Qualitative, Quantitative and Everything In Between

For people considering market research, a point that often trips them up is the difference between qualitative and quantitative market research. Unfortunately, there are such important distinctions between those two types of research methodologies that it’s difficult to consider the pros and cons of conducting market research until those differences are made clear.

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I know that it is stating the most obvious, but the conditions are really made easier by keeping in mind their main words – quantitative general market trends measures the amount of respondents who feel or react in a certain way.

While qualitative general market trends is effective in understanding the grade of a customers’ tendencies or behaviour – why do they feel or take action in a certain way.

Qualitative = Quality (how’s and whys or “directional”)

Quantitative = Quantity (less depth, but includes solid numbers)


Quantitative research is a rigid research tool that typically asks every respondent the same group of questions, generally allowing the respondent and then select from several pre-defined answers. To be able to provide a group of answer-categories, the team writing the study survey will need to have a good knowledge of the respondent’s thoughts and behaviour before doing quantitative research.

However, the good thing about quantitative general market trends is that you could compare the choices or satisfaction degrees of groups of men and women to comprehend the inter-related factors that drive key final results (like brand inclination).

Qualitative research is generally much less structured, and is often described as being more “exploratory” or “directional” because it seeks to reveal new attitudes or perspectives that may exist toward a topic or product category. Qualitative could be described as more freeform, often with broad questions such as “what do you like about that?” or “what would your ideal product look like?” Often questions asked of respondents in qualitative research don’t include specific answers; instead they simply prompt the respondent to answer the questions in their own words.

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