Qualitative Research Techniques (1/2)

Qualitative Research Techniques (1/2)

In this lesson, you’re expected to:
– understand the main characteristics of qualitative research
– identify common features of qualitative research
– see why qualitative research is pertinent in contemporary market research

Qualitative research involves the studied use and collection of a variety of empirical materials—case study, personal experience, introspection, life story, interview, artifacts, and cultural texts, along with observational, historical, interactional, and visual texts—that describe routine and problematic moments and meanings in individuals’ lives.

The word qualitative implies an emphasis on the qualities of entities and on processes and meanings that are not experimentally examined or measured in terms of quantity or frequency.

Relevance of Qualitative Research

The researcher has several methods for collecting empirical materials. They range from an interview to direct observation, the use of visual materials or personal experience.

Why use qualitative research? Is there any particular need for such an approach in the current situation?

Due to a development that has become known as the pluralization of life worlds, qualitative research is of specific relevance to the study of social relations. This pluralization requires on the part of social researchers a new sensitivity to the empirical study of issues.

The main reason for using qualitative research should be that a research question requires the use of this sort of approach and not a different one.

Qualitative Research aims to uncover information about the way people think and behave, and to identify patterns in those thoughts and behaviors.

Qualitative studies gather information using open-ended questions and recording the responses word for word, or by watching how people respond in different situations. The people being interviewed express their thoughts the way they wish, and the researcher’s role is to evaluate the importance and relevance of what is said and done.

Qualitative methods help you develop and fine-tune your quantitative research methods. They can help business owners define problems and learn about customers’ opinions, values and beliefs. With qualitative research, the sample size is usually small.

Qualitative research can be applied to many situations, problems and categories. It is used for all of the elements of the marketing mix for a brand, product or service.

The main types of qualitative studies are:

1) Category Studies: studies on consumer needs within a category to detect possible market niches that have yet to be identified.
2) Conceptual Studies: concept screening, concept tests, new product development etc.
3) Advertising Studies: development of a concept, pre-tests, post-tests
4) Prospective Studies: creative research to detect market niches and opportunities for the development of new products
5) Name/Logo Studies: for the the creation of names and brands, to develop a logo or to test names and brands.
6) Brand Image Studies: brand equity and health

Methods of Collecting & Analyzing Data

A researcher has several methods for collecting empirical materials. They range from an interview to direct observation, the use of visual materials or personal experience.

Qualitative Techniques

The most widely used qualitative research technique is Focus Group Discussions.

Groups offer rich information and make it possible to obtain results in a shorter amount of time than using one-on-one interviews, although these have benefits particularly for in-depth research.

Free and spontaneous discourse in groups and interviews is the resource that qualitative researchers use most often.

Focus Group Discussions

The focus group discussion (FGD) is a rapid assessment, semi‐structured data gathering method in which a purposively selected set of participants gather to discuss issues and concerns based on a list of key themes drawn up by the researcher.

This qualitative research technique was originally developed to give marketing researchers a better understanding of the data from quantitative consumer surveys.

As an indispensable tool for marketing researchers, the FGD has become extremely popular because it provides a fast way to learn from the target audience.

Pros and Cons

• A properly selected micro-group represents the discourse of a segment of the population (a social macro-group).
• Can obtain a large amount of information in a short period of time (compared to In-depth Interviews).
• Different points of view are aired, and respondents interact with one another.

• A significant level of expertise is required.
• The interpretation is often subjective.
• Views of the group can influence individual responses.

Main Variables in a Group Discussion:

• Moderator
• Participants
• Topic / Theme
• Discussion Guide
• Place
• Time

General Focus Group Insights

• The insights gained from the group as a whole are more important than any one or two individuals’ opinions.

• The total number of participants in a Focus Group should be around 7 or 8.

• The duration of the discussion should not exceed two hours.

• The discussion may not follow your expectations or lead where the moderator intends.

• During the discussion, keep in mind what the client’s objectives are but do not focus too much on them.

How to Conduct a Focus Group Discussion –  Moderator 

In selecting a person to moderate a focus group, it is important that this person have these qualities:

• familiarity with the discussion topic
• ability to speak the native language of that area
• cultural sensitivity
• genuine interest in people
• politeness
• empathy
• respect for participants

How to Conduct a Focus Group Discussion – Steps

Before the focus group discussion begins, the facilitator should obtain the background information of participants. The type of information to collect depends on the FGD topic. Once this is done, this sequence of steps is carried out:

1. After a brief introduction, the purpose and scope of the discussion are explained.
2. Participants are asked to give their names and a short introduction about themselves.
3. The discussion is structured around the key themes using the probe questions prepared in advance.
4. During the discussion, all participants are given the opportunity to participate.
5. Use a variety of moderating tactics to facilitate the group. Among these tactics that the moderator can use include:

• Stimulate the participants to talk to each other, not necessarily to the moderator.
• Encourage shy participants and discourage dominant participants through verbal and non-verbal cues.
• Pay close attention to what is said in order to encourage that behavior in other participants.
• Use in‐depth probing without leading the participant.

In the next lesson, we’ll cover these qualitative research techniques:

– In-Depth Interview
– Observation
– Exploratory Research

Jim Rohn Sứ mệnh khởi nghiệp