Research Methods

Qualitative Research, Survey Research, Semiotics and Discourse Analysis

Qualitative Research For Connection And Insight

We are experts in qualitative research. Indeed, Susan Bell has been called one of ‘four prominent voices’ in qualitative research worldwide.

Qualitative research is a powerful insight method used by organisations that want to know how to build deep connections with their customers or members. The flexibility inherent in this method means that people can explain their lives to us in their own words. The result: our clients understand and empathise with how their customeers feel, and know how to communicate to them.

Qualitative research methods

We use face to face, phone, and online qualitative research methods – groups, individual and couple interviews and ethnography.

Qualitative research techniques

Techniques inlcude journey mapping, projective and enabling questions, sensory qualitative and co-creation.

Surveys To Measure

We cannot rely on qualitataive insight alone. We use survey research to measure and to esnure that our sampling is representative.

We have deep expertise in wording survey questions so that they are precise, impartial, and can be answered accurately.

Survey research types

Our survey expertise includes:

  • customer tracking studies,
  • usage and attitude studies,
  • segmentation studies and
  • concept development and testing.

Survey research methods

While most surveys are conducted online, we are committed to a mixed methods approach where we use the method most suited to the target audience.

Semiotics To Understand Imagery

Semiotics is a cultural insight tool that focuses on visual analysis. Our clients use it to understand how to use imagery in their communications.

Semiotics is perfect for understanding how packaging and advertising convey their meaning. It focusses on colour, shape, and symbolism. It is ideal for revealing sensory meaning.

Semiotics can be commissioned as a desk-based technique that often combines well with qualitative research.

We can also conduct Decoding Workshops for you so that you and your team can learn this very valuable insight tool.

Discourse Analysis for Brand Voice And Language

Discourse Analysis is a desk-based linguistic analysis technique.

Susan Bell brings her deep knowledge of how language works to this unusual but insightful research method.

We are currently working on ‘discourses of ageing’ – how media talks about ageing

We can combine Discourse Analysis training with Semiotics training or you can commission us to conduct Discourse Analysis as a stand alone projct.

We also use Discourse Analysis to anlayse the written language in documents such as complaint letters. This analysis reveals how simple or complex the message is, and its style or tone of voice.


Susan Bell Founder & Lead Consultant
Sue Bell, Founder & Lead Consultant

We would love to hear from you, and are always happy to talk through research methods and options with you, if you are not sure what you need. Why not get in touch for a free, obligation-free, and confidential conversation.

Find out more about Susan Bell Research.

How to pick stock imagery for the older market -and what to avoid
Don’t test written content in focus groups
The 5 things marketers should know when targeting the over 60s
happy senior couple riding bicycles at summer park