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Qualitative Versus Quantitative Research

Comparison Dimension
Types of questions Sample size Information per respondent Administration Type of analysis Hardware

Qualitative Research
Probing Small Much Requires interviewer with special skills Subjective, Interpretive Tape recorders, projection devices, videos, pictures, discussion guides Low Psychology, sociology, social psychology, consumer behavior, marketing, marketing research Exploratory

Quantitative Research
Nonprobing Large Varies Fewer special skills required Statistical, summarization Questionnaires, computers, printouts High Statistics, decision models, decision support systems, computer programming, marketing, marketing research Descriptive or causal

Ability to replicate Training of the researcher

Type of research

Triangulation of Research
What does it mean to triangulate research? We move from qualitative to quantitative techniques and back again Define the problem - qualitative

Define and test hypotheses - quantitative

Explore the results in depth - qualitative

Research is a back-and-forth process

Summary of Research Techniques

Direct Questionnaire Experiments Observation

Focus group Depth interview Observation

Indirect Observation

Projective techniques Observation

Figure 6.2

A Classification of Qualitative Research Procedures

Qualitative Research Procedures

Direct (Nondisguised)

Indirect (Disguised)

Most Common Qualitative Procedure

Focus Groups

Depth Interviews

Projective Techniques

Expressive Techniques

Association Techniques

Completion Techniques Construction Techniques

Steps in Conducting a Focus Group

Prepare for the Group Select a focus group facility and recruit the participants.

Prepare the Focus Group Report

Select a Moderator Create a discussion guide

Conduct the group

Table 6.2 Characteristics of Focus Groups

Group size Group composition Physical setting Time duration Recording Observation

8-12 Homogeneous; respondents prescreened Relaxed, informal atmosphere, living room environment 1-3 hours Use of audiocassettes and videotapes, one-way mirror Observational, interpersonal, and communication skills of the moderator First time participants Some experience with topic No friends/relatives together No domineering personalities

Key success factor Ability of moderator to stimulate INTERACTION among group members

Types of Focus Groups Exploratory Focus Groups

Problem definition Hypothesis generation Concept testing Pilot testing

Clinical Focus Groups ??

Explore subconscious motivation

Experiencing Focus Groups

Product/Brand usage attitudes Product/Brand usage beliefs

Advantages of Focus Groups

Relatively quick information Stimulate new ideas Relatively inexpensive Very flexible Very spontaneous Synergy Snowballing of ideas

Disadvantages of Focus Groups

Recruiting problems Hard to quantify results Small sample size Cant generalize to the target population (Beware of this tendency) Validity and reliability considerations

TABLE 6.5 Nominal Grouping Sessions versus Focus Groups

1. 2. 3. Individuals assigned to small groups (6-10) based on chosen/common characteristics. Group members silently and independently generate ideas about a subject/problem. Each member presents one idea to the group without discussion in an iterative fashion until all ideas are offered. All ideas are recorded on the board. All ideas are discussed for clarification, combination, and evaluation. Expressions of the importance of ideas are encouraged, but criticisms of others ideas are discouraged. Each member privately rates or ranks the pooled ideas by importance. Discussion of the ratings by the group until consensus is reached on those ratings. This process generates the most important reasons for ratings.


Same. Ideas generated during group interaction/discussion Ideas/items to be discussed are given by the researcher.


Same, but criticisms of ideas usually are accepted.

5. 6.

Primarily unstructured discussion. Primarily unstructured discussion, which ends when the moderator/facilitator believes all important discussions have been completed.

SOURCE: Barry Langford, Nominal Grouping Sessions,Marketing Research (Summer 1994), p. 17.

Projective Techniques Figure 6.4 A Cartoon Test SEARS

Lets see if we can pick up some housewares at Sears!

1. Association Techniques (Word Association) 2. Completion Techniques (Sentence Completion) 3. Construction Techniques (Cartoon Tests) 4. Expressive Techniques (Role Playing)

Cartoon Test
Hey John, I just received a $500 bonus for a suggestion my company is now using on the production line. Im thinking about putting my money in a credit union.