The decision to use qualitative versus quantitative research should be driven by the problem at hand. Learn key differences between qualitative and quantitative research and when to use each. Understand the directional nature of qualitative and how it can be used in conjunction with quantitative research.
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- [Instructor] The decision to use quantitative versus qualitative research should be driven by the problem at hand. Let's start by understanding some fundamental differences between the two types of research. The objective of quantitative research is to understand the what and to generalize results across a population. Qualitative research is more about understanding why or how and uncovering insights regarding feelings and motivations. As a result, quantitative research requires a large sample that can statistically represent a population, whereas qualitative research requires a much smaller number of participants.
Data collection in quantitative is a fixed set of mostly closed-ended questions that must be exactly replicated for each participant. In contrast, qualitative is a guided discussion which is dynamic and flexible. The analysis of data is statistical, think numbers and percentages, and is predictive. Qualitative analysis is based on observation and interpretation, and is descriptive. Generally speaking, you can think of quantitative as being more left-brain, and qualitative as being more right-brain.
So when would you use each? Objectives for research always begin with an action verb. If your stated objectives call for numbers, comparisons or definitive decisions, like select, measure, prioritize, monitor or track, these would indicate quantitative. If, on the other hand, your goal is to identify, define, describe, explore, generate or evaluate, then you are most likely going to be considering qualitative research.
Qualitative research is used to develop an initial understanding of an issue or problem or to understand the language your customers use so you'll know how to best communicate with them. If you wanna understand perceptions among different groups of customers, what they like or dislike, what motivates them to do something, or how they make decisions, these would call for qualitative research. Qualitative research can also be used in conjunction with quantitative. If you ask the wrong questions in a quantitative survey, or ask them in the wrong way, the results will be meaningless.
So qualitative research may be used on the front end of quantitative to uncover the language that consumers use to describe things, identify relevant questions, and develop a comprehensive list of potential response options for the quantitative questions. It may also be used to refine the messages that will be tested quantitatively or to narrow down the options that will move into quantitative testing. Qualitative research can also be used on the back end of a quantitative study to explain findings that were unexpected.
If responses were significantly different for males versus females or a significant of respondents were dissatisfied with your product, you may wanna consider an in-depth exploration to uncover why this might be the case. So step one in determining whether to use qualitative or quantitative research is to examine the research problem. If you're looking for information to finalize a decision, think quantitative. If you're looking for information to provide some direction, think qualitative.
If you wanna know what someone does, think quantitative. If you wanna know why someone does something, think qualitative.
- What is qualitative research?
- The benefits of qualitative research
- Identifying your objectives and methodology
- Creating screeners and discussion guides
- Defining the timeline and logistics
- Writing a report
- Asking questions
- Moderating a group