The one thing I love about a career in market research is the ability to learn something new each day. It may not be a ground-breaking innovative learning, but it could be just a simple twist of words that make you re-think something you've learned in the past that provides a whole new perspective. The "learning something new each day" sounds cliche because it is. However, many careers claim to offer new perspectives each day, but I can tell you a career in market research actually delivers on that notion.
An early lesson in market research is the difference between qualitative and quantitative research. Qualitative research is based on research unrelated to numbers and statistical reliability (focus groups, observation, etc.) while quantitative research is reliant on hard data (telephone surveys, online surveys, etc.) These two separate items of qualitative vs. quantitative are easy to grasp, but it may be tricky to understand which methodology works best for you because of your objectives, scope, or goals for your market research study may vary greatly.
Research design is often an underrated skill-set among market research companies. Sure, any firm can suggest a particular strategy to move forward with, but it is your best option? Qualitative and quantitative battle trade-offs of timelines, cost, statistical reliability, and other factors. The decision-tree for market research has many branches but a simple question can be asked right at the top of tree to steer you towards the right qualitative or quantitative branch.
Simply ask yourself if they want to "explore" or "measure"? If you want to explore, steer the research methodology to qualitative. If you want to measure, steer the research methodology to quantitative.
It's a simple point but a great starting point for discussing project design with your market research company. Need assistance designing your next market research project? Contact us at info@DriveResearch.com or by calling us at 315-303-2040. Drive Research is a research firm in Upstate NY.