¿What is qualitative research?
0 Is a term used loosely to refer to research whose
findings are not subject to quantification or
quantitative analysis.
0 Qualitative research could be used to examine the
attitudes, feelings and motivations of the heavy user,
essentially how to communicate with them.
Qualitative research VS quantitative research.
Types of questions
Limited probing
Sample size
Amount of information
from each respondent
Requirements for
Interviewer with
special skills
Interviewer with fewer
skills or no interviewer
Type of analysis
Subjective, interpretive
Statistical, summation
Tape recorders,
pictures, discussion
computer printout
Degree of explicability
Researcher training
Psychology, sociology,
social psychology,…
Statistics, decision
models, computer
Type of research
Descriptive o causal
¿Why does the popularity of qualitative
research continue to grow?
1. Qualitative research is usually much cheaper than
quantitative research.
2. There is no better way to understand the
motivation and feelings of consumers.
3. It can improve the efficiency of quantitative
All marketing research is undertaken to increase the
effectiveness of decision making. Qualitative research
blends with quantitative measures to provide a more
thorough understanding of consumer demand.
Qualitative techniques involve open-ended questioning
and probing
Limitations of qualitative
0 One drawback relates to the fact that marketing
successes and failures many times are based on small
differences in attitudes or opinions about the marking
mix, and qualitative research does not distinguish
those small differences as well as large-scale
quantitative research does.
0 The second limitation is that they are not necessarily
representative of the population of interest to the
0 Focus group consists of 8 to 12 participants who are
led by a moderator in the discussion on one particular
topic or concept.
0 The goal is to learn and understand what people have
to say and why .
0 The emphasis is on getting people to talk at length
and in detail about the subject .
0 The intent is to find out how they feel about the
product, concept, idea or organization; how it fits into
their lives and their emotional involvement with it.
Popularity of focus groups
0 Focus groups allow the research to experience the
emotional framework in which the product is begin
0 In a sense, the researcher can go into a person’s life
and relieve with him or her all the satisfaction,
dissatisfactions, rewards and frustration experienced
when the product is taken home.
Conducting focus groups
Prepare for the
Select a focus
group facility
and recruit the
Select a
And create a
Conduct the
Prepare the
focus group
Step 1. Prepare for the group
0 Setting: is often conference room, with a large one-
way mirror built into one wall. Microphones are
placed (usually on the ceiling) to record the
discussion. Behind the mirror is the viewing room.
0 Participants for focus group are recruited from a
variety of sources. Two traditional procedures are
mall-intercept interviewing and random telephone
screening. Researches normally establish criteria for
the group participants.
STEP 2. Select a moderator
0 Having qualified respondents and a good focus group
moderator are the keys to a successful focus group.
0 A focus group moderator needs two sets of skills.
1. The moderator must be able to conduct a group
2. He or she must have good business skills in order
to effectively interact with the client.
STEP 2. Select a moderator
0 Key attributes for conducting a focus group include
the following:
Genuine interest in people, their behavior,
2. Acceptance for de differences in people.
3. Good listening skills.
4. Good observation skills.
5. Good oral and written communication skills
6. Objective
STEP 2. Create a discussion
0 A discussion guide is a written outline of the topics to
be covered during the session. Usually the guide is
generated by the moderator based of the research
objectives and client information needs. It serves as a
checklist to ensure that all salient topics are covered
and in the proper sequence.
STEP 2. Create a discussion
0 The guide tents to lead the discussion though three
1. Rapport is established, the rules group interactions
are explained are objectives are given.
2. The moderator attempts to provoke discussion.
3. Is used summarizing significant conclusions and
testing the limits of belief and commitment.
STEP 3. Focus group length
0 Many managers today prefer shorter (around an
hour)focus groups. Yet the average group today is still
about 90 minutes.
0 The group length issue is not an insulated one, it is
intertwined with a second key factor: the number of
the discussion guide.
0 The managers should examine the interactions
between the length of the focus group and the size of
the discussion guide.
STEP 4. Focus group report
0 After the final of the group in a series is completed,
there will be a moderator debriefing, sometimes
called instant analysis.
0 A formal focus group report is typically a PowerPoint
presentation. The written report is nothing more than
a copy of the PowerPoint slides.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Focus
0 The benefits and drawbacks of qualitative research in general also apply to focus
groups. But focus groups have some unique pros and cons that deserve mention.
• Advantages of Focus Groups: The interactions among respondents can
stimulate new ideas and thoughts that might not arise during one-on-one interviews.
And group pressure can help challenge respondents to keep their thinking realistic.
Energetic interactions among respondents also make it likely that observation of a
group will provide firsthand consumer information to client observers in a shorter
amount of time and in a more interesting way than will individual interviews.
0 Another advantege focus groups offer is the opportunity to observe customers or
prospects from behind a one-way mirror. In fact, there is growing use of focus groups
to expose a broader range of employees to customer comments and views.
0 One more advantege of focus grops is that they can be executed more quickly than
many other research techniques. In addition, findings from groups tend to be easier to
understand and to have a compelling immediacy and excitement. “I can get up and
show a client all the charts and graphs in the world, but it has nowhere near the
impact of showing 8 or 10 customers sitting around a table and saying that the
company´s service isn´t good”. By Jean-Anne Mutter (director of marketing research at
Ketchum Advertising).
0 Disadvanteges of Focus Groups: Unfortunately, some of the stengths of focus groups
also can become disadvantages. For example, the immediacy and apparent
understandability of focus group findings can cause managers to be misled instead of
informed. Mutter says, “Even though you´re only getting a very small slice, a focus group
gives you a sense that you really understand the situation.” She adds that focus groups can
strongly appeal to “people´s desire for quick, simple answers to problems, and i see a
decreasing willingness to go with complexity and to put forth the effort needed to really
think through the complex data that will be yielded by a quantitative study.”
Other disadvantages relate to the focus group process. For example, focus group
recruiting may be a problem if the type of person recruited responds differently to the
isues being discussed than do other target segments. White middle-class individuals, for
example, participate in qualitative research in numbers disproportionate to their presence
in the marketplace. Also, some focus group facilities create an impersonal feeling, making
honest conversation unlikely. Corporate or formal setting with large boardroom tables and
unattractive or plain decor may make it difficult for respondents to relax and share their
0 Video Transmission of Focus Groups: Live video transmissions of focus groups has
occurred for the past 20 years. The advantage for researchers and clients is that not
everyone has to travel to every focus group to participate. A survey found that users of
video focus groups were typically quite pleased. Sixty-seven percent rated the experience
excellent or good. Approximately 22 percent of all U.S. focus groups involve video
Other Qualitative
0 Most of this chapter has been devoted to focus groups
because of their pervasive use in marketing research.
However, several other qualitative techniques are also
used, albeit on a much more limited basis.
Other Qualitative
0 Individual Depth Interviews: (IDI) are relatively unstructured one-on-one interviews.
The interviewer is thoroughly trained in the skill of probing and eliciting detailed answers to
each question. IDIs are the second most popular form of qualitative research.
0 Advantages of depth interviews over focus groups are as follows:
Group pressure is eliminated, so the respondent reveals more honest feelings, not necessarily those considered most
acceptable among peers.
2. The personal one-on-one situation gives the respondent the feeling of being the focus of attention- that his or her thoughts
and feelings are important and truly wanted.
3. The respondent attains a heightened state of awareness because he or she has constant interaction with the interviewer and
there are no group members to hide behind.
4. The longer time devoted to individual respondents encourages the revelation of new information.
5. Respondents can be probed at length to reveal the feelings and motivations that underlie statements.
6. Without the restrictions of cultivating a group process, new directions of questioning can be improvised more easily.
Individual interviews allow greater flexibility to explore casual remarks and tangential issues, which may provide critical
insights into the main issue.
7. The closeness of the one-on-one relationship allows the interviewer to become more sensitive to nonverbal feedback.
8. A singular viewpoint can be obtained from a respondent without influence from others.
9. The interview can be conducted anywhere, in places other than a focus group facility.
10. Depth interviews may be the only viable technique for situations in which a group approach would require that competitors
be placed in the same room. For example, it might be very difficult to do a focus group on systems for preventing bad checks
with managers from competing deparment stores or retaurants.
0 Disadvantages of depth interviews relative to focus groups are as follows:
1. The total cost of depth interviews can be more expensive than focus groups, but not on a cost per
respondent minute.
2. Depth interviews do not generally get the same degree of client involvement as focus groups. It is
difficult to convince most client personnel to sith through multiple hours of depth interviews so as
to benefit firsthand from the information.
3. Because depth interviews are physically exhausting for the moderator, they do not cover as much
ground in one day as do focus groups. Most moderators will not do more than four or five depth
interviws in a day, wheras they can involuve 20 people in a day in two focus groups.
4. Focus groups give the moderator an ability to leverage the dynamics of the group to obtain
reactions that might not be generated in a one-on-one session.
The success of any depth interview depends mainly on the skills of the interviewer. And classic
applications of depth interviews include:
0 Communication checks such as (review of print, radio, or TV advertisements or other written
0 Sensory evaluations such as (reactions to varied formulations for deodorants or hand lotions)
0 Exploratory research such as (defining baseline understanding or a product, service, or idea)
0 New prduct development, prototype stage
0 Packging or usage research as (when clients want to “mirror” personal experience and obtain key
language descriptors)
A variation of the depth interview is called customer care research (CCR). The basic idea is to use
depth iterviewing to understand to dynamic of the purchase process. The following seven questions
are the basis for CCR:
What started you on the road to making this purchase?
Why did you make this purchase now?
What was the hardest part of this process? Was there any point where you got stuck?
When and how did you decide the price was acceptable?
Is there someone else with whom i should talk to get more of the story behind this purchase?
If you´ve purschased this product before, how does the story of your last purchase differ from this one?
At what point did you decide you trusted this organization and this person to work with in you best interests?
0 Cost of Focus Groups versus IDI: In a standard, eight-person, 90-minute focus group, there are nine
people (eight participants plus moderator) sharing the floor. On average, therefore, each respondent is
allotted 10 minutes of talk time across those 90 minutes (90 minutes divided by nine people).
The cost of a focus group of this type is about 6.000$. That number includes every-thing: recruiter,
moderator, participant stipend, food, facility, report write-up, and the cost of getting a few observers to
the event. Divide 80 minutes of participant talk time (the moderator doesn´t count) into the 6000$
expense, and your cost per respondent minute in this case is 75$ (6000$/80)
If, however, a typical in-depth interview runs 30 minutes and costs between 400$ and 500$ (including
recruiting, interviewing, participant stipend, and reporting), the cost per respondent minute is in the
range of 16$ to 25$. The big difference results from the amount of time the respondent spends talking,
which is typically about 20 to 25 of those 30 minutes in an in-depth phone interview.
Thus, when considering the cost per respondent minute, in-depth interviews can provide much greater
value. Of course, the quality of both the focus groups and the IDI determines the real value of the
0 Using Hermeneutics: Some IDI researchers use a technique called hermeneutic
research to achieve their goals. Hermeneutic research that focuses on interpretation
through conversations.
For example, a reseacher and consumer in conversation about why that individual
purchased a high-end home theater system may discuss the reasons for making the
purchase, such as holding movie parties, enjoying a stay-at-home luxury, or immersing
one-self in sporting events. The researcher may interpret “holding movie parties” as a
reason for purchase to mean that without the system, the consumer would not hold the
parties at all, and so the researcher will return to the consumer for additional information.
Upon reviewing the data and talking more, the researcher and consumer determine that
why the item was purchased and why it is used (which may or may not be the same) are
not as telling as how the product makes its owner feel. In this case, the owner may feel
confident as an entertainer, more social, powerful, wealthy, relaxed, or rejuvenated.
Talking and probing more about the use of the home theater, the researcher uncovers both
new data and new issues to address or consider moving forward.
0 Using the Delphi Method: The Delphi Method is often used in new product
development when firms are looking for creative new ideas to incorporate in products or
services. In conclusion this method rounds of individual data collection from
knowledegeable people; results are summarized and returned to participants for further
The purpose of anonymity in a Delphi study is to exclude group interaction, which can
cause a number of problems, such as group conflict and individual dominance. Dlphi relies
on a structured, indirect approach to group decision making; that is, participants don´t
meet, relying instead on statistical aggregation of individual predictions and ideas.
Projective Tests
0 This is a technique for tapping respondents
deepest feelings by having them project those
feelings into an unstructured situation. These
techniques are for penetrating a person´s
defense mechanisms to allow true feelings and
attitudes to emerge.
Why is projection important?
0 Consumers may not tell us everything that influences them.
Three obstacles stand in the way:
Respondents may be unconscious or unaware of a particular
They may be aware of an ingluence, but feel it is too personal
or socially undesirable to admit (e.g. prestige image or racial
They may be aware that they perceive a product a particular
way, but they may not bother to mention this because, in their
view, it is not a logical, rational reason for buying or not
buying the product. Some doctors. For example, are adamant
that what they prescribe has nothing to do with the sound of a
drug´s name or the attractiveness of the manufacturer´s logo,
and is based solely on decision-making factors such as
research findings, clinical experience, and patient compliance.
Most common forms of projective
0 But the most common forms of projective
techniques used in marketing research are word
association tests, sentence and story completion
tests, cartoon tests, photo sorts, consumer
drawings, storytelling, and third-person
techniques. Other techniques, such as psychodrama
tests and the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT),
have been popular in treating psychological
disorders but of less help in marketing research.
Word Association Tests
0 This is a projective test in which the interviewer says
a word and the respondent must mention the first
thing that comes to mind.
0 Word association tests are used to select brand
names, advertising campaign themes, and sologans.
0 Analogies draw a comparison between two items in
terms of their similarities.
0 For example, a researcher investigating consumers perceptions of Ford
automobiles may ask: “I´m going to read you a list of stores, and then i´d like you
to tell me which of these is most similar to Ford cars. If possible, try to give the
first answer that comes to mind. The stores are: Neiman Marcus, Wal-Mart,
Macy´s, JC Penney, Kmart, Nordstrom, Target, and Lord & Taylor”. As a follow-up,
the researcher would then ask: “What is it about (Store X) that is most similar to
Ford cars? How are the qualities of Ford cars similar to this store?” This line of
questioning induces the respondent to talk (indirectly) about his or her
perceptions of Ford cars.
0 The use of analogies in this instance is not to determine which store(s) people
associate with Ford cars but rather to get people to talk about their perceptions
of Ford cars in ways they might otherwise be unable to do.
0 This involves drawing a comparison between a
product and a person.
0 Thus we can appreciate as the person is if that people
choose such kind of car.
0 Sentence and Story Completion Tests: this is a projective
tests in which respondents complete sentences or stories in
their own words.
1. Best Buy is…
2. The people who shop at Best Buy are…
3. Best Buy should really…
4. I don´t understand why Best Buy doesn´t…
0 Sentence and story completion tests have been
considered by some researchers to be the most usefutl
and reliable of all the projective tests. Decision Analyst is
now offering both online sentence completion and online
word association research to its clients.
0 Cartoon Tests: consists of two characters with balloons.
Similar to those seen in comic books. But more specifically
it´s a test in which the respondent fills in the dialogue of one
of two characters in a cartoon.
0 Photo Sorts: consumers express their feelings about
brands by manipulating a specially developed photo deck
depicting different types of people, from business
executives to college students. Respondents connect the
individuals in the photos with the brands they think they
would use. Then photo sorts is a technique in which a
respondent sorts photos of different types of people,
identifying those people who she or he feels would use the
specified product or service.
0 Consumer Drawings: researchers somethimes ask
consumers to draw what they are feeling or how they
perceive an object. Then consumer drawings can unlock
motivations or express perceptions.
0 Storytelling: this requires consumers to tell stories about
their experiences. It is a search for subtle insights into
consumer behavior. This technique can be known as
metaphor technique.
0 Third-Person Technique: Perhaps the easiest projective
technique to apply, other than word association, is this. Here
the interviewer learns about respondents feelings by asking
them to answer for a third party, such as “your neighbor” or
“most people”.
Future of Qualitative Research
0 The rationale behind qualitative research tests is as follows:
1. The criteria employed and the evaluations made in most buying and
usage decisions have emotional and subconscious content, which is an
important determinant of buying and usage decisions.
2. Such content is adequately and accurately verbalized by the respondent
only through indirect communicative techniques.
On the positive side, the use of focus groups will grow. Focus group
research can provide data and insights not available through any other
techniques. Low cost and ease of application will lend even greater
impetus to use online focus groups. Finally, the qualitative-quantitative
split will begin to close as adaptations and innovations allow
researchers to enjoy the advantages of both approaches simultaneously.
Thank you

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