Market research methods

There are two main types of market research: quantitative research and qualitative research.

Quantitative research revolves around collecting numbers and analysing statistics. Respondents are asked to complete surveys or questionnaires, answering either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to a question or perhaps choosing a mark on a scale. For example, they might be asked to rank something from one (low) to five (high), to select an answer from ‘poor’ to ‘excellent’, or to tick a box in a range from ‘strongly agree’ through to ‘strongly disagree’. This produces a whole bank of statistical data.

Qualitative research is a technique for gathering information from individuals or small groups. It uses interviews to probe people’s preferences, opinions and beliefs to get a better understanding of issues and markets.

Both types of project need to be thoroughly planned and designed. A methodology has to be chosen, questionnaires constructed, guides for discussion drawn up and respondents identified.

Collecting data

The methods used to collect data depend on the kind of research they’re undertaking. Qualitative research can utilise one-on-one or focus groups, which the researcher will bring together. Quantitative research uses questionnaires, surveys, polls and consultation documents. Primary research means collecting fresh data directly from people. Secondary research (or desk research) means going through data that’s already been compiled by other sources such as public sector bodies, educational establishments, trade organisations, special interest groups and the media.

Other techniques such as mystery shoppers, telephone research or online surveys all play a part in gathering data.

Once the information is in place it has to be analysed and interpreted, using what’s known as data mining to extract useful information such as shopping behaviour patterns. Finally the market researcher or analyst will draw up a report and recommendations to present to the client.

Comments on this article

Marketest 14 November, 2009

Quantitative research is an important thing to do before starting a company or launching a new product/service in order to have some real figures, statistics from your target market (potential clients).
It will help you as well to strengthen your pitch!
Have a look!
Marketest
http://www.marketest.co.uk

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