The 10 Best Reasons for Conducting Qualitative Research

What would marketers and other decision-makers miss if they no longer had access to qualitative research?  Here are the ten best reasons.

This is a summary of a post by Kevin Gray, who was in turn summarising a piece by John Creswell.  I agree with all of it, but have changed the wording a little.

The 10 Best Reasons for Conducting Qualitative Research

  1. Qualitative research reveals how people talk about things, how they describe things, and how they see the world.
  2. It makes the context personal, teaching clients that what matters most to people are their own lives, their families, their friends, their homes, and their work, not our client’s product or service.
  3. It helps us understand complex problems or situations. ‘The more facets the researcher uncovers, the better; the more unpredictable aspects that surface, the better. We hear multiple voices from many participants, gather multiple perspectives, and develop multiple themes.’
  4. It reveals processes, the steps people actually take and the order they take them in and the ones they skip.
  5. It helps us understand a small number of people in depth, those people chosen because they are of specific relevance to the problem at hand. This compares with conducting a large survey of people many of whom are only of peripheral interest.
  6. We learn about the topic, because it is exploratory. It works because we don’t know exactly what questions to ask until the conversation or observation starts
  7. It helps us hear marginalised voices, of the people who do not usually participate in conventional research
  8. It shares information about themes drawn from multiple perspectives. ‘When a theme is presented in a qualitative study, we hear about the many perspectives of individuals, individuals from different walks of life, age groups, geographic regions, genders, and so forth, that provide a rich mosaic of life.’
  9. It gives us the opportunity to ‘contrast what is stated (e.g., organizational goals) with what is not stated (e.g., informal goals).When we talk to people we may obtain a different perspective than when we look at the formal structure of an organization.’
  10. It is great for emotionally charged topics. ‘Because we talk directly to people and spend time in their settings, we may get them to talk about the ‘hard issues,’ the problems that typically do not surface in more conventional research.’


Kevin’s post is here.

A link to John’s book here.

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Tags: Market Research, Qualitative Research