13 Types of Advanced Qualitative Market Research Techniques

As market research continues to evolve, so do the best practices used to obtain quality feedback from participants.

Today, there are various advanced qualitative market research techniques growing in popularity. 

When implemented, participants for focus groups, in-depth interviews, and other types of qualitative research provide more authentic insights. 

To help get you thinking outside the box, our market research company discusses several different techniques as well as the benefits of using them. Learn more below!

13 Types of Advanced Qualitative Market Research Techniques


Benefits of Using Advanced Qualitative Market Research Techniques

There are three main benefits of using advanced qualitative market research techniques. 

First, it’s a different and engaging way to think about topics or the objectives of a project. 

Second, This type of group engagement takes participants out of the normal way of thinking and allows them to better connect with their emotions. 

Third, because participants can connect with their feelings more quickly, you will get a more authentic answer to the research questions. 


Types of Advanced Qualitative Market Research Techniques

There are many different types of advanced qualitative techniques used during in-person one-on-one interviews, online one-on-one interviews, in-person focus groups, online focus groups, and other forms of qualitative research.

Below is a list with a description of each.

1. Laddering

While this technique is not exactly advanced, it is used best by advanced qualitative moderators.

Laddering refers to drafting a line of questioning with an intention to find the root cause of an issue. 

In truth, most moderator’s guides are essentially a long, drawn-out laddering technique.

2. Mind Maps

Think back to grade school when you would draw spider maps. 

Essentially moderators ask interviewees to write down everything that comes to mind about a specific topic.

Lines are drawn from topic to topic, so the end result looks like a spider web. 

After the exercise is complete, the moderator can focus on specific areas of interest.

3. Card Sort

This advanced qualitative market research technique is exactly what the name sounds like. 

Interviewees are given a list of items, services, attributes, and factors and are asked to sort each in different categories. 

The moderator can either dictate the names of the categories or let the interviewee decide.

4. Linear Scale Plot

Typically, interviewers are asked to rank brands from most preferred to least (or a similar metric) in an exercise like this. 

This exercise can be beneficial to visualize the difference in perception between a brand and specific competitors. 

5. Bullseye Plot

Similar to a linear plot, a bullseye plot asks interviewers to place brands on a bullseye plot. 

The closer an interviewee puts a brand to the center of the bullseye plot, the better.

6. Personification

It’s easy to think of this one as a brand throwing a party. 

The goal is to better understand who the brand is in the interviewee’s mind.

A technique like this can be compelling because you can answer several different questions within the same exercise. 

Questions to consider including are:

  • Who is going to the party?
  • What does the venue look like?
  • Size of the party?
  • What types of food/beverages?
  • When does the party start and end?
  • What’s the party celebrating?
  • What hobbies do attendees have?
  • Where do attendees work or spend their free time?
  • Who do attendees bring as a guest?

7. Love Story & Break-Up Letter

Like the personification technique, the love story/break-up letter helps the moderator better understand the brand and answers several different questions within the same exercise. 

Questions to consider including are:

  • When did you first meet?
  • How did you first meet?
  • Have you introduced them to your friends/family?
  • What do you like most about your favorite cereal?
  • If you could change one thing about them, what would it be?
  • Have you ever cheated on them?
  • Do you see the relationship continuing?

8. Say, Think, Feel 

For this one, participants are asked to draw two people with spaces to write down what each is saying to each other, thinking, and feeling. 

The moderator then gives the participants a specific topic or prompt to respond to like, “What have you heard about [example brand]?”

9. Storytelling 

Participants are asked to use a series of drawings, pictures, and/or words to respond to a prompt like, 

“A day in the life of…” or, “Going to the grocery store…” 

The goal is to get as many details about the surroundings and emotions as possible.

10. Collage

This is likely exactly what you think! Participants are provided with several different types of images. 

They are asked to create a collage about a specific prompt like, “Using pictures or phrases, create a collage that best represents how you feel about [example brand].” 

After the collage is created, the moderator can then review and probe specific images/words and the placement.

11. Image Selection

For this type of qualitative market research technique, participants are asked to select an image that best represents a brand or idea. 

This typically includes 12 pictures that are completely unrelated to the topic.

After the image is selected, the participant is asked to explain the reasoning behind the choice.

12. Sentence Completion

Think of mad libs! Participants are simply asked to fill in the blank. 

This can be helpful to get gut reactions to a specific topic that can lead to a deeper conversation.

13. Barrier/Wall Technique

For this exercise, participants are asked to explain what is keeping them from getting over a wall/barrier. 

For example, “What’s keeping you from switching your primary financial institution?”


Contact Our Full-Service Market Research Firm 

Drive Research is a full-service market research company located in New York.

Our team of certified market research professionals partners with organizations across the country to deliver end-to-end project management on both quantitative and qualitative services.

This includes qualitative recruiting, moderating, facility rental, and analysis of qualitative market research.

To learn more about our services, contact our team today!

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at info@driveresearch.com
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

emily taylor about the author

Emily Taylor

As a Senior Research Analyst, Emily is approaching a decade of experience in the market research industry and loves to challenge the status quo. She is a certified VoC professional with a passion for storytelling.

Learn more about Emily, here.


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