How do we define qualitative research in a new MR world?

This post looks at the definition of qualitative research and has been produced as part of a project I am doing with the University of Georgia’s Principles of Marketing Research team to update their Mobile Market Research course. Your thoughts and suggestions are invited! Indeed, the thoughts expressed here arise from a lively and informed discussion in the NewMR LinkedIn group. The growth in new research approaches and the emergence of new tools have raised questions about what the term qualitative means, and by extension what quantitative means. If we can collect hundreds of videos, thousands of pictures, or millions of quotes, does it challenge what we mean by qual and quant. Traditionally, qualitative research was relatively easy to differentiate from quantitative research. The Table below shows how qualitative and quantitative research were traditionally differentiated. However, this simple table is less helpful in today’s modern, mobile, social, passive data collecting world. Some tools are used by both qualitative and quantitative researchers, and the types of data collected have expanded and overlapped. Today, researchers can collect large amounts of text, images, and videos, and these large amounts can be collected from the same sorts of samples that are used for quantitative […]

Two Scholarships on Offer for the QRCA Annual Conference

Guest Post by Ilka Kuhagen, Co-founder of Think Global Qualitative and founder of IKM, see her LinkedIn profile by clicking here. The QRCA Global Outreach Scholarship is a wonderful opportunity for qualitative researchers outside the US, UK and Canada to experience a QRCA annual conference. One Scholarship is awarded to a qualitative researcher in the early stages of their career, while the second is for a more senior practitioner who is well established in the industry. This year’s recipients will have the opportunity to come to New Orleans from 15-17th October 2014. QRCA is currently seeking candidates for two 2014 Global Outreach Scholarships: The Foundation Scholarship is awarded to a qualitative researcher who is relatively new to qualitative research, but is already establishing a career path in this field. For instance, they should have developed some experience of moderating group discussions and IDI’s and of analysing the results. The Advanced Scholarship is intended for a qualitative researcher who is already well established in their career, but wants to expand and deepen their knowledge of methods and techniques, and to maximize the value of the projects that they plan and execute for their clients. The Scholarships cover the cost of conference […]

Does this summarise mobile qual for you?

As part of the book on mobile market research that Sue York, Navin Williams and I are writing we need to give an overview of mobile qual, before going into depth. Do you think the image below helps? Thoughts? What are we missing? What would you change? What about the titles for the segments? By WE-research we mean projects where participants are recruited to capture a variety of qualitative data about their lives. They might be asked to capture images of waste, or videos of travel problems, or audio comments about the school run, for example. The term WE-research was introduced by Mark Earls and John Kearnon a few years ago. But, do you have a better term for this type of research? We are planning on three chapters on qualitative research, indeed we have written three chapters, an overview which covers all four segments above, followed by chapters specifically on the top two segments. Our view on techniques like passive tracking, Google Glass etc is that there is simply not enough material yet to have a chapter on it, there is too little experience around. If you’d like to help by reviewing one or more of these three chapters, […]

Mobile Specific Qualitative Research

As I have mentioned before, I am involved in writing a book on mobile market research, with Navin Williams and Sue York. As part of that process we will be posting elements of our thinking and snippets of the book to NewMR in order to crowd-source improvements. Here is one such snippet, it is the first page of a chapter on mobile qualitative research. We would love to hear your thoughts. Mobile Specific Qualitative Research This chapter looks at qualitative market research techniques that have been created by, or heavily impacted by, the arrival and utilisation of mobile devices. A separate chapter looks at how mobile devices are being incorporated into other, more traditional, forms of qualitative research (for example, in online focus groups and discussions, or in connection with face-to-face qualitative approaches). Topics covered in this chapter include: Mobile ethnography: where participants captures slices of their lives, or the lives of people around them, as an input to an ethnographic analysis. Mobile diaries: where participants record their activity in relation to a specific topic, for example during the purchase of a mortgage, or whilst on a journey. Triggered recording: where participants record their interactions with some external factor, for […]

Analysis, the difference between qual and quant

Earlier this month, NewMR held its first Explode-A-Myth session and my contribution was a discussion why there is no method that is a melange of qual and quant, because the underlying paradigms are different. Through the Q&A session at that event, and in particular a question from Betsy Leichliter, I gained a clearer understanding of the core difference between qual and quant. Betsy asked “So should the ‘qual’ or ‘quant’ labels be driven by the method of analysis, not necessarily the method of “data collection”?”. I think this question from Betsy is the best answer to the question about what is the difference between qual and quant I have seen. Within reason, any data can be assessed quantitatively or qualitatively. Of course, there are some limits to both approaches. A very small amount of data is likely to produce findings that are hard to generalise. We can count the sales of brand X, in one store, on one day, but it is hard to draw any inferences about the world from that. Similarly, ten-thousand open-ended responses could only be assessed qualitatively with a large team, or a large amount of time. The quantitative approach is based on an assumption that there […]

How many ways is mobile being used in Qual?

As mentioned before (here and here), Navin William, Reg Baker, and I are producing a mobile marketing research module for the University of Georgia’s Principles of Marketing Research course. I have bounced some ideas off the readers of this blog, and here is another topic where I’d love to hear your views. Some of the most interesting work, to date, in terms of MMR (mobile market research) has been in the area of qualitative research and this is a key point for students of MMR to be aware of. The key areas of qualitative MMR: My feeling is that the key uses of mobile in qualitative research are: Smartphone Ethnography, recruiting participants to capture slices of the own lives and the lives of people around them to produce ethnographic data and in some cases to engage citizens in mass or auto ethnography. Mobile blogging, where participants use their mobile device (which can be as basic as SMS) to record or comment on some aspect of their lives. This can also include asking the participants to record their own vox pops. Mobile focus groups, where participants can use a mobile device to take part in focus groups. At one extreme this […]

The Qualitative Deficit

Market research is being deluged with new sources of data, from social media, from electronic communications, and from research communities. Whilst some of this information is suitable for quantitative analysis, large parts of it are unstructured, for example tweets, posts, comments, and uploads. Whilst this data presents an interesting opportunity for market research, it presents a sequence of inter-connected problems and challenges: Many of the market researchers who are most proficient with unstructured data, the qualitative researchers, are not instinctively drawn towards online data, preferring to deal with people in a face-to-face environment. Many of the researchers most attracted to large amounts of online data, the hard core quantitative researchers, have little appreciation of the different epistemologies of quantitative and qualitative research. Many of the software vendors, perhaps in a rush to market, have released products before they were really ready and with massive over-claims. In order for market research to fully leverage the potential benefits of the discourses being generated, market research needs to address the qualitative deficit. The qualitative deficit is the shortage of talent, software, and approaches designed to utilise massive amounts of qualitative data. Some of the new approaches and skillsets that are needed relate to […]