand the situation.” She adds that focus groups can strongly appeal to “people´s desire for quick, simple answers to problems, and i see a decreasing willingness to go with complexity and to put forth the effort needed to really think through the complex data that will be yielded by a quantitative study.”

Other disadvantages relate to the focus group process. For example, focus group recruiting may be a problem if the type of person recruited responds differently to the isues being discussed than do other target segments. White middle-class individuals, for example, participate in qualitative research in numbers disproportionate to their presence in the marketplace. Also, some focus group facilities create an impersonal feeling, making honest conversation unlikely. Corporate or formal setting with large boardroom tables and unattractive or plain decor may make it difficult for respondents to relax and share their feelings.

  • Video Transmission of Focus Groups: Live video transmissions of focus groups has occurred for the past 20 years. The advantage for researchers and clients is that not everyone has to travel to every focus group to participate. A survey found that users of video focus groups were typically quite pleased. Sixty-seven percent rated the experience excellent or good. Approximately 22 percent of all U.S. focus groups involve video transmissions.
other qualitative methodologies
Other Qualitative Methodologies
  • Most of this chapter has been devoted to focus groups because of their pervasive use in marketing research. However, several other qualitative techniques are also used, albeit on a much more limited basis.
other qualitative methodologies1
Other Qualitative Methodologies
  • Individual Depth Interviews: (IDI) are relatively unstructured one-on-one interviews. The interviewer is thoroughly trained in the skill of probing and eliciting detailed answers to each question. IDIs are the second most popular form of qualitative research.
    • Advantages of depth interviews over focus groups are as follows:
    • Group pressure is eliminated, so the respondentreveals more honest feelings, not necessarilythoseconsidered most acceptableamongpeers.
    • The personal one-on-one situation gives the respondent the feeling of being the focus of attention- that his or herthoughts and feelings are important and trulywanted.
    • The respondentattains a heightenedstate of awareness because he or she has constantinteraction with the interviewer and there are no group members to hidebehind.
    • The longer time devoted to individual respondents encourages the revelation of new information.
    • Respondents can be probed at length to reveal the feelings and motivations that underliestatements.
    • Without the restrictions of cultivating a group process, new directions of questioning can be improvised more easily. Individual interviews allowgreaterflexibility to explore casual remarks and tangentialissues, which may providecriticalinsightsinto the mainissue.
    • The closeness of the one-on-one relationshipallows the interviewer to become more sensitive to nonverbalfeedback.
    • A singular viewpoint can be obtainedfrom a respondentwithoutinfluencefromothers.
    • The interview can be conductedanywhere, in places other than a focus group facility.
    • Depth interviews may be the only viable technique for situations in which a group approachwouldrequire that competitors be placed in the sameroom. For example, it might be very difficult to do a focus group on systems for preventingbadchecks with managers fromcompetingdeparmentstores or retaurants.

Disadvantages of depth interviews relative to focus groups are as follows:

  • The total cost of depth interviews can be more expensive than focus groups, but not on a cost per respondent minute.
  • Depth interviews do not generally get the samedegree of client involvement as focus groups. It is difficult to convince most client personnel to sith through multiplehours of depth interviews so as to benefitfirsthandfrom the information.
  • Because depth interviews are physicallyexhausting for the moderator, they do not cover as much ground in one day as do focus groups. Most moderators will not do more than four or five depth interviws in a day, wherasthey can involuve 20 people in a day in two focus groups.
  • Focus groups give the moderator an ability to leverage the dynamics of the group to obtainreactions that might not be generated in a one-on-onesession.

The success of any depth interview dependsmainly on the skills of the interviewer. And classicapplications of depth interviews include:

  • Communicationcheckssuch as (review of print, radio, or TV advertisements or other writtenmaterials)
  • Sensoryevaluationssuch as (reactions to variedformulations for deodorants or handlotions)
  • Exploratory research such as (definingbaselineunderstanding or a product, service, or idea)
  • New prductdevelopment, prototypestage
  • Packging or usage research as (when clients want to “mirror” personal experience and obtainkeylanguagedescriptors)

A variation of the depth interview is calledcustomercare research (CCR). The basic idea is to use depth iterviewing to understand to dynamic of the purchase process. The followingsevenquestions are the basis for CCR:

    • Whatstarted you on the road to making this purchase?
    • Whydid you make this purchasenow?
    • Whatwas the hardestpart of this process? Wasthereanypointwhere you gotstuck?
    • When and howdid you decide the pricewasacceptable?
    • Is theresomeoneelse with whom i shouldtalk to get more of the storybehind this purchase?
    • If you´vepurschased this productbefore, howdoes the story of yourlastpurchasedifferfrom this one?
    • At whatpointdid you decide you trusted this organization and this person to work with in you bestinterests?
  • Cost of Focus Groups versus IDI: In a standard, eight-person, 90-minute focus group, there are ninepeople (eightparticipants plus moderator) sharing the floor. On average, therefore, each respondent is allotted 10 minutes of talk time acrossthose 90 minutes (90 minutes divided by ninepeople).

The cost of a focus group of this type is about 6.000$. That numberincludesevery-thing: recruiter, moderator, participantstipend, food, facility, reportwrite-up, and the cost of getting a fewobservers to the event. Divide 80 minutes of participanttalk time (the moderatordoesn´tcount) into the 6000$ expense, and yourcost per respondent minute in this case is 75$ (6000$/80)

If, however, a typical in-depth interview runs 30 minutes and costsbetween 400$ and 500$ (including recruiting, interviewing, participantstipend, and reporting), the cost per respondent minute is in the range of 16$ to 25$. The bigdifferenceresultsfrom the amount of time the respondentspendstalking, which is typically about 20 to 25 of those 30 minutes in an in-depthphone interview.

Thus, whenconsidering the cost per respondent minute, in-depth interviews can provide much greatervalue. Of course, the quality of both the focus groups and the IDI determines the real value of the research.


UsingHermeneutics: Some IDI researchers use a techniquecalledhermeneutic research to achieve their goals. Hermeneutic research that focuses on interpretation through conversations.

For example, a reseacher and consumer in conversation aboutwhy that individual purchased a high-end home theatersystem may discuss the reasons for making the purchase, such as holding movieparties, enjoying a stay-at-home luxury, or immersingone-self in sportingevents. The researcher may interpret “holding movieparties” as a reason for purchase to mean that without the system, the consumerwould not hold the parties at all, and so the researcher will return to the consumer for additionalinformation. Uponreviewing the data and talking more, the researcher and consumer determine that why the itemwaspurchased and why it is used (which may or may not be the same) are not as telling as how the productmakesitsownerfeel. In this case, the owner may feelconfident as an entertainer, more social, powerful, wealthy, relaxed, or rejuvenated. Talking and probing more about the use of the home theater, the researcheruncoversboth new data and new issues to address or considermoving forward.

  • Using the DelphiMethod: The DelphiMethod is often used in new productdevelopmentwhenfirms are looking for creative new ideas to incorporate in products or services. In conclusion this method rounds of individual data collectionfromknowledegeablepeople; results are summarized and returned to participantsforfurtherrefinement.

The purpose of anonymity in a Delphi study is to exclude group interaction, which can cause a number of problems, such as group conflict and individual dominance. Dlphirelies on a structured, indirectapproach to group decision making; that is, participantsdon´tmeet, relying instead on statisticalaggregation of individual predictions and ideas.

projective tests
  • This is a technique for tapping respondents deepest feelings by havingthemprojectthose feelings into an unstructured situation. These techniques are for penetrating a person´sdefensemechanisms to allow true feelings and attitudes to emerge.
why is projection important
Why is projectionimportant?
  • Consumers may not telluseverything that influencesthem. Threeobstacles stand in the way:
    • Respondents may be unconscious or unaware of a particular influence.
    • They may be aware of an ingluence, but feel it is too personal or sociallyundesirable to admit (e.g.prestigeimage or racial bias).
    • They may be aware that theyperceive a product a particular way, but they may not bother to mention this because, in their view, it is not a logical, rationalreason for buying or not buying the product. Some doctors. For example, are adamant that whatthey prescribe has nothing to do with the sound of a drug´sname or the attractiveness of the manufacturer´s logo, and is basedsolely on decision-making factorssuch as research findings, clinical experience, and patientcompliance.

Most commonforms of projective techniques

  • But the most commonforms of projective techniques used in marketing research are wordassociationtests, sentence and storycompletiontests, cartoontests, photosorts, consumerdrawings, storytelling, and third-person techniques. Other techniques, such as psychodramatests and the ThematicApperception Test (TAT), have been popular in treatingpsychologicaldisorders but of lesshelp in marketing research.
word association tests
Word AssociationTests
  • This is a projective test in which the interviewer says a word and the respondentmustmention the firstthing that comes to mind.
  • Word associationtests are used to selectbrandnames, advertisingcampaignthemes, and sologans.
  • Analogiesdraw a comparisonbetweentwoitems in terms of their similarities.
  • For example, a researcherinvestigatingconsumersperceptions of Ford automobiles may ask: “I´mgoing to read you a list of stores, and theni´dlike you to tell me which of these is most similar to Ford cars. If possible, try to give the firstanswer that comes to mind. The stores are: Neiman Marcus, Wal-Mart, Macy´s, JC Penney, Kmart, Nordstrom, Target, and Lord & Taylor”. As a follow-up, the researcherwouldthenask: “What is it about (Store X) that is most similar to Ford cars? How are the qualities of Ford cars similar to this store?” This line of questioning induces the respondent to talk (indirectly) abouthis or herperceptions of Ford cars.
  • The use of analogies in this instance is not to determine whichstore(s) peopleassociate with Ford cars but rather to get people to talkabout their perceptions of Ford cars in waystheymightotherwise be unable to do.
  • This involvesdrawing a comparisonbetween a product and a person.
  • Thuswe can appreciate as the person is if that peoplechoosesuchkind of car.

Sentence and StoryCompletionTests: this is a projectivetests in which respondents complete sentences or stories in their ownwords.

    • BestBuy is…
    • The peoplewho shop at BestBuy are…
    • BestBuyshould really…
    • I don´t understand whyBestBuydoesn´t…
  • Sentence and storycompletiontestshave been considered by some researchers to be the most usefutl and reliable of all the projectivetests. DecisionAnalyst is nowofferingboth online sentencecompletion and online wordassociation research to its clients.

CartoonTests: consists of twocharacters with balloons. Similar to thoseseen in comic books. But more specificallyit´s a test in which the respondentfills in the dialogue of one of twocharacters in a cartoon.

  • PhotoSorts: consumersexpress their feelings aboutbrands by manipulating a speciallydevelopedphotodeckdepictingdifferenttypes of people, frombusinessexecutives to collegestudents. Respondents connect the individuals in the photos with the brandsthey think theywould use. Thenphotosorts is a technique in which a respondentsortsphotos of differenttypes of people, identifyingthosepeoplewhoshe or he feelswould use the specifiedproduct or service.

ConsumerDrawings: researchers somethimesaskconsumers to drawwhatthey are feeling or howtheyperceive an object. Thenconsumerdrawings can unlockmotivations or expressperceptions.

  • Storytelling: this requiresconsumers to tellstoriesabout their experiences. It is a search for subtleinsightsintoconsumerbehavior. This technique can be known as metaphortechnique.
  • Third-Person Technique: Perhaps the easiestprojectivetechnique to apply, other than wordassociation, is this. Here the interviewer learnsabout respondents feelings by askingthem to answer for a thirdparty, such as “yourneighbor” or “most people”.
future of qualitative research
Future of Qualitative Research
  • The rationalebehind qualitative research tests is as follows:
  • The criteriaemployed and the evaluationsmade in most buying and usagedecisionshaveemotional and subconsciouscontent, which is an importantdeterminant of buying and usagedecisions.
  • Suchcontent is adequately and accuratelyverbalized by the respondent only through indirectcommunicative techniques.

On the positive side, the use of focus groups will grow. Focus group research can provide data and insights not available through anyother techniques. Lowcost and ease of application will lendevengreaterimpetus to use online focus groups. Finally, the qualitative-quantitative split will begin to close as adaptations and innovationsallow researchers to enjoy the advantages of bothapproachessimultaneously.