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Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design Questions

Our professionals have set up this page specifically to answer those burning questions you might be having about qualitative research designs. Go through them and if your question is not answered, please feel free to contact us on our toll free line, online customer care or email:

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  1. When is a qualitative research method appropriate?

It is appropriate when you need to tap into the hearts and minds of the customers. Qualitative research is designed to look “beyond the percentages” to gain an understanding of the customer’s feelings, impressions and viewpoints. Such intuitive, highly subjective personal input can only be obtained through qualitative research. Qualitative research is laser-focused dealing only with smaller groups. Experts’ moderators, unencumbered by the time constraints of a quantitative survey, use a multitude of techniques during lengthy interviews to obtain in-depth information. The interviews, which last as long as two hours, allow the moderator to elicit extremely candid, highly complex responses.

  1. Is qualitative research scientific?

Qualitative research is an essentially scientific methodology, used extensively and very profitably in all the social sciences (including anthropology, psychology, economic, political science, and sociology – as well as marketing)

  1. Do I always need a survey to validate qualitative research findings?

It depends. If it is very important know the proportion of customers who feel or act in a certain way (in order, for instance, to allocate marketing resources), they a survey (or careful re-analysis of existing quantitative data) will sure be needed.

  1. In qualitative research reports some comments are followed by many quotes from the groups while other comments have fewer quotes or none at all. Are the ones with more quotes more important?

Unless the author states otherwise, the number of quotes in a report has nothing to do with the relative importance of the discussion points. Some questions simply tend to generate more detailed discussion than others. Some very important issues generate only a series of head nods or frowns. Some fairly trivial issues can generate interesting and articulate comments. In most reports, the quotes are offered in the report merely to provide color and a more vivid illustration of the discussion point. The “meat” of the report is the discussion text rather than in the respondents’ verbatim.

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