What is the Difference Between Qualitative Research and Quantitative Research?

Market research is about finding information. The purpose of conducting that research is so that you can find something within the information you collect that you can exploit to improve your business. Whether it is a market need, a successful advertising strategy, the reception to your current products or more, market research is the best tool for discovering how to run your business.

Survey research is one of the most common ways that companies collect market research data. There are two styles of survey research: Qualitative Research and Quantitative Research.

Quantitative Research

Quantitative research is research that can be directly analyzed. As the name implies, quantitative research is about numbers. Survey participants provide an answer that corresponds to a number, like choosing 1 through 5 on a satisfaction score. That number is then kept in a database, and the database can be used for statistical analysis, which in turn can be used to formulate ideas.

Quantitative research is the best way to get real data that you can use to educate your business and your marketing plan. It is also the easiest way to track changes, discover trends, validate ideas, and monitor success.

Qualitative Research

Qualitative research is about thought and behavior exploration. It is most commonly used when the researcher is not looking for a specific answer. Qualitative research tends to involve open ended sentences with no direct numerical value. Survey respondents are usually provided prompts from which they can write out their thoughts. Though it is possible to turn qualitative responses into numerical data, the process can be difficult and inaccurate so it is not a good choice for statistical analyses.

Qualitative Survey or Quantitative Survey: Which to Use for Your Market Research

For most market research, you are going to want to use quantitative data collection methods. Numbers are the best way to answer research questions and use statistics to find any information that may be valuable to running your business. Quantitative research is at the heart of most types of research because it is the only one that allows you to draw statistical conclusions from the outcome, as well as run cross analyses to look for any interesting points of data.

Qualitative research is far less valuable in that respect, although it may be useful for discovering an interesting idea. There are very few statistical analysis to run and no guarantee that you will be able to find answers to your business’s questions. It may, however, be useful for finding what questions to ask or getting some personal feedback from potential customers.

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