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The qualitative vs quantitative market research dilemma has been part of research for decades. Which one is better? Which one should be used? The choice can be summarised in the concept of numbers vs words.


Numbers vs. Words

Market research is divided into two main methodological groups: Qualitative Market Research and Quantitative Market Research.

Both methodologies yield different types of data. Analysis based on requirements will dictate which methodology to use. Most market research campaigns combine a mixture of both.

For example, Qualitative Market Research will identify your customer’s needs, whilst Quantitative Market Research will measure their level of satisfaction.

What is Qualitative Market Research?

Qualitative research is narrative and descriptive. The information collected is observed data. It can be defined as any research that does not involve ordinal values.

It helps to understand customer behaviours such as:

  • Changing trends (i.e. consumption habits)
  • New usages for your product (i.e. mobile phone is now being used as an alarm clock)
  • Improvements for your products (i.e. change in packaging)
  • Exploring new markets
  • Assessing perceptions of the company, product or service
  • Study reactions to advertising and public relation campaigns


How to do Qualitative Market Research?

Qualitative research is usually semi-structured in the form of direct interaction on either a one-to-one basis (interview) or direct interaction with groups (focus group). The questions are open-ended and participants are encouraged to develop the reasons they have provided. This enables the researcher to detect underlying opinions, motivations and behaviours.

The information gathered is recorded digitally or by hand. The information is then organised and categorised. Then patterns and connections are identified between the categories which allow the data to be interpreted.


What is Quantitative Market Research?

Quantitative research provides data expressed as a number. Once the data has been analysed it can provide feedback that is useful for making business decisions.

It helps to understand customer behaviours such as:

  • Assessing numerical changes (i.e. percentage changes in sales )
  • Examine the cause and effect phenomena – (cause: price increase – effect: decrease in sales)
  • Public opinion (political polling before an election)
  • Market segmentation (demographics, geographic)
  • Brand awareness


How to do Quantitative Market Research?

Quantitative research is a structured questionnaire with predominantly pre-defined multiple choice answers.


The question types would ask participants to rate and measure opinions, for example satisfaction levels and preferences. It is usually carried out in a survey format person to person, online, postal or telephone surveys.


Once the surveys have been completed, the data is then described and compared. Descriptive analysis ensures that the data is evaluated and interpreted. These methods include:

  • Numerical counts or frequencies
  • Percentages
  • Measures of central tendency (mean, mode, median)
  • Measures of variability (range, standard deviation)


Arema Connect & Market Research

Arema Connect offers a range of market research services that are tailor-made to suit your business. We will work with you to identify the parameters of the project and understand your business challenges when designing the market research study.


We have a dedicated field research team to ensure confidentially and homogeneity in the data that is collected. To comply with data protection regulations we perform ongoing audits and provide reports and recordings to verify our findings.


If you would like more information on any of the market research we provide please contact us

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