What’s the Difference Between Quantitative vs. Qualitative
02 Apr 2019

Before discussing the distinctions between qualitative and quantitative research, it is important to go back to basics. There are two types of research categories: primary and secondary research. The way to know the difference is simple – primary research is “not already out here”. While, you guessed it; secondary analysis is data that is “already out there”. There are thousands of examples of secondary research, it comes in the form of articles and databases such as Bloomberg, Lexisnexis, and Hoovers.

Learn Why Market Research is a Must for Businesses.

Both quantitative and qualitative research are types of primary research. So, what is the difference between quantitative and qualitative?

Qualitative Research

Qualitative, also called exploratory research, is directional in nature. Typically, this type of research assesses a small number of people. This kind of analysis includes mostly open-ended questions or observational research. Examples of qualitative research include:

Focus Groups

Focus groups are typically groups of 6-8 participants. An expert moderator facilitates each group. To have the most useful session possible, the moderator follows a guide that includes several open-ended questions.

Focus groups take place in facilities equipped for this type of research. The facility includes a table for participants and the moderator to gather around. The moderator usually sits at the head of the table. There is also a one-way mirror where the client and market research company sit and view the session.

The groups are recorded and transcribed. From them, the moderator along with the research team develop a concise report that includes key findings and quotes to back up conclusions.   

Conducting this research online is a way to reduce the cost and length of the qualitative research project. However, facial expressions or the tone of people’s voices is no longer possible to analyze when conducting the group’s virtually.

Ethnographic Research

Ethnographic Research is observational research where you view the subject in their environment. An example could be a butter company looking at how adults cook with the product at home. A study on how parents shops for children’s clothes at a retailer is another example.  Virtual reality is a new trend occurring in ethnographic research. By building virtual stores and in-home scenarios, it lessens the need to conduct this research in the space.

One-on-One In-depth Interview

Another exploratory research option can include individual interview sessions. This qualitative method can happen in person, via phone or even online. Often this option is beneficial when interviewing professionals such as doctors or discussing sensitive topics.

Quantitative Research

Quantitative research, also called descriptive statistics, surveys a statistically representative portion of a population. For the results to be as accurate as possible, this method surveys a large number of respondents. The goal is to reduce the margin of error in your sample to be more confident in your results.

Unlike qualitative research, quantitative research uses close-ended questioning in order to garner numerical responses.

Developing a questionnaire is often tricky as survey writing is an art form. Errors in survey writing can often lead to inaccurate conclusions. Read 4 Watch Outs When Conducting a Survey to learn more about questionnaire writing.

Once the questionnaire is developed, respondents are invited to take the survey. When fielding is complete, the data is analyzed,this can also include advanced analytics techniques. The results are often shown in a deck that provides key findings, recommendations, and detailed findings with graphs and charts.

Today, quantitative research is most frequently conducted online, but phone and in-person are other methods used. For example, in many third world countries, the internet is sparse and therefore in-person interviews may be a more reliable source. See Conducting Research in a Third World Country.  

Many kinds of initiatives such as ad tracking, naming research, and segmentation research use quantitative research.



Why Research is Necessary When Launching a Brand
06 Dec 2016
Written by: Rachael Ryan

In Why Secondary Research is so Important When Launching a Successful Brand, we spoke about the importance of this type of research in launching a new product or service or even when relaunching an already existing brand. In order to launch a successful brand, market research is a crucial aspect of the process.

That research is twofold. The first part is utilizing secondary research. Secondary research is best to describe as research that is already out there. It gives you the basics of what you need to know, it explains the state of the market today, who are your competitors and a basic understanding of your prospects and current customers.

Once you’ve done some background secondary research – now jump into doing primary research and start analyzing the original, fresh, new data to determine what is best for your brand. Primary research can take many shapes and sizes, some examples include surveys, interviews, focus groups, etc.

Primary research can help with several aspects of a brand launch:

  1. Segmentation research – determining who is your high-value customer
  2. Naming research – evaluate the best name or logo design for your brand
  3. Claims test – assess the message or combination of messages that resonate with your target audience
  4. Package testing – find the ideal design and message for your product
  5. Ad concept testing – discover the perfect advertising campaign for your brand.  Using an advertising optimizer is an ideal way to do that. Provoke Insights to offer an Ad Optimizer.

Next, you need to determine what sort of primary research you want. Are you looking to do qualitative or quantitative research? Do you want to know the opinions, needs and wants of just a select few? Or are you interested in gaining knowledge and intelligence on as many potential customers as possible? Surely, you want to know what a large majority of your target audience wants? In most cases, people want to sell to a lot of people – in this case, the most fruitful form of research will be to conduct surveys.

What do surveys achieve?

  1. Through survey data, we can gain information on a lot of people and then make calculated and educated projections of what the large majority of your target audience wants.
  2. Conducting surveys will keep your brand launch consumer-focused and it means that you will stay on track to having the most lucrative product/service you can have. It will also reduce your risks.
  3. Your communication will be more effective and efficient. Instead of using trial and error to see what resonates with your audience you can ask them what they want to see and hear. This way your communication with them will work from the get-go.
  4. Most importantly you’ll be relevant to those who matter the most.

Surveys are not an easy task and there are a lot of hurdles that you can possibly fall down on, for more information about conducting a successful survey, have a look at Provoke Insight’s blog on what to watch out for when writing your survey. Once you have all of the data that the surveys will generate, your brand will be in the best possible position to launch or relaunch.

Check out some of our most recent posts from our strategy and advertising research blog here:

  1. Blockchain & the Markest Research Industry
  2. I’m Just Not That Into You: Exclusivity or Bad Marketing?
  3. Is Your Research Stuck in the 1980s: Update Your Brand Tracker!
  4. Market Research Doesn’t Need to Be Boring: Improve Data Visualization
  5. Tips For Building Brand Strategy for a Successful Brand
  6. What’s the Difference Between Quantitative and Qualitative?

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Understand What Your Consumer Really Wants
10 Sep 2015

Are you truly listening?   Social listening is a powerful tool that goes beyond just monitoring your brand and competitors sentiment.

Have you thought about listening beyond what people say about your brand?  With 73% of online Americans using social networking sites, it is crucial to understand what your customers are talking about online beyond your brand (Pew Internet, December 27, 2013).  If you don’t know what your customers are saying, how can your brand join their online conversation? Social listening is the crucial element to create a 3D image of your target audience. This enables your brand to make strategic business decisions and stay ahead of the competition.

Social listening involves monitoring news sites, blogs, micro-blogging, social networking sites, forums, eCommerce platforms and many more. This allows you to better understand the bigger conversation among your target audience (not just about your brand).   As a result, you can now place your brand in other conversations beyond the traditional discussion.  A great example would be Red Bull.  Even though they are an energy drink, they have expanded the conversation to extreme sports.

More so, social listening allows you to identify your brand’s key influencers.  It is not enough to follow these opinion leaders, but it is crucial that you actively engage with them.  This will ultimately create new brand advocates.