Qualitative or quantitative research? Who says you have to choose?
With market research, you are never short of options. No matter your business objectives or goals, there are a number of qualitative or quantitative methodologies at your disposal. Each method is designed to answer a specific question in order to get desirable and actionable results.
With hundreds of market research methodologies to choose from, it is easy to get bogged down in choosing just one study to answer a variety of business questions.
Hybrid research instead offers an easy and full approach to collecting all-encompassing data.
Qualitative or quantitative research? You don't have to choose just one. Hybrid research is an easy approach to finding the all-encompassing data you're looking for.
What is hybrid research?
Hybrid research is a combination of two market research techniques whether it be qualitative and quantitative, or a mixture of qualitative methods, to deliver the perfect solution. Where qualitative research methods aim to explore, quantitative research focuses on quantifiable statistics and measurement.
The methodologies used for qualitative research such as focus groups and in-depth interviews use a smaller participant sample size to explore mindsets with great detail. In this regard, more time and focus is spent on individual respondents.
On the other side of the research spectrum, quantitative research methods like online surveys collect a large amount of responses to collect statistically, reliable feedback. Although the time spent with participants is less, quantitative research offers a much higher degree of data reliability.
Whether it is a mixture of different quantitative approaches, or a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods, a hybrid research approach offers the most optimal project outcomes.
Combining qualitative and quantitative research
Using quantitative and qualitative research in a hybrid approach provides a comprehensive story, but what comes first the qual or the quant?
Where there is no right or wrong answer, as a market research company specializing in both methodologies, we often support the golden rule of conducting qualitative research before quantitative.
By using qualitative research first, you are able to make well informed answer choices for say a quantitative phone survey. In doing so, respondents are able to choose answers that are most relevant, and in turn creates highly valuable feedback.
Regardless of the order in which you choose to conduct your research, it is important to remain consistent when utilizing a hybrid approach in order to easily translate insights and data across both project phases.
It is best to work with the same market research company when conducting both methodologies to ensure results are not impacted or varied. Remember to keep any specific audience demographics the same as well. If you are researching 35 year-old women in your qualitative research, but 18 year-old men in your quantitative study, it is likely these results will not be conducive to one another.
Hybrid research approach example
Again, the market research methodology in which you choose should be solely based on your project objectives. With that being said, it is likely researchers will have multiple objectives that require different types of qualitative or quantitative methods.
Perhaps you have a range of target audiences best reached through different media outlets or you are looking for both individual and group feedback. In cases like these, and several others, a hybrid research approach proves to be most beneficial.
For example, a food service company launched a brand of brown rice, ready to eat in 60 seconds. After a few months of being available to purchase in grocery stores around the country, the food service company wasn’t seeing the impact they had anticipated in the marketplace. Instead, the feedback they received was predominantly negative.
The company decided to first conduct in-depth interviews with 8 participants who were light users of their instant brown rice. The participants answered questions regarding the likes and dislikes of the product as well as their process for cooking the rice. Through this qualitative research, the analysts found a lack of willingness to follow directions on the label of the boxed rice. Diving deeper, there was a major correlation between participants who did not like the rice and those who did not read the instructions.
Understanding this correlation, the food service company then created an online survey with specific questions regarding their food labels and cooking instructions. Customer feedback from the online survey showed the directions on the box of brown rice were not clear or easy to follow. By following a hybrid research approach, the food service company uncovered critical insights and changed their on-pack communications immediately.
Drive Research is a market research company located in Syracuse, NY. Our team has the knowledge and tools to design a robust market research study, should it be the right fit for your business.
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