This is a brief guide to help you decide when to use quantitative research and when to use qualitative research. This toolkit is the second in a series of seven toolkits designed to provide an introduction to market research – whilst acting as a handy refresher for experienced marketers.
Both methodologies have their merits, however your research objectives and scope should decide which methodology best fits your objectives.
Qualitative research is by definition investigative, and it is used when you don’t know what to expect, to define the problem or develop an approach to the problem. It’s also used to go deeper into issues of interest and explore nuances. Common data collection methods used in qualitative research are focus groups, in-depth interviews, and ethnographic participation / observation. They often work best with interaction and discussion during the research process.