Qualitative Research

CHAPTER LEARNING OBJECTIVES After reading this chapter, students should understand… 1. 2. 3. . How qualitative methods differ from quantitative methods. The controversy surrounding qualitative research. The types of decisions that use qualitative methods. The variety of qualitative research methods.

CHAPTER LECTURE NOTES WHAT IS QUALITATIVE RESEARCH • Managers basically do business research to understand how and why things happen.
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If the marketer needs to know only what happened, or how often things happened, quantitative research methodologies would serve the purpose. To understand the different meanings that people place on their experiences, a researcher must often delve more deeply into people’s hidden interpretations, understandings, and motivations.

!ualitative research is designed to tell the researcher how "process# and why "meaning# things happen as they do.

Qualitative research includes an “array of interpretive techniques which seek to de-scribe, decode, translate, and otherwise come to terms with the meaning, not the frequency, of certain more or less naturally occurring phenomena in the social world.”
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Qualitative techniques are used at both the data collection and data analysis stages of a research project. At the data collection stage, the array of techniques includes: $ocus groups %ndividual depth interviews "%&%s# 'ase studies Ethnography Grounded theory Action research

*+servation ♦ During analysis, the qualitative researcher uses content analysis, a description of themes and patterns contained within:
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,ritten or recorded materials drawn from personal expressions by participants Behavioral observations Debriefing of observers Artifacts Trace evidence from the physical environment

Qualitative research aims to achieve an in-depth understanding of a situation.

Judith Langer, a noted qualitative researcher, indicates that qualitative research is ideal if you want to extract feelings, emotions, motivations, perceptions, consumer “language,” or self-described behavior. • Qualitative research draws data from a variety of sources, including:
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People (individuals or groups) Organizations or institutions Texts (published, including virtual ones) Settings and environments (visual/sensory and virtual material)

Objects, artifacts, media products (textual/visual/sensory and virtual material) Events and happenings (textual/visual/sensory and virtual material)

QUALITATIVE VERSUS QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH The C!"tr!vers# • Qualitative research methodologies have roots in a variety of disciplines, including anthropology, sociology, psychology, linguistics, communication, economics, and semiotics. Historically, qualitative methodologies have been available since the 19th century. Possibly because of their origins, qualitative methods don’t enjoy the unqualified endorsement of upper management.
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Many senior managers maintain qualitative data are too subjective and susceptible to human error and bias in data collection and interpretation. They believe such research provides an unstable foundation for expensive and critical business decisions.


The $isti"cti!" ♦ – – – – Quantitative research attempts precise measurement of something. categorized. and who. requiring that the researcher maintain a distance from the research so as not to bias the results. so evolution of methodology is not acceptable. Is often used for theory testing (Will a $1-off instant coupon generate more sales for Kellogg’s Special K?). Data often consist of participant responses that are coded. additional insights. called frequency of response. as quantitative techniques do not provide the insight needed to make ever-more-expensive business decisions. knowledge. opinions. and reduced bias. The researcher who interprets the data and draws conclusions from it is rarely the data collector and often has no contact at all with the participant. how many. One objective is the quantitative tally of events or opinions. 'hoosing sample participants for relevance to the +readth of the issue. but it is a dominant one. Identical data are desired from all participants.♦ The fact that results cannot be generalized from a qualitative study to a larger population is considered a fundamental weakness. Thoroughly -ustifying the methodology"s# chosen. rather than how well they represent the target population. how often. or attitudes. The survey is not the only methodology of the quantitative researcher. Conducting peer-researcher debriefing on results for added clarity. 'omparing data across multiple sources and different conte/ts. • Increasingly. It is used to answer questions related to how much. it usually measures consumer behavior. 'arefully structuring the data analysis. ♦ – – – – – – – – Marketers deal with the issue of trustworthiness of qualitative data through exacting methodology: 'arefully using literature searches to +uild pro+ing questions. – – – – ()3 . marketers are returning to these techniques. &eveloping0including questions that reveal the e/ceptions to a rule or theory. when. and reduced to numbers so that these data may be manipulated for statistical analysis. In business research. ./ecuting the chosen methodology in its natural setting "field study# rather than a highly controlled setting "la+oratory#.

These generate reams of words that must be coded and analyzed by humans for meaning. Computer software is increasingly used for the coding process. It often builds theory. Qualitative data are all about texts. Both the researcher and research sponsor often have significant involvement in collecting and interpreting data (participant. Multimillion-dollar business strategies may lose their market persuasiveness if the competitor reacts too quickly. but it is the researcher who frames and interprets the data. However. with their smaller sample sizes. offer an opportunity for faster turn-around of findings. any knowledge they gain can be used to adjust the data extracted from the next participant. Therefore. constitute the data.– Once a quantitative survey. situations. prior to the commencing of qualitative research The preparation of the participant. qualitative data may be especially useful to support a low-risk decision that must be made quickly. ♦ – – – – – – – – – – – THE PROCESS O% QUALITATIVE RESEARCH • The process is similar to the research process introduced in Chapter 1 and detailed in Chapter 4. it is quickly common knowledge among a research sponsor’s competitors. but rarely tests it. prior to the research experience The nature and level of data that come from the debriefing of interviewers or observers () . catalyst. Because researchers are immersed in the participant’s world. as well as in notes taken during those interactions. participant observer. three key distinctions suggested in the previous sections do affect the research process: ♦ ♦ ♦ The level of question development in the management-research question hierarchy. situations and interaction between people and things.” It is sometimes labeled interpretive research because it seeks to develop understanding through detailed description. so data security is of increasing concern. detailed descriptions of events. field observation. Qualitative studies. Qualitative research: The purpose of qualitative research is based on “researcher immersion in the phenomenon to be studied. [thus] providing depth and detail. or experiment is started. Data may be contained within transcriptions of interviews or video focus groups. or group interview moderator). gathering data which provide a detailed description of events. either verbal or visual. and interactions.

Having the participants write a dialog of a hypothetical experience. Having participants bring visual stimuli (e. • • Much of qualitative research involves the deliberate preparation of the participant. QUALITATIVE RESEARCH &ETHO$OLOGIES • The researcher chooses a qualitative methodology +ased on the pro-ect1s3 ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ Purpose Schedule (including the speed with which insights are needed) Budget Issue(s) or topics(s) being studied Types of participants needed The researcher’s skill. • • 4retas5ing is rarely used in o+servation studies. and preferences ()6 . • %n qualitative studies. ♦ The research is guided by a broader question. their input is rarely sought in the development of data interpretations. Having participants draw a picture of an experience. ♦ Although data collectors contribute to the accuracy of data preparation. personality.• The qualitative researcher starts with an understanding of the marketer’s problem. but the management-research question hierarchy is rarely developed prior to the design of re-search methodology. 2ome of these include3 ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ Placing the product or medium for in-home use. Having participants prepare a visual collage. and is considered a ma-or source of error in quantitative studies. more similar in structure to the management question. photos of rooms in their homes that they hate to clean or have trouble decorating). with instructions to use the product or medium repeatedly before the interview. A variety of creative and mental e/ercises draw participants1 understanding of their own thought processes and ideas to the surface. %n quantitative research. +oth the sponsor and the interviewer0data collector are often de+riefed or interviewed. Having participants keep detailed diaries of behavior and perceptions.. called pre-exercises or pretasking. interviewers or data collectors are rarely involved in the data interpretation or analysis stages.g. with their insight adding richness to the interpretation of the data. unless a researcher is collecting his or her own data.

• !ualitative research involves nonprobability sampling. one AT&T study used thousands of structured interviews in dozens of cities. over several weeks.Sa'(li") • The general sampling guideline for qualitative research is3 Keep sampling as long as your breadth and depth of knowledge of the issue under study are expanding. As conceptual or theoretical categories of participants develop during the interviewing process. or different from. 8esearchers select any readily availa+le individuals as participants. their own. +ut are generally small. where little attempt is made to generate a representative sample. ♦ – Several types of nonprobability sampling are common: Purposive sampling. 2ample si7es for qualitative research vary +y technique. ♦ • However. attitudes. researchers see5 new participants to challenge emerging patterns. These skills include: ♦ ♦ ♦ Making respondents comfortable Probing for detail without making the respondent feel harassed Remaining neutral while encouraging the participant to talk openly ()9 . e/periences. or attitudes similar to. I"tervie*s • • The interview is the primary data collection technique for gathering data in qualitative methodologies. or perceptions. Interviewing requires a trained interviewer (often called a moderator for group interviews) or the skills gained from experience. – Convenience sampling. %nterviews vary +ased on3 ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ The number of people involved during the interview The level of structure The proximity of the interviewer to the participant The number of interviews conducted during the research • • • An interview can be conducted individually (individual depth interview. or IDI) or in groups. 8esearchers choose participants ar+itrarily for their unique characteristics or their e/periences. 4articipants refer researchers to others who have characteristics. – Snowball sampling. stop when you gain no new knowledge or insights.

– :se the s5ill of the interviewer to e/tract more and a greater variety of data. a skilled interviewer must be a “quick-study. but the questions generally remain open-ended. • • . the interviewer’s neutrality has been maintained. with each interview customized to each participant. ♦ ♦ The interviewer needs a fuller understanding of the marketer’s dilemma and how the insights will be used. They: 8ely on developing a dialog +etween interviewer and participant. – In structured interviews. ()( . ♦ – The un-structured and semi-structured interviews used in qualitative research are distinct from the structured interview in several ways. can +e conducted +y phone or online. with the o+vious +enefit of +eing a+le to o+serve and record nonver+al as well as ver+al +ehavior. generally starts with a participant narrative ♦ ♦ Semi-structured interview: generally starts with a few specific questions and then follows the individual’s tangents of thought with inter-viewer probes Structured interview: often uses a detailed interview guide similar to a questionnaire to guide the question order and the specific way the questions are asked. • %n quantitative research the data collector follows a prescri+ed procedure.♦ ♦ Following a participant’s train of thought Extracting insights from hours of detailed descriptive dialogue • 25illed interviewers learn to use their personal similarities "or differences# from their interviewee to mine for information3 ♦ ♦ Similarities are used to convey sympathy and understanding Differences are used to demonstrate eagerness to understand and empathize. – :se interviewer e/perience and s5ill to achieve greater clarity and ela+oration of answers. Therefore. • Most qualitative research relies on the unstructured or semi-structured interview. however. An interview.any interviews are conducted face)to)face. question variability has been eliminated and thus answer variable is assumed to be real.” • Types of interviews3 ♦ Unstructured interview: no specific questions or order of topics to be discussed. – Structured interviews permit more direct comparability of responses. – 8equire more interviewer creativity.

should increase the quality of the interview. ♦ Using interviewers who are fresher and more comfortable conducting an interview. the interviewer is a consultant with wide)ranging responsi+ilities3 ♦ Recommends the topics and questions. called a recruitment screener. ♦ ♦ They are designed to put participants at ease and give them a sense that they have a lot to contribute More specific questions draw out detail • The interviewer is often responsible for generating the screening questions used to recruit participants for the qualitative research. ♦ There may be insufficient numbers to conduct group interviews in any one market. forcing the use of phone or online techniques. The actual interviewer is usually responsible for generating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ • The interview or discussion guide The list of topics to be discussed (unstructured interview) The questions to be asked (semistructured) The order of the interview (structured). I"tervie*er Res(!"si+ilities • The interviewer must +e a+le to e/tract information from a willing participant who often is not consciously aware that he or she possesses the information desired. ♦ ♦ This preinterview uses a device similar to a questionnaire. • <roader questions start the interview. ♦ Data gathered during the recruitment process are incorporated into the data analysis phase of the research (provides additional context for participants’ expressions). Each question is designed to reassure the researcher that the person who has the necessary information and experiences. ♦ These approaches also save the travel expenses of moving trained interviewers to participants. as well as the travel fees associated with bringing participants to a neutral site.♦ Phone and online interviews offer the opportunity to conduct more interviews within the same time frame and draw participants from a wider geographic area. ()= . • %n general. often from their home or office. as well as the social and language skills to relate the desired information. is invited to participate.

“%hat will the customer comment when she sees the salesperson approaching her in the new&car showroom. picture sorts or written exercises) to be used during the interview. Pr!. Develops the various pretasking exercises.g. products and services. Proposes the criteria for drawing the sample participants." 4articipants write the dialog for a cartoon)li5e picture. 4articipants are presented with scents.. Some of these techniques include: Word or picture association 4articipants match images..ective Tech"i-ues • Because researchers are often looking for hidden or suppressed meanings. and as5ed to arrange them +y one or more criteria." 4articipants are confronted with a picture and as5ed to descri+e how the person in the picture feels and thin5s. Supervises the transcription process. usually ver+ali7ed on cards. projective techniques can be used within the interview structures. Helps analyze the data and draw insights." 4articipants complete a sentence. e/periences. te/tures. 4articipants lin5 functional features to their physical Sentence completion Cartoons or empty balloons Thematic Apperception Test Component sorts Sensory sorts Laddering or benefit ()> . Prepares any research tools (e. emotions. “ ell me what you think of when you think of Kellogg!s Special K cereal. to whatever is +eing studied. 4articipants are presented with flash cards containing component features and as5ed to create new com+inations. “Complete this sentence# People who buy over the $nternet. Writes or directs the writing of the client report. even people and places. and sounds.♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ Controls the interview. including extracting video clips for the oral report. but also plans (and may manage) the locations and facilities for the study. Writes the recruitment screener and may recruit participants..

“$f brand ) were a person' what type of person would brand ) be(" Imaginary universe isitor from another planet !ersonification ()1@ . then descri+e their reactions. 4articipants imagine inanimate o+-ects with the traits. 4articipants are as5ed to relate the properties of one thing0person0+rand to another. questions. 4articipants are as5ed to assume that they are aliens and are confronting the product for the first time.chain Imagination exercises and psychological +enefits. “$f Crest toothpaste were a college' what type of college would it be(" 4articipants are as5ed to assume that the +rand and its users populate an entire universe? they then descri+e the features of this new world. and attitudes a+out purchase or retrial. characteristics and features. and personalities of humans. +oth real and ideal.

lengthening the time frame of the individual or group interview.g. or organi7ations within the four quadrants. with emotions. may take as long as five hours. These techniques are also time)consuming to apply. product components. ♦ An IDI generally takes between 20 minutes (telephone interviews) and 2 hours (prescheduled. such as life histories. 4articipants imagine a +rand as something else "e. I".ivi. 4articipants are pretas5ed to collect images that reveal how they feel a+out a research topic? during and %&%. ♦ Projective techniques can dissipate tension caused by sensitive topics or can be useful when a change of focus in the interview is imminent. ♦ ♦ Some techniques. descri+ing its attri+utes and position. depending on the issues or topics of interest and the contact method used..arl+oro cereal#. usually in relation to several criteria. Participants are usually paid to share their insights and ideas. face-to-face interviews) to complete. They may also +e as5ed to spatially place each +rand on one or more semantic maps. • A well)trained interviewer is required if the research demands that one or more of these techniques +e included within an individual depth interview or group interview.ual $e(th I"tervie*s • An individual depth interview (IDI) is an interaction between an individual interviewer and a single participant. 4articipants are presented with a four)quadrant map where different varia+les anchor the two different a/es? they place +rands. participants discuss each image a create a collage of their images. 4articipants are presented with different +rands and as5ed to tal5 a+out their perceptions. a Tide dog food or . thoughts. ♦ • They also lengthen the data analysis time. Ambiguities and paradoxes Semantic mapping "rand mapping #etaphor Elicitation Techni$ue • 4aper)+ased e/ercises often draw out less ver+al mem+ers of a group. or perceptions noted near each image.Authority figure 4articipants imagine that the +rand or product is an authority figure and to descri+e the attri+utes of the figure. ()11 .

and the quality of the interview. This methodology is 5nown as computer%assisted personal intervie&s 'CA!Is(. ♦ What evolves is a hierarchy of sensory cues that clients may use when modifying products to improve customer satisfaction. including3 – – – – – )ral histories Cultural intervie&s Life histories Critical incident technique Se$uential 'or chronologic( intervie&ing &a"a)i") the I".A1 per minute is the +udgeting rule of thum+ for general consumers. followed by individual depth interviews that extract what the participant saw. ♦ ♦ It uses purposive sampling to recruit individuals “with a specific interest in and aptitude for analytical thinking and discovering how things work. felt. or the Internet. 13 • %ndividual depth interviews are usually recorded "audio and0or video# and transcri+ed. ♦ ♦ Interviewers are also debriefed to get their personal reactions to participant attitudes. +ut much higher rates go to participants who are highly s5illed professionals. smelled. ♦ Interviewees are often provided with advance materials via mail. – 'A4%s often use a structured or semistructured individual depth interview.” CUE combines in-home product use with a diary pre-exercise. • 2everal unstructured individual depth interviews are common in +usiness research. heard. ♦ These participants need to be verbally articulate. insights. developed its C*+ methodology to help mar5eters understand the performance cues that consumers use to -udge a product. and sensed when interacting with the product. • 4rimary %nsights %nc. ()12 . – ♦ – Advances in technology have encouraged the use of detailed visual and auditory aids during interviews.ivi. in both conducting interviews and evaluating them. Individual depth interviews use extensive amounts of interviewer time.ual $e(th I"tervie* • 4articipants for individual depth interviews are usually chosen +ecause their e/periences and attitudes will reflect the full scope of the issue under study. fax.

♦ Interviews also require facility time. Group interviews can be described by the group’s size or its composition. Gr!u( I"tervie*s • • A group intervie& is a data collection method using a single interviewer with more than one research participant. actions) Homogeneous (consisting of similar individuals. actions). and attitudes with a single person? others are more forthcoming in group situations. • . backgrounds. or ()13 . 6 to 10 people. ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ Dyads (2 people) Triads (3 people) Mini-groups (2 to 6 people) Small groups (focus groups.. %n terms of composition. +ehaviors. supergroup is used when a wide range of ideas is needed in a short period of time. backgrounds. and when the researcher is willing to sacrifice a significant amount of participant interaction for speed. variety of opinions. superiorsubordinate. the most well known group interview techniques) Supergroups (up to 20 people) • Smaller groups are usually used when: ♦ ♦ ♦ The overall population from which the participants are drawn is small The topic or concept list is extensive or technical When the research calls for greater intimacy • &yads are also used3 ♦ When a friendship or other relationship (e. • Broups can +e comprised of3 ♦ Experts (exceptionally knowledgeable about the issues to be discussed). ♦ With young children who have lower levels of articulation or more limited attention spans and are thus more difficult to control in large groups.g. • 2ome respondents are more comforta+le discussing sensitive topics or sharing their own o+servations. siblings) is needed to stimulate frank discussion on a sensitive topic. commonality of opinions. spouses. groups can +e3 ♦ ♦ • Heterogeneous (consisting of different individuals.

This problem is magnified when a group interview is structured to cover numerous questions or topics. ♦ ♦ ♦ As a result. and coordinating group discussions. • A group interview1s structure and process include moderator interaction with the group and pro+ing of the group to clarify responses. arranging. but at an unknown level). group interviews permit spending only limited time extracting detail from each participant. A skilled researcher can anticipate which topics are more likely to obtain good results with an individual or a group interview. ♦ ♦ Example: A group of small-business owners being unwilling to divulge competitive strengths and weaknesses. can overcome these potential weaknesses of group interviews. ♦ The number of groups is determined by: ()1 . • Another draw+ac5 of the group interview is the increased difficulty recruiting. ♦ – It is the moderator’s job to control the extrovert or dominant personality and ensure meaningful contributions from all others. is deemed a small price to pay for the insights that often are revealed by group interaction. group interviews are one of the few research techniques in which participants are encouraged to interact. some members’ opinions may be suppressed and valuable insights lost. the moderator may create bias in the results by sending verbal and nonverbal signals that some responses are more favorable than others. • %t is difficult for interviewers to managing a group1s conversation without inter-ecting themselves into the group1s process. given time constraints. • The s5illed researcher helps the sponsor determine an appropriate num+er of group interviews to conduct. which can be subcontracted to a specialist research supplier. • &riven +y the +elief that the data e/tracted will +e richer +ecause of the interaction.♦ Nonexperts (those with some desired information. ♦ ♦ However. • 2ometimes an individual will +e more honest with a neutral interviewer than with a group of peers. Only training. When control is not maintained. and subsequent experience. The moderator might also direct discussion down paths that are least likely to help the client. ♦ This aggravation.

the moderator is responsi+le for developing the recruitment screener and the group discussion guide. the more groups needed. ♦ Exhibit 7-9 summarizes the facilitators and inhibitors of individual participation in group interviews. the moderator must provide the ice-breaker activities that get the participants interacting with each other.– – – – – – The scope of the issue"s# +eing studied3 The +roader the issue"s#. The level of geographic or ethnic distinctions in attitudes or +ehavior3 The greater these influences. may clarify these distinctions. ♦ For customer groups. the moderator sets the tone of the group. %!cus Gr!u(s ()16 . employment status. ♦ Researchers caution against forming groups solely on demographic descriptors. the more groups needed. co-workers. • • The general rule is3 Ceep conducting group interviews until no new insights are gained. consideration should be given to such factors as gender. It is often preferable. ♦ Example: A study on nutritional advice may begin with separate consumer and physician groups. The level of detail of information3 The greater the level of detail. The homogeneity of the groups# The less homogeneity. as culture is a primary determinant of perception. the focus group.) where the participants share an affinity base. • 8egardless of group composition. the more groups needed. • As with individual depth interviews. ethnicity. the more groups needed. to run separate group interviews for different subsets of the target population. the more groups needed. • A closer loo5 at one of the +est 5nown of group interviews. depending on the topic. This type of homogeneous grouping tends to promote more intense discussion and freer interaction. however. With heterogeneous groups. and education. The number of new ideas or insights desired3 The larger the num+er. etc. The num+er of distinct market segments of interest3 The larger the num+er and the greater the distinctions. ♦ ♦ Homogenous groups often discover their similarities early and get along well. the more groups needed. favoring “natural”‘ groups (families.

FG . ()19 . introduced in 'hapter 9. 4articipants sort +rand la+els or carefully selected images related to +rand personality on participant)selected criteria.ost facilities permit sponsors to o+serve the group in real time.hat words or phrases come to mind when you thin5 of EFG Picture sort. ♦ ♦ – – – – As sessions become longer..• The focus group.ole Play. D. drawing his or her own insights from the conversations and nonver+al signals o+served. "This option is generally not availa+le in an individual depth interview. activities are needed to bring out deeper feelings. – • $ocus groups are often used as an e/ploratory technique +ut may +e a primary methodology. and experiences on a specific topic. feelings.hich of these people would not. is a panel of people "typically 9 to 1@ participants#. without interfering with the group dynamics. Photo sort. • $ewer and lengthier focus groups are +ecoming common. led +y a trained moderator. Two or more group mem+ers are as5ed to respond to questions from the vantage point of their personal or assigned role. . who are then as5ed3 D. • $acilities usually provide for the group to +e isolated from distractions. who meet for >@ minutes to 2 hours. as well as other creative exercises.any facilities also allow the client to supply the moderator with topics or questions generated +y those o+serving in real time.. – .. Some facilities allow for product preparation and testing. ♦ ♦ A mirrored window allows observation of the group.hich of these people would. 4hotographs of people are given to the group mem+ers. knowledge.# ♦ Focus groups typically last about two hours. and motivations. or survey research. ♦ The facilitator or moderator uses group dynamics principles to focus or guide the group in an ex-change of ideas.. ♦ – Focus groups are often unique in research due to the research sponsor’s involvement in the process. other group interviews. Common activities within focus groups include: Creativity sessions that employ pro-ective techniques or involve the participants in writing or drawing sessions or creating visual compilations -ree association.FG or D.

2ara Arens was involved in conducting and analy7ing focus groups for a fro7en)food manufacturer. Highlighting areas of opportunity for specific mar5eters to pursue. Jason and Sara could use focus groups involving employees (the call center and service departments) to determine suggestions for improvements and provide an analysis of proposed improvements. • %n the opening vignette. and a blood center used a focus group to improve blood donations. ♦ However. a small college used focus groups to develop a plan to attract more freshmen applications. 2timulating new ideas for products and programs. • Broups +est ena+le the e/ploration of surprise information and new ideas. an adept facilitator can build on the ideas and insights of previous groups. Benerating research questions to +e e/plored via quantitative methodologies. they can be used with other sizes and types of group interviews. ♦ – – – – – – – – Focus groups are especially valuable in the following scenarios: *+taining general +ac5ground a+out a topic or issue. getting to a greater depth of understanding. %nterpreting previously o+tained quantitative results. Telephone *ocus Groups • ()1( . ♦ ♦ Sara’s partner Jason is also involved with assessing the CompleteCare service program for MindWriter. For the latter project. Even within an existing focus group. ♦ ♦ Agendas can be modified as the research team moves on to the next focus group. ♦ MindWriter may want focus groups with CompleteCare customers (both dissatisfied and satisfied customers. restricted to separate groups) to reveal the scope of attitudes and experiences not documented within complaints. There is often a need to reach people that face-to-face groups cannot attract.♦ In two such cases. &iagnosing pro+lems that mar5eters need to address. Other Ve"ues /!r %!cus Gr!u( I"tervie*s • Although the following venues are most frequently used with focus groups. Benerating impressions and perceptions of +rands and product ideas. results from focus groups should not be considered a replacement for quantitative analyses. Benerating a level of understanding a+out influences in the participant1s world.

♦ ♦ ♦ When target group members are rare. but respondents must be from a wide geographic area When you want to conduct only a couple of focus groups. but want nationwide representation. ♦ People in traditional superior-subordinate roles can be mixed as long as they are not from the same city.” or widely dispersed geo-graphically. In contrast to face-to-face groups. When the participants are groups of young children. we+sites. • A telephone focus group is less li5ely to +e effective under the following conditions3 ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ When participants need to handle a product.• Telephone focus groups can be particularly effective in the following situations: ♦ When it is difficult to recruit desired participants. ♦ ♦ – Doing “live” voice chats online can reducing or eliminate costs. • • • • Telephone focus groups are usually shorter than traditional groups. online discussions are not confidential unless they ta5e place on an intranet. or an %nternet chat room. averaging about one hour. When sessions will run long. When issues are so sensitive that anonymity is needed. )nline *ocus Groups • An emerging technique for e/ploratory research is to appro/imate group dynamics using e)mail. When an object of discussion cannot be sent through the mail in advance. heterogeneous telephone groups can be productive. Participants could be in their own offices or homes or be brought to a central location with the necessary equipment. Posting questions to a newsgroup with an interest in the research problem can generate considerable discussion. “low incidence. :senet newsgroups. However. ()1= . Telephone focus groups are usually less expensive than face-to-face focus groups —by up to 40 percent.

.♦ Online forum discussions can be a good way to get in touch with populations that have special interests (e. some moderators use large sheets of paper on the wall of the group room to record trends? others use a personal notepad. ♦ Videoconferencing retains the barrier between the moderator and participants. Rec!r. – • )n%line focus groups are a trade-off. – Technology permits use of visual images of materials "e. Like telephone focus groups.i")0 A"al#1i")0 a". videoconferencing enables significant savings: %t reduces the travel time for the moderator and the client – 'oordinating such groups can +e accomplished in a shorter time. BMW club members.. is the topic of group discussion. $acility managers produce +oth video) and audiotapes to ena+le a full analysis of the interview. ♦ – What you gain in speed and access you give up in: %nsights e/tracted from group dynamics – The fle/i+ility to use nonver+al language as a source of data – The moderator1s a+ility to use physical presence to influence openness and depth of response ideoconferencing *ocus Groups • Videoconferencing is another technology used with group interviews. such as software or a game. ♦ ♦ – Many researchers anticipate growth for this methodology.g. although less so than the telephone focus group. as well as technically employed segments of the mar5et "those comforta+le with computer use#.g. Re(!rti") Gr!u( I"tervie*s • • %n face)to)face settings. – *nline focus groups are effective with teens and young adults. ()1> . ♦ This reduces the breadth of participants to those who can access these specialized facilities. ads or product concepts# +ut retains the +arrier +etween the group and the moderator. or “power computer users”). little-league coaches. so most videoconferencing focus groups tend to occur within this setting. These discussions are especially valua+le when a computer)+ased application. • Harge corporations and universities are more li5ely to have internal video) conferencing facilities.

or unusual cases. such as a display. annual reports. along with direct o+servation. it is +ecause they offer similar results for predicta+le reasons "literal replication# or contrary results for predicta+le reasons "theoretical replication#. ideation techniques. ♦ Example: One study might evaluate new product development processes for similarities.• The ver+al portion of the group interview is transcri+ed. resulting in a descriptive or e/planatory study. ♦ • • This analytical process provides the research sponsor with a qualitative picture of the respondents1 concerns. or process at a point in time. and patterns of expression on digitized transcripts. and newspaper and maga7ine articles. along with moderator de+riefing sessions. . 8esearchers e/tract information from company +rochures. ♦ • The objective is to obtain multiple perspectives of a single organization. ♦ Such software searches for common phrasing and words. • The written report from such a research pro-ect. can +e used to understand particular +usiness processes. extreme. event. and com+ine it with participant interview data.# • The case study. sales receipts. CO&BINING QUALITATIVE &ETHO$OLOGIES Case Stu. ♦ ♦ – Researchers select the specific organizations or situations to profile because these examples or subjects offer critical. especially the use of outside consultants. ideas. and feelings. or over a period of time. case analysis or case write&up. ♦ Example: Another study might examine in detail the purchaser’s response to a marketing stimulus. • The research pro+lem is usually a how and why pro+lem. The preliminary profile of the content of a group interview is often done with computer software in content analysis. context.hen multiple units are chosen. also called case history' is a research methodology that com+ines individual and "sometimes# group interviews with record analysis and o+servation. These are analy7ed across several focus group sessions using content analysis. situation. and added to moderator notes. Researchers most often choose multiple subjects to study because of the opportunity for cross-case analysis. and computer simulation. attitudes. ()2@ .

a single case analysis is always performed +efore any cross)case analysis is conducted. interview participants are invited to tell the story of their e/perience. a book by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman. such case studies have examined changes in new product development.hile theoretical sampling seems to +e common. Action research is designed to address comple/. &uring analysis. much is learned about the processes and the prescriptive actions being studied. ♦ ♦ ♦ In Search of Excellence. planned. practical pro+lems a+out which little is 5nownIthus no 5nown heuristics e/ist. Similar studies profiled in books written on Procter & Gamble and Disney have also used this methodology. or different perspectives of the same situation or process. ♦ Participants are chosen from different levels within the same organization. Acti!" Research • • . a minimum of with a ma/imum of 16 seems to +e favored. was developed using case study methodology.ar5eters conduct research to gain insights with which to ma5e decisions in specific scenarios. sales processes. 2tudents are familiar with studying +usiness cases as a means of learning +usiness principles. • • 4rescriptive inferences a+out +est practices are concluded after completing case studies on several organi7ations or situations. in order to add depth of perspective • The fle/i+ility of the case study approach and the emphasis on understanding the conte/t of the su+-ect +eing studied allow for a richness of understanding sometimes la+eled thick description. • The process is repeated until a desired outcome is reached.– . ()21 . ♦ Along the way. ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ The scenario is studied A corrective action is determined. In the marketing arena. cases • %n a case study. and promotion processes. ♦ • The emphasis is on what differences occur. why. and are speculative in nature. and implemented The results of the action are observed and recorded The action is assessed as effective or not. and with what effect.

as the customer happy when he or she leftF &id the customer return to dine another evening. and a second qualitative study then might follow the quantitative study. measuring changes in behavior and attitudes over time. especially when a quantitative study provides validation for qualitative findings. apologize. and assessed. (Negative word of mouth—negative buzz—would be the likely result. pick up the table’s full dining tab. • $our strategies for com+ining methodologies are common in +usiness research3 ♦ ♦ ♦ Qualitative and quantitative studies can be conducted simultaneously.) ♦ ♦ Do whatever is necessary to replace the unsatisfactory meal within the shortest period of time. ♦ Qualitative and quantitative studies may be combined to increase the perceived quality of the research. implemented. and then the results recorded. what was the customer1s full revenue valueF • %f the customer didn1t return. the ne/t time a disgruntled customer voiced dissatisfaction a different action would +e chosen. seeking more clarification. ♦ Whatever theories are developed are validated through practical application. %t might3 ♦ Ignore the problem. A qualitative study can be ongoing while multiple waves of quantitative studies are done. Accept the circumstance as uncorrectable. and offer the customer a free meal to get him/her to return another day. %f no general rule e/isted a+out how to treat unhappy patrons. one of these alternatives would +e chosen and implemented. ♦ A quantitative study can precede a qualitative study. • %n action research. • 2uppose a restaurant receives its very first challenge +y a disgruntled diner. A qualitative study can precede a quantitative study. &ERGING QUALITATIVE AN$ QUANTITATIVE &ETHO$OLOGIES • Triangulation is the term used to descri+e the com+ining of several qualitative methods or com+ining qualitative with quantitative methods. ()22 .• Action researchers investigate the effects of applied solutions. the organi7ation could study the situation and come up with alternative actions. ♦ ♦ ♦ . in comparison to the first option1s results. or never returnF *ver the ne/t three months.

we might collect life histories while multiple waves of questionnaires are measuring the response to differing promotional tactics. – $or the third.any mar5eters recogni7e that qualitative research compensates for the wea5nesses of quantitative research and vice versa. • .An e/ample of the first strategy would +e the com+ination of a pu+lic opinion poll at the time focus groups are +eing held to discover ways to sway a particular pu+lic1s opinion. These forward thin5ers +elieve that the methodologies complement rather than rival each other. we might survey people1s +ehavior and attitudes toward a +rand and find we need some %&%s to e/plain findings that are unclear. – $or the second strategy. ()23 . we could perform a qualitative study to identify peoples1 +ehaviors and perceptions with respect to furniture shopping processes and interior decorating? then we could use that information to develop a quantitative study to measure the actual frequency of +ehaviors and attitudes – – $ourth.