Combining qualitative research and quantitative research for the best results

Combining qualitative research and quantitative research for the best results

TL:DR

This blog provides a basic overview of qualitative and quantitative research tools, outlining their benefits and drawbacks. It goes on to explain how the two can be combined via a qualitative survey.Qualitative vs Quantitative

What Is Qualitative Research?

In the simplest terms, qualitative research seeks to understand the ‘why’, like “Why do people feel this way about X, Y, and Z?”. Qualitative survey research can teach you about people’s feelings, and offers insight into certain behaviors and emotional stance of your target audience.

What are the basics for running an effective qualitative research project?

A clear goal for your qualitative study — what are you trying to identify? What’s your hypothesis? This should guide how you draft your research questions, and how you plan to collate your observations.

Disadvantages with qualitative research

Cost and time of qualitative data analysis

Qualitative research methods are not always feasible thanks to the long timelines and high costs involved. This is why it’s often reserved for high-value data collections, with quantitative or mixed approaches being more common in other cases.

Participant recruitment

Not only can conducting your qualitative research take time, but setting it up can too.

Human factors

Like with any study, there are always multiple variables at play.

Subjectivity

The qualitative research process is subjective. This means that the interpretation of data can be influenced by personal feelings and beliefs, which may not always provide an accurate representation of reality for all people in a group or situation.

Advantages with qualitative research

Depth

Qualitative research allows you to explore complex phenomena and gain rich insight because of generally smaller participant numbers and the ability to drill down into interesting areas as they appear.

Discovery

The conversational nature of qualitative surveys throw up personal, cultural, or social nuances such as issues and attitudes around gender, race, class, etc. that may never have been on the agenda, but are nonetheless very important behavioural considerations.

What Is Quantitative Research?

Quantitative research is best known as quantifying participant responses into numerical data. Think bar charts, percentages, tables.

What basics do I need to run effective quantitative research?

A measurable hypothesis — before you start your research, you need to know what you’re hoping to find. By defining a measurable hypothesis, you can ensure that your quantitative data collection method is going to work.

What skills and experience should someone have for conducting quantitative research?

The understanding of basic statistical techniques, analysis software (e.g. Excel), and the ability to interpret numerical data to build narratives and craft insight.

3 examples of quantitative research methods

Surveys are a simple and incredibly powerful data collection method because they enable you to measure and understand the opinions of thousands of people within a small research timeframe.

Disadvantages of quantitative research

Rigid insights

A quantitative method can provide insight into the what and the how, but not necessarily the why. This is due to the lack of open-ended questions and one-way dialogue.

Lacks deeper learning

In its pursuit of concrete, statistical data, quantitative research can lead researchers to overlook broader themes and relationships. Staring at the little numbers can risk missing the bigger picture.

Requires careful foresight

You’ll need a specific question for your research, but it is hard to rely on subjectivity as the basis for what data should be collected.

Advantages of quantitative research

Scale

Quantitative research can be conducted more reliably because it has a set design, meaning data and circumstances can be easily replicated time and time again.

Rapid analysis

Interpretation of data can be straightforward and less open to judgement, and with the right software, you could be presented with the results of your quantitative research within a matter of hours.

What is the difference between qualitative and quantitative research in terms of sample size?

Sample number is often much bigger in quantitative research. Here are some examples of both qualitative and quantitative research participant numbers:

Why Use Both Research Methods?

A combination of open ended qualitative data and numerical quantitative survey data ensures that the limitations of one process is balanced by the strengths of the other.

How Do You Conduct A Qual Survey?

The traditional way of creating qualitative surveys (simplified):

  1. Build a text based questionnaire / form.
  2. Test your test (e.g. gather feedback from colleagues to find any blind spots in your questions).
  3. Revise your questionnaire / form content based on the feedback.
  4. Recruit quality respondents and send.
  1. Build questions using a combination of likert scale and open ended question types — the perfect balance of ‘what’ and ‘why’.
  2. You can choose your audience — our platform connects you to over 110 million people so that you can specify the ideal participants.
  3. Each participant answers each question by annotating the visual stimulus. This UX makes it easy to for them to comment and easy for you to understand (low cognitive overhead).
  4. You capture 1000s of comments from respondents on your research stimulus (qualitative data) and use natural language understanding to translate it all into easy to understand stats (quantitative data).
  5. Measure the ‘what’ (numerical data) against the ‘why’ (open-ended data) with direct-from-audience feedback.

Get the best of focus groups AND surveys with a free trial of Loops.

Brilliant creative work gets perfected in Loops