Running Head: IMC 612 Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research 1
Comparing the Use of Qualitative and Quantitative Research in Marketing
IMC 612 Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research 2
Qualitative vs. Quantitative
Though qualitative and quantitative researches differ in their methodologies and philosophies, they both contribute to an overall research plan, and act to uncover the motives and feelings of the consumer. At their very essence the two types of research employ different reasoning and as such, each method has its ...view middle of the document...
Qualitative research is word-based and therefore can be more subjective in both the rendering and interpretation of information (Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, 2011). Moreover, because the
resulting information can become incredibly detailed, qualitative research may become much
IMC 612 Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research 3
more time consuming to decipher and less able to be generalized (Neill, 2007).
Conversely, quantitative research employs deductive reasoning, which is considered to be more of a “top-down” approach. When using the quantitative/deductive approach, the researcher typically begins with a theory or premise about the subject to be researched and then creates a testable hypothesis. The researcher then collects observations to address the hypothesis, which in turn, allow him to test the hypothesis with specific data to either confirm or negate his original theory (Trochim, 2006). The quantitative research method is significantly more objective and more efficient because the data can be analyzed statistically leaving less margin for researcher bias, and is more readily generalized. Despite the apparent statistical benefits of quantitative research, it can be much more time-consuming to conduct and can tend to provide a less in-depth view of the data (Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, 2011).
“There are times when people who look at qualitative and quantitative studies side-by-side tend to assign more weight to the statistical (quantitative) results” (Zimmerman, 2011). It should be understood however that quantitative research centers on measurement and determining size of markets and frequency of purchases, whereas qualitative research seeks an understanding of data rather than just a simple measurement. In other words, if quantitative research is about the “how”, “when” and “where”, then qualitative research is conducted to understand the “why”. Despite the fact that there is an ongoing debate as to which method is better, the two can work in conjunction with each other to very effective ends. The qualitative surveys can be conducted to
uncover information that needs more clarity, and then the quantitative research can test the
IMC 612 Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research 4
resulting hypothesis, resulting in a clear vision for future marketing actions.
Benefits to Industry Professionals.
Every company has strategic milestones, from the launch of the company, to an expansion, to the launch of a new division or product line. It is at those points when it is sometimes hard to determine exactly what the central focus should be and what motivates customers to want (or not want) the company’s proposed offerings. Qualitative research is a helpful starting point in cases like these because it allows the...