Qualitative research is data-led, meaning priority is given to new information rather than imposing any existing knowledge. It offers the ability to acquire a deeper understanding of your situation by collecting and analysing information which is more relevant to your current situation. New insights are vital for making future decisions, whether these concern commercial or social applications. Qualitative methods often involve direct interaction between the researcher and participants, whether this be in person or via some form of technology. In addition to any formal report, clients usually get data in various formats so they can verify the interpretations of the researcher, apply further analysis or keep it for future reference - qualitative research is never final.
Qualitative practitioners seek new knowledge on behalf of their clients so any products or services can be improved. The qualitative paradigm offers some of the best ways to understand our ever-changing consumer demand and the fluidity of human cultures. As well as generating fresh primary data through various investigative strategies, qualitative research can also analyse existing secondary data such as customer feedback, survey results, advertisements, reports and any other cultural or visual media. Traditional styles of interviewing are still highly regarded, even at the boutique end of market research, and new technologies can provide some ingenious research methods for generating insight. With advanced professional training and an extensive backgroundin design consultancy, I offer many years of conducting research to high ethical standards.
Dealing with subjectivity, qualitative research is often contrasted with quantitative research which simply looks at statistical relationships between pre-defined variables. Crucially, qualitative methods promote inductive thinking which can influence the actual process of research, whereas quantitative methods are limited by their deductive approach. However, qualitative findings can provide the stepping-stones for investigating something on a larger scale and can be combined with quantitative methods to provide even broader understandings. As a professional researcher I am able to highlight any key findings that are of significance to your project.
A qualitative methodology which actively uses the social context to produce more naturalistic data compared with other interview styles. A group of people recruited from your target audience will discuss your issue or respond to any research stimuli. They commonly employ six to eight participants and last anywhere between one or two hours. The real power of focus groups lies in the way participants draw upon each otherís knowledge in order to go beyond their own understandings or any common stereotypes. As well as discovering any poignant new issues, differences of opinion are just as valuable and thought-provoking as any new or previously unrealised consensus. The end results are much easier to understand than complicated statistics.
Participants also value group discussions as they often learn from the experience or simply enjoy sharing their opinions. Skilled moderators are needed to raise key questions, identify and expand upon any new insights as well as managing the group on different levels. They commonly work closely with their client to develop a topic guide or other activities which can give extra life to the research. There are different focus group formats which can be used for varying purposes or even modified to create original ways to understand your target audience. They are also renowned as an alternative to surveys as they are more cost-effective and can even be conducted online if geographic location or mobility is a concern.
Qualitative strategies are often used to explore and understand peopleís emotional connection with a brand and are crucial for new product development. Depth interviews and group discussions are excellent ways of generating new insights but there are numerous other techniques available, including emerging online technologies. Socially and politically, they help charities deliver better services and governments inform their policies. In terms of our health, they can be incorporated into various psychological therapies.