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Qualitative Research Methodologies Keys to Exploratory Research.

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Presentation on theme: "Qualitative Research Methodologies Keys to Exploratory Research."— Presentation transcript:

1 Qualitative Research Methodologies Keys to Exploratory Research

2 QUANTITATIVE, QUALITATIVE, & PLURALISTIC RESEARCH Quantitative Research –Research involving the use of structured questions where the response options have been predetermined and a large number of respondents is involved. Qualitative Research –Collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data by observing what people do and say. –A form of exploratory research involving small samples and unstructured data collection procedures. Pluralistic Research –The combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods in order to gain the advantages of both.

3 Qualitative Research: Before embarking on extensive data collection activities... Do we understand enough about basic consumer processes to design a descriptive research study on the topic, do we even understand what are the variables? Do we know what attributes consumers consider in product selection? Do we know what questions consumers will feel comfortable answering? Are we at the stage (in research) where the behavior of interest be reduced to numbers? Do we even need to talk to consumers?

4 FOCUS GROUPS …a small group of people brought together and guided by a moderator through an unstructured, spontaneous discussion about some topic.

5 Some Objectives of Focus Groups Generate ideas: “brainstorming” -- executive groups, anticipate competitors’ advertising. Understand consumer vocabulary: Important in developing ad copy Pre-testing questionnaire items Reveal consumer needs, motives, perceptions and attitudes on products or services “Getting closer to consumers” New product introductions New advertising campaigns Understand quantitative data

6 FOCUS GROUPS  What size?  Who should take part?  How to recruit and select participants?  Where should it take place?  What are the moderator’s roles and responsibility?  How to report and use the findings?

7 What size? Group size is kept small, 6-8 persons, typical, but difficult to "generate momentum," some as large as 12 used, but depends on the subject matter sensitivity. Smaller groups, with good moderators have higher participation by members of the group (and less dominance by members).

8 Who should take part? Group members are screened for a certain consumer profile, some combination of demographics and product consumption pattern. Homogeneity: Best results are achieved when participants are kept as similar as possible in demographics. Screening of participants is one of the greatest concerns.

9 Video: Oregon Public Television Size of focus groups Composition Purpose of focus group Facilities

10 How to recruit and select participants? Typically selected by phone. Subjects are screened in a phone interview, following initial basic screenings based on age and income. Participants are offered some compensation; for a 90 minute session, $40-50-$100. Some research firms have a panel of regular participants -- which should concern the client.

11 Where should it take place?

12 What are the moderator’s roles and responsibility? Focus group results are heavily dependent on the moderator Encourage participation and internal leadership Prevent domination by more assertive individuals. Must keep the group functioning cordially. Should not be involved in having to summarize the results. "Barriers to entry" for this type of research are low (few "assets" required).

13 How many groups? When groups are asked to rank or select best options, they can reach a consensus. Usually four to six randomly selected groups is sufficient.

14 How to report and use the findings? Usually recorded on videotape. Transcripts frequently prepared. Clients are permitted to observe (via two- way mirrors). Moderator should not be asked to summarize or results.

15 Video: Not by Jeans Alone Levi and the “Tailored Men’s Classics” Line Segmentation, based on self-reported survey research Focus groups, on target segment Use of the moderator

16 Advantages of Focus Groups Generate Fresh Ideas Allow Clients to Observe: Brings marketers into contact with consumers in their target market, "experiencing consumers.” Speed and timing: low lead time required in assembling the list of questions needed to be asked. Screening of participants is one of the greatest concerns. A small number of focus groups may be a low cost research method (however, power of inferences is also low). Generally Versatile: Interviewing can adapt to the focus group characteristics, greater flexibility. Security: No need to broadcast a company's research questions to the competition.

17  Disadvantages  Representativeness  Subjective Interpretation  High Cost per Participant Are of limited usefulness for providing direction of marketing action -- best use is for improving the quality of quantitative research. –Good for name screening. –Appropriate for getting reactions to various ads. Provide a tremendous amount of data, which is subject to different interpretation unless summarized by a third party (not the moderator). Results are easily manipulated by the researchers: –Composition –Moderator control

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