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Qualitative and Quantitative Research


Market research 04 12
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Table of Contents


Qualitative Research

Qualitative Research asks the question “WHY” to collect information and insights on a situation or issue instead of measuring it. It does not collect numerical data. The purpose of conducting Qualitative Research is to analyze the opinions, perceptions, attributes, etc. of the target market. 

In marketing, Qualitative Research helps gather information about the attitudes, motivation, and purchase behavior of the customers. It helps dive deep to understand the goal of the research. 

Market researchers conduct Qualitative Research in a natural setting, like an interview or focus groups, where the customers’ opinions cannot be manipulated. 


  1. What suggestions do you have for our delivery service?
  2. Which service did you enjoy the most during your stay at our hotel?
  3. What do you think of our security service?
Qualitative and Quantitative Research 1

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Quantitative Research

Quantitative Research is meant to examine and measure the collected data to answer the question “WHAT”. The aim is to collect numerical data that is statistically correct so that conclusive decisions can be made. 

The data collected in Quantitative Research helps researchers draw a general conclusion of the entire target market. 

Surveys are the most commonly used method to conduct Quantitative Research.


  1. How likely are you to recommend our restaurant service to your friends/ families?
    • Very likely
    • Somewhat likely
    • Neutral 
    • Somewhat unlikely 
    • Very unlikely
  2. How many times did you use the hotel spa during your stay?
    • Never
    • Once 
    • Two to Three times
    • More than 4 times
Qualitative and Quantitative Research3 1
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Difference between Qualitative and Quantitative Research

Qualitative Research

  • Aims at analyzing ideas and formulation hypothesis
  • Insights are analyzed and interpreted, i.e., contextual
  • Uses open-ended questions
  • Small sample size
  • Interviews and focus groups
  • Subjective

Quantitative Research

  • Aims at proving a hypothesis
  • Statistical analysis of the data
  • Large sample size
  • Closed-ended questions
  • Objective
Qualitative and Quantitative Research2 1



Qualitative Research

  • In a Qualitative Research, a researcher involves themselves in the natural environment of the respondents. The aim is to ensure that respondents provide their perceptions without being influenced by anyone. 
  • The data collected is subjective; it exists in reference to the observer.
  • The study evolves during the research and can be adjusted to meet the purpose of the survey. 

Quantitative Research

  • The researchers can control the variables of the study by conducting Quantitative Research in a lab. 
  • The study is used to test a hypothesis and aims for objective data. 
  • The reality exists separately to the research and is clear to everyone in the team conducting the study. 
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How to collect data?

Qualitative Research:

Collecting qualitative data requires you to select methods that can help you in gathering in-depth information. Some examples of Qualitative Research is:

Interviews: Face-to-face and phone interviews allow you to dive deep into any topic and gain full insight from the customer. 

Focus Groups: Discussion over in-person or online conversation with a small group of participants can help listen to their voice. The discussion with other people can help you gain insights you never considered before. 

Case Study: Collecting stories from customers and clients by conducting interviews with them. 

Open-ended Survey Questions: Some surveys offer respondents the option of open-ended questions. The respondent is asked to express their views and opinion with a free mind. 

Observational Research: Observing customers in your store or when they interact with your product/services. The participants are observed in their natural environment. 

Quantitative Research:

In case of quantitative research you need a method that can help you collect a large volume of response in less time. 

Surveys: A survey includes a questionnaire with multiple choice or closed-ended questions. It can be distributed over email, social media, SMS, etc.

Experiments: Researchers control the variables to establish a cause-effect relationship. 


How to Analyze?

Data in itself cannot prove anything nor can they help you in any way to make a decision. The collected data needs to be analyzed properly to obtain meaning from it. 

Qualitative Research Data:

Qualitative data is difficult to analyze because it is mostly expressed in words, images, audio, or videos. Some ways you can gauge the qualitative data are: 

Thematic Analysis: This method allows you to identify recurring themes and patterns in the collected insights. 

Discourse Analysis: It helps in studying how communication works. 

Quantitative Research Data: 

For quantitative data the end result is numbers. Statistical or mathematical analysis can help identify trends and patterns in the data. The results can be presented in graphs, tables, or charts to better visualize the trend. 

With normal tools like Excel, SPSS, etc. you can measure:

    • Average scores
    • Correlation or Causation between variables
    • Validity of the data


Limitation of Qualitative Research

Conducting Qualitative Research requires a lot of time and money. You need to offer incentives to convince the audiences to participate in the research. Interviews and focus groups are time-consuming. As a result, you cannot draw responses from a large audience. Also, the response cannot be generalized to the entire population. 

The data collected is subjective which makes it difficult to analyze. This also makes it difficult to test validity or reliability because you cannot apply conventional analysis methods. 

It is also impossible to replicate the research. You cannot reproduce the context, event, situation that led to the responses of the audience. 

In the case of a focus group, the response of the participant may be influenced by the outspoken participant. This may also suppress the opinion of a minority or shy people.


Limitation of Quantitative Research

Quantitative Research is conducted remotely which makes it difficult to explain the questions that participants find difficult to understand. Also, you cannot receive the reason behind their choice of answer. 

Small-scale studies may not give accurate or reliable results because of the small quantity of the data collected. This also makes it difficult to generalize the result to the entire target population.



Quantitative Research allows researchers to look into the need or demand of products/ services in the market. It answers the initial questions to formulate decisions about whether the company should invest or not.

Quantitative research questions are closed-ended, multiple-choice, or rating questions. It collects data that can be quantified and statistically analyzed. 

Qualitative research questions involve open-ended questions. The data gathers answers to the “why” of the research topic and is expressed using words instead of numbers.

Quantitative Data includes: age, weight, population, size, volume, and similar numerical values.

Examples of Qualitative Data include: color, feeling, attitude, smell, etc.

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