June 18, 2015 Kelley Styring

The Value of Being There: Expandable Base Qualitative

Note: This is the fifth in a series of six posts.  They originally appeared as one article in the December 2014 issue of Quirk’s Marketing Research Review under the title: “The Value of Being There:  Five ways to Breathe New Life into Qualitative Research.”

If social media has taught those of us in the insights business anything, it’s that consumers desperately want to be heard. They have great ideas and they know how your products can be better.

Qualitative research, done well, can provide consumers with the opportunity to show us, and provide us the opportunity to learn.

Sometimes, it only takes a small number of broad-based, in-depth interviews to identify a problem and the reasons behind it, and then you would separately quantify what you discovered in the qualitative research by doing a quantitative study.

Expandable Base Qualitative provides you with both the depth of qualitative and the verification of quantitative. It works because a good experiment is repeatable and, once you’ve narrowed down your key measures, the answers become repetitive. It’s a great central location or even in-store technique.

In one study, a company recruited respondents for a soap study and interviewed them in-store to capture their descriptions of their shopping decisions in detail. After a dozen in-depth interviews, researchers collected enough information to frame hypotheses regarding the consumer’s path to purchase.

Researchers were then posted in the store aisle to intercept about 50 additional shoppers and ask them a few key questions about their purchasing decisions. These later interviews were used to verify the hypotheses developed during the in-depth interviews.

For other techniques that make the most of in-person research, check out these other posts:

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