If you ever ask people to think about market research, a large number of them will probably tell you about a survey they have received or a time when they were stopped to give customer feedback.
While both of these examples are accurate they don’t represent the whole picture of what quantitative market research really is. In the broadest possible terms, quantitative market research can be defined as collecting the opinions of a large number of people which are then summarised numerically.
This might mean asking people their opinion on the street, via a postal survey or online; via email or on a website. The crucial thing however is that any responses are reported as numbers, statistics or percentages – showing broad ideas, patterns or trends.
Quantitative research is largely about the volume of responses that you are able to collect. The analysis of these figures can be very important to businesses, organisations or even public bodies.
It is different to Qualitative research in that it doesn’t seek to gain any deeper understanding of the subject that either a binary ‘yes’ or ‘no’; or through a pre-defined list of possible answers which you are asked to choose from.
By restricting the variety and avoiding open-ended questions – where people are invited to share their opinion on a subject freely – quantitative research focusses specifically on a range of possible answers to ascertain what is the most or least favoured option.
There are a number of ways of gathering quantitative data which have evolved as the relationship between consumers and companies has developed and increased in complexity. The role of Quantitative researchers in this relationship is to reflect that complexity whilst distilling the discourse taking place with incisive research methods.
Possibly the most familiar method of quantitative research with the public is a survey. In its purest form a survey is a series of scripted questions and possible answers which direct the participant to share the sentiment or idea they most identify with. Surveys will often present binary options or a series of possible answers to a question and will frequently ask for people to provide a range of responses such as how strongly the feel about something on a scale of 1 – 10.
Stopping people to ask their opinion on something on the street is one of the traditional methods of market research. The idea of stopping people at random to ask for their opinion on a topic allows for a section of the population to be surveyed in a short and efficient manner. This method of data capture also allows for participants to be surveyed ‘blind’, without being prompted on a subject, and is an effective way to find our how successful a marketing campaign is as people might be asked about their recall of something that has been recently released.
Another variation of this is to survey people in-store as part of their shopping experience and ask for their input relating to a particular shopping experience, product purchase or recall of in-store information. This can be more closely tied to an experience so can allow the researcher to prompt the participant for their awareness of whatever they’re being surveyed about.
Quantitative interviewers are usually more concerned with gathering data from a large, representative sample. Interviews take the form of being either structured or unstructured. In a structured interview, the researcher asks a fixed set of questions to every participant. The questions and their order are pre-decided by the researcher. The interview follows a formal pattern. In contrast to this unstructured survey questions follow a pre-defined pattern but allow for more discourse to take place.
Collecting data from many people via interviews can be laborious. Technological advances in telephone interviewing procedures can assist quantitative interviewers in this process and the advancement of online portals has allowed quantitative research to expand in its reach and scope.
Quantitative user testing is used for measuring the usability of an interface. Frequently this might be a new product, an app or a new website. Quantitative user testing allows for the recording of users’ responses either through the use of an interviewer who guides the research or by using an instrument which gathers data to be analysed later.
Data which is gathered from User testing or Usability studies can be used to test how the design of an item or system is functioning and how participants are interacting with it. This data is then used to further future iterations of the design with continued product development.
Acumen are a leading market research fieldwork in the UK. We work as part of the Fuller Research Group facilitating market research for global brands, advertising agencies and market research companies.
We are experts in the areas of market research fieldwork and pioneer new ways of recruitment, this including understanding the different ways social groups engage and interact – finding the best methods for gaining quality feedback from each different type of demographic.
Our quantitative research teams are well versed in all methods of collecting data and will work with you to establish the most appropriate method and the ideal parameters to conduct your study.
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