The first step in any research project is to determine your research needs. What are your goals and what questions are you trying to answer? Once these are identified, the next step is to work with your research partner to determine the most appropriate approach for your needs.
It may be easy to assume you need to use either qualitative or quantitative methods. In reality, they complement each other, however, resulting in deeper insights. Think of qualitative and quantitative as the “yin and yang” of research – they work fine on their own but they deliver deeper and more useful insights when used in combination.
Quantitative data focuses on numbers, metrics, and the formulation of facts. The numbers you gather from your quantitative research will be the foundation for strong business decisions in the future. Ways to gather quantitative data include conducting A/B testing, closed-question surveys, and web analytics.
Qualitative data focuses on the voice of your customers, asking open-ended questions, and developing ideas. Qualitative data reveals customer opinions, values, and beliefs. This data can help you define problems and areas for improvement. Ways to gather qualitative data include conducting focus groups or one-on-one interviews that ask open-ended questions.
Employing only one type of data can harm your research project. One without the other offers an incomplete picture, lacking a strong foundation on which to base decisions.
Quantitative data provides you the what, but qualitative data provides you the why.
How can you combine these two types of research to benefit your next project?
Let’s take a look at a few examples that illustrate the power of mixed methods:
Google Analytics offers a wealth of quantitative data, such as how many people visited your site, how they got there, and how long they stayed. The information is incredibly helpful and extremely detailed, but without thoughtful interpretation, it’s useless.
In many cases, Google Analytics’ quantitative data will help you pinpoint exactly where your problem lies. But only qualitative data can identify the cause of the issue. Why is that text box causing people to leave your site? Is the field too difficult to fill out? You’ll obtain this information through interviews, co-browsing sessions or feedback tools.
The value of social media is often difficult to quantify. Online retailers can use direct link tracking, but for service providers, tracking sales from social media is not so cut and dry.
Social media insight tools that measure clicks, engagement rates, and the number of followers reveal important statistics about your community. To discover which types of posts resonate most with your audience, you’ll need to do some qualitative investigation, such as reading and studying comments, analyzing sentiment, and making observations over time.
The success of marketing events is often judged by hard data such as the number of attendees or sales made during the event. But qualitative research is great for putting a face to a number. By encouraging attendees to fill out a survey, you collect valuable information about attendees, such as demographic info, product feedback and detailed impressions of the event.
When bringing quantitative and qualitative data together, you’re closing all the gaps. A mixed-methods approach can offer a powerful path towards a deeper understanding of all aspects of your business. Voccii®’s deep-dive approach to corporate market research includes the following skills and techniques.
If you don’t see something you need, contact us. Every project is customized to your specific needs.