Qualitative Market Research and quantitative market research are the two effective tools to capture data about market .Whereas quantitative research operates by capturing bulk data from a large sample of population, qualitative research operates by conducting in-depth study of the market. The data is obtained from a somewhat small group of respondents and this data is not analyzed with typical statistical techniques. In this way it is significantly different from quantitative research in where large groups of respondents submit data that is then statistically analyzed.
Qualitative Research studies a market through deep rooted research and explores the existing market trends to help marketers to take business decisions. The methods used in this are used mostly for problem definition and hypotheses generation.
As the number of respondents is low, the results obtained from qualitative research cannot generalize the entire spectrum of population. But they are widely used by researchers to arrive at a detailed understanding of the market spectrum.
The approach used in these methods can either be direct or indirect .In direct approach the purpose of research is clearly stated and exposed to the respondents, the questions are directly asked and precise but sometimes indirect approach can also be used. However experts sometimes have ethical misgivings regarding the amount of deceit sometimes used in this approach. All respondents therefore after completion, attend a session in which they are debriefed. The true and actual purpose of the research is revealed to the respondents.
In-depth interviews are most widely used for qualitative research in many business markets. This method is a one-on-one interaction between the interviewer and the respondent where the interviewer tries to find out the customer’s particular preference and individual opinions. In-Depth interviews almost always take place in person. The added advantage here is that the researcher may visit the respondent’s workplace or meet them in some other type of environment. In this way he also gains an insight into business culture .Sometimes in depth telephone interviews, or online interviews can also be conducted. This is specially done when multi national survey has to be administered.
In a group discussion, the researcher generally plays the part of a moderator while different customers participate in a discussion. Group discussions can be very successful in to gain in depth understanding of customers requirement and also encourage creative ideas from participants. Although focus groups are seldom used as busy executives have no time for them and also they are too expensive.