MSc Research Methods Week 5

Note: this post is aimed as a memory mnemonic for me not you (I’m studying an MSc in Digital Marketing )

Week 5 – Qualitative Research & Analysis

Qual is about finding out Why. More in depth feeling, opinions, motivations (the soft stuff).

In regards to the Ontological it’s from the interpretative approach.

Qualitative is inductive with lots of research and ideas and trying to create a conclusion out of that (deductive is the opposite and you have one theory/model/hypothesis and the aim is to try to test and prove that). Qualitative is more about feeling hence not so much about numbers. The basis of Qualitative is one of psychology.

Qualitative Research Gives Us a way of accessing those meanings.

Qualitative Research is: “essentially concerned with understanding things rather than measuring”  (Gordon & Langmaid)

Qualitative Research looks at: “aspects of Human Motivation, not accessible through Quantitative Research”  (Gordon & Langmaid)

Qualitative Research typically:

  • involves a smaller number of respondents within a longer interview timespan.
  • focuses on developing hypotheses and insight into the “why” of past/future behaviour.
  • uses group discussions, depth interviews or small-scale observation.
  • based on: unstructured direct or indirect approach

Qualitative Research Is Not the poor relation of Quantitative Research, does not set out to PROVE and it explores, interprets, and provides understanding.

Qualitative Research Is characterised by a flexible interview structure, an exchange of attitudes opinions & ideas, probing consumer response without inhibiting or intimidating, observing & using group dynamics to sustain the flow and generating & testing hypotheses as understanding increases

Uses of Qualitative Research is often used in: New Product Development, Creative Development, Diagnostics, Tactical Research Projects and Basic Exploratory Studies

Principal Qualitative Methods:

  • Focus Group Discussions
    • A popular technique involving a discussion amongst 5-10 respondents usually chosen by quota and moderated by a discussion leader.

…..Purpose of Group Discussion:

  • generation of hypotheses for quant. testing
  • generation of info. for questionnaire design
  • provide overall background info.
  • get impression on new prod concepts
  • stimulate new ideas
  • generate ideas for creative concepts
  • interpret quant. results
  • In-Depth Interviews
    • Non-directive personal interviews (respondent enjoys maximum freedom). About 1 hour, often recorded.  Semi-structured or focused interviews with constant probing and clarification of responses.
  • Observation
    • Active or passive observation of subjects in purchasing or decision situations, often with behaviour recording devices

Ethnography = actual observation of people whilst they are doing the thing you are interested in.

Netnography = Social listening. Creative analysis and interpretation of online content.

Successful Qualitative Research

  • Sample Selection /Recruitment:
    • research usually pre-recruited
    • quota sampling necessary here
    • recruiter/interviewer control of the sample
    • can result in selection error
    • recruitment questionnaire v. imp here
  • Minimisation of non-response:
    • more relevant where no pre-recruiting
    • minimisation of cheating
    • creative methodology & technique
  • Interviewer-Moderator Skills:
    • development of rapport
    • enabling respondent to feel relaxed
    • understanding subject, questions & guidelines
    • ask right questions clearly in right order
    • creative techniques
    • Probing
      • Repeat question
      • Expectant pause
      • Repeating respondents reply
      • Reassuring respondent
      • Neutral questions – comments
      • Ask for further clarification

Use Qual. & Quant. Together

  • Before a Survey
    • To help develop topics & questions
  • During a Survey
    • To support the main survey, to probe an additional issue sensitively or in more depth.
  • After a Survey
    • to explain or enrich the findings

This is a great week for understanding what, when, where and how to use Successful Qualitative Research

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