Qualitative Market Research is a form of research that uncovers an understanding of people’s behavior and the reasons behind behavior.

The results of qualitative market research tend to be exploratory and general in nature and they vary depending on the observer’s expertise and skills. The scope of qualitative research is often broad and has the potential to explore a variety of potential issues at one time.

In contrast, Quantitative Research is a research method that uses mathematical and statistical tools to reach objective and factual results regarding a problem. The results derived from quantitative research are based on statistical representativeness of a group. The sample size for quantitative research is usually larger as compared to qualitative result.

Qualitative research often precedes quantitative research in most research models, where the former explores facets of a research question while the latter provides “hard” data about each possible cause in calculative terms.

Qualitative fieldwork often includes conducting interviews, observing people, discussions and observing focus groups.

The fieldwork department commonly makes up an entirely different function in most research companies and to the subjective nature of the results. The accuracy of results is largely dependent on these people.


Qualitative research can be carried out by several methodologies, the most common of which are Focus Groups, ethnography and one-to-one in-depth interviews. In Focus Groups, a team of respondents or participants is organized under the guidance of a moderator. The respondents then share their ideas and perceptions.

In-depth interviews are similar to Focus Groups except that they are conducted one-on-one rather than in the form of groups. Participants tend to be interviewed individually regarding their opinions, attitudes, beliefs and perceptions about the topic of discussion. In-depth Interviews are occasionally preferred by some researchers when the topics of discussion are sensitive in nature.

What Are Focus Groups?

Focus Groups consist of a discussion of people who are interviewed by a researcher about their views on a certain topic, product, advertisement, and other categories.  Focus groups are a qualitative research tool that may allow researchers to gauge key stakeholders and target segment’s perceptions on a series of topics.  Respondents are asked about their views in a small group setting and are typically compensated for their time.

Focus Groups may call for different types of criteria.  For instance, a company researching wine preferences in the adult population may call for participants aged 25-55 who drink a certain amount per week. A company studying Smartphone usage in teens might call for participants aged 13-19 who own an Android or iPhone depending on their strategic objectives.  Participants typically go through a screening process that ensures that are appropriate target respondents.  This screening process often consists of several screenings online, by phone and in person.

What is Focus Group Recruitment?

Respondents participate in study and are paid after successfully completing the research assignment, survey or interview.  Focus group respondents may be recruited in different ways.  Research companies may have a database of possible participants, or they may post advertisements in places that have a concentration of the target respondents.  Online social media, such as Facebook, may allow researchers to identify potential participants and may prove to be an effective forum for posting recruitment ads.  In some cases, focus groups may have additional phases, in-home assessments or homework assignments which require additional participant involvement.

Ethnography, unstructured or structured, is also a fieldwork methodology in Qualitative Research.

In this method, researchers adopt a determined role that is adaptable with the natural environment of the observatory location. The observer then records the events and happenings of the environment in a natural setting without causing any disruption.

The results of qualitative research are often used to make changes to the marketing or product design and may uncover new ideas and opportunities.


Contact us for your next Qualitative Market Research project.