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Qualitative research: it is mainly geared to exploring attitudes, behavior and experiences through methods such as interviews or focus groups. Its main objective is to acquire an in-depth opinion from participants. As with attitudes, behavior and experiences which are the most important, fewer people take part in the research, however the contact with these people tends to last a little lot longer. Under the umbrella of qualitative research there are many different methodologies.
Quantitative research: it this kind of research generates statistics through the use of large-scale survey research, using methods such as questionnaires or structured interviews. Contact with the people is much quicker than it is in qualitative research hence it reaches more people.
Primary research involves the collection of new information by conducting market surveys, telephonic interviews, questionnaires and focus group interviews. Hence all the information is gathered directly by contacting customers. It is the research you generate by asking questions, conducting trials and collating results.
Primary Research Tools
Primary research entails four major tools;
An interview is a one on one oral communication with potential customers or sector experts geared towards answering structured questions. Interviews are an excellent research method since they test the exhaustive insight inherent from potential buyers. The main advantage of this tool is the ability to access qualitative data and investigate closely the actual customer responses. However interviews are relatively expensive and time intensive. The respondents may also be reserved to disclose personal notions and information thus the method may most often yield very little or accurate quantitave data.
ii) Focus groups
A Focus group constitutes of a small organized gathering of between five to twenty members from a particular target market segment. These groups assist greatly in the determination of particular interest in a new product in the market. These groups are advantageous especially as they help to pre-test new ideas, come up with new research hypotheses and other unrelated topics which may subsequently arise. But unlike interviews, focus groups tend not to be very effective due to factors like biasness of some group members, insufficient data which might not be reliable in making grand decisions and focus groups members might also exhibit hesitancy to share due to a difference in personal opinions. A professional moderator is also required to manage the groups.
A survey can be termed as a research tool whereby information about a product from buyers is gathered and improvise accurate qualitative and quantitative data. Surveys are cheap, easy to administer and data collected can be tabulated and generalized easily.
This research tool involves taking notice of customer preference in the type of product purchased at the point of sale of the product. Observation is advantageous since it provides a position to access real life data. On the other hand, observation as a research tool can prove difficult in establishing the incentive that leads to the purchase of the product.
Unlike primary research, secondary research involves the processing of data that has already been gathered and collected by previous researchers. Thus it refers to the consultation of previous studies and findings such as reports, press articles and previous market research projects in order to come to a conclusion. Since information that already exists is used, the research is cheap compared to primary tools. Some of the secondary resources include; reviews of internal sales reports, previous research reports, existing studies, government statistics, magazines, journals, online and newspaper articles. These resources provide a wide range of information thus careful sorting is fundamental in the data interpretation. Some of the tools employed in secondary research are:
i) Case studies
Case studies are an exhaustive study of the circumstances experienced or utilized by a specific company, provider, community etc. these studies give a systematic angle of the data collected which assists in analyzing the fundamental questions of what happened, why, and what was done about it.
ii) Online research
This secondary method exploits existing data in search engine queries. Online research is fast and spontaneous enabling marketers to access the actual data due to customized questions and automatic recording. However the tool has reduced effectiveness since it lacks respondents, has privacy loopholes and is bias towards more tech savvy marketers with internet resource.
iii) Scanner data
This method recognizes the variables such as sales, shelf placement, coupons that affect purchase or brand trends. It only provides accurate data on frequently purchased merchandise. The data access might be expensive and lacks in the attitudes and feelings opinions.