Understand the differences between qualitative and quantitative research and learn how to apply them – WAU

Qualitative and quantitative research are complementary methods to obtain important data for the company. The first serves to qualify, or show, the characteristics of a target audience. As for the second, it measures consumer preferences, measuring the level of satisfaction and assisting decision making based on objective data.

We live in an era when you need to use data to be able to make the best decisions within your company. Therefore, whenever necessary, market research should be carried out.

The way in which each obtains and uses the data varies according to the business objective and the recognition of which metrics really matter to the company. In this sense, tools such as social networks and Google Analytics have come to facilitate this process in the daily life of a marketer.

However, this data is not always sufficient to point out which path you should take. That is why it is necessary to carry out complementary research that serves to give direction and that is why it is so important to conduct qualitative and quantitative research within your company.

What are these surveys about, what are their differences and how to use them? To help you understand these issues, in this article we’ll cover:

First, you need to understand how each type of research works. So you can discern when to use each one and why qualitative and quantitative research are important for the development of your company.

Continue reading to understand!

Qualitative research

Which is?

First of all, it is important to keep in mind the origin of the word “qualitative”. As soon as we talk about it, the term “qualities” comes to mind, and this is totally different from the “quantity” of something.

This makes it easier to understand that something qualitative is what determines quality, that is, the characteristic of something. In that case, you don’t need to create metrics and use statistics to prove a point.

Qualitative research is applied in different work segments. For example, a person who works in a laboratory will understand that analyzes will be carried out on substances to identify whether or not there is a component present in the product, without worrying about knowing how much of that component is present in the merchandise.

What do they all have in common? So looking for quality, that is, the characteristic of something.

For you who are focused on business marketing, quantitative surveys serve to show what is the behavior pattern of your target Audience, without worrying about having metrics that prove the results.

What are the benefits?

In the market, it is sometimes difficult to know which way to go and what are the metrics that not only represent the vanity of a business. So, in qualitative research, you can have a better perception of the market.

In addition, when talking to a group of people, you can observe what is attractive and why a product or service attracts the attention of your audience. This type of research gives answers that the metrics do not offer.

In some cases, barriers in consumer behavior or even structural problems in your business are revealed that had not been considered before.

How to make?

The best way to conduct this type of research is to talk to people and observe them. Some ways you can organize how it will be done are:

  • ethnography – you observe the consumer in an environment that is natural for him, without interacting with the public;
  • participant observation – you can see how the customer acts in his natural environment and interacts with him to better understand what drives him to act that way;
  • do interviews – they can be individual, in pairs, by phone or in writing, but the important thing is to understand the opinion of the people with whom you talk;
  • set up focus groups – a group of people will discuss and debate on any subject.

Qualitative research should not be done haphazardly and it is not just a matter of speculation. Therefore, when conducting this experiment, you must have developed a structured guide.

In this way, you are able to encourage participating people to explain what are the reasons that lead them to act in a certain way. In addition, this guide is to ensure that you do not forget to note or address a topic.

When to apply?

Qualitative research should be done whenever:

  • you have no information on the matter;
  • there is no data to show the best path for your team to follow;
  • it is not known which metric to use;
  • you need to understand the reasons for your audience’s actions or beliefs.

In other words, this research should be done when you need to understand the behavior of your consumers, identify problems and develop the right methods to get your audience’s attention.

How to apply?

To do qualitative research, you will need to select a group of people, taking into account who your target audience is to choose a sample that fits them.

In addition, it must be kept in mind that, for qualitative research, it is generally better to select a few people. After all, you will need to listen, understand or observe the way of thinking and acting on each one.

When creating your guide, try to see if the topics that will be covered will give you the ability to:

  • discover how people think individually;
  • understand what motivates your group to act;
  • discover the main problems that need to be solved;
  • identify new market trends and the behavior of your audience.

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Quantitative research

Which is?

Quantitative research is a conclusive research method. As its name suggests, its purpose is determine the quantity, that is, the size of something. Therefore, this type of research usually uses a large amount of numerical information to present the results that were found.

The application of quantitative research, as well as qualitative research, changes according to each person’s work segment. A chemist, for example, understands that quantitative research concerns laboratory analyzes through which the quantity of a substance will be identified.

In the business world, especially for you who are focused on your company’s marketing, quantitative research involves measure consumer behavior through the set of data science techniques.

What do they all have in common? It is always necessary to identify the quantity of something, even if it is “just” your customer’s satisfaction.

What are the benefits?

The main benefit of quantitative research is to understand numerically the pattern of consumer behavior.

In addition, it is important to note that the data of which you have a dimension is not ambiguous. Thus, it is possible to see clearly what attracts your audience or not. In this case, there is no middle ground: either your consumer likes it or not and there is data to prove it.

So, quantitative research helps you make sure and sure decisions.

How to make?

Quantitative research makes use of questionnaires that transform people’s opinions into valuable data for the company. Therefore, when creating the questionnaires to be used, your team must choose to elaborate closed questions such as:

  • multiple choice – the consumer chooses one or more response options;
  • dichotomous – they are generally statements in which the consumer has the option of agreeing or not;
  • ranking – you can identify what most pleases the consumer. A comparison is made, which can be between different products or even attractive packaging;
  • matrix – the consumer has response options that define his level of satisfaction, ranging from totally satisfied, partially satisfied and totally dissatisfied. Depending on your goal, it is worth including more options within that matrix.

In addition to closed-ended questions, you can use open-ended questions, that is, those where the customer writes exactly what he thinks to quantify his preferences.

But for this, it is important to have a small group of people. After all, to make a count, it will be necessary to take time to analyze the responses individually, in order to score consumer preferences.

Only then will people’s opinions be transformed into quantified data that can be used in the company.

When to apply?

You can make use of quantitative surveys whenever you need to:

  • confirm a hypothesis;
  • measure a market trend;
  • make a comparison between data.

In this way, quantitative research will help you understand what is in the market, where there is room to grow and how your brand is seen by consumers, all using statistics.

How to apply?

The result of quantitative research is statistical, so it is necessary to pay close attention to your sample, that is, the people who will answer the questions. After all, you will have metrics based on a group of individuals.

If your target audience is people between 20 and 30 years old, you need to look for them, since interviewing elderly people, who are between 60 and 70 years old, for example, will not give you a correct result. After all, each age group has its particularities.

Once you have identified who should answer the questions, you need to know where to find these people. Questionnaires can be taken online or even on paper, and what should determine which one you are going to use is where your audience is present.

The differences between the two surveys

So far you have seen what it is and how to use qualitative and quantitative research. It was only around that time that we realized that there are differences in each one.

Qualitative research:

  • it involves human and social understanding;
  • it is holistic, that is, it tries to understand the functioning of its target audience in its entirety, since it motivates individuals to act;
  • it is subjective, since metrics are not stipulated, thus depending on the researcher’s observation;
  • it serves to explore and indicate a better direction to act;
  • it depends a lot on the intuition of who is conducting the research;
  • it serves to give an initial understanding of how to act.

On the other hand, quantitative research:

  • uses methods that generate data, which in turn provide important metrics for the business;
  • it is particularistic, that is, it presents fixed answers such as “yes” or “no” – the data will point out which direction should be followed;
  • it is objective, that is, the metrics eliminate the researcher’s personal view – the data will point to something as good or bad;
  • presents conclusions;
  • offers deductions through the data;
  • guides the final action of a company.

How to balance qualitative and quantitative research

Qualitative and quantitative research are complementary. Using both methods it is possible to have a complete view of what pleases your target audience and the reason for this. That is why, ideally, they should be used as a complement to each other and not in isolation.

An example of this is when doing a market analysis. In this case, you need to understand subjective points that only qualitative research can clarify, such as the social and cultural aspects of an audience.

Objective data, on the other hand, such as income and consumer preferences, are also very important and can only be provided through quantitative research.

That is why, it is indicated to do a qualitative research first, since it will serve to indicate which metrics you should use for quantitative research.

After that, start to generate data through a quantitative research, to know which is the best path to be followed.

As we have shown, qualitative and quantitative research play an important role in directing your company. Through them you can see what your audience likes, what their preferences are and what motivates them to take action.

By following the tips we gave and doing this research, you will be able to make strategic and accurate decisions within your company.

Did you know that doing research generates benefits for your company and also for your customers? To learn more about this, download our ebook “Why do research” right now.