3. Qualitative Research Exploratory Research

3. Qualitative Research
Exploratory Research
• When a researcher has a limited amount of
experience with or knowledge about research
issue, exploratory research is a useful
preliminary step.
• It is an initial research conducted to clarify and
define the nature of a problem.
Purpose of exploratory research
1. Diagnosing a situation: help set priorities for
research, help orient management by
gathering info. on an unfamiliar topic
2. Screening alternatives: use to determine the
best alternatives such as the concept testing
3. Discovering new ideas: new products or
advertising copy
Categories of exploratory research
Experience surveys
Secondary data analysis
Case studies
Pilot studies
Categories of exploratory research
Experience surveys
• An exploratory research technique in which
individuals who are knowledgeable about a
particular research problem are questioned.
– Example: A firm that is ready to launch a new
product may discuss the general nature of the
product with some of its key retailers and
wholesalers or even with the member of the
company’s sales force.
Categories of exploratory research
Secondary data analysis
• Searching through secondary data materials to
get the quick source of background info. such
as the literature or reviews of similar research
Categories of exploratory research
Case studies
• The exploratory research technique that
intensively investigates one or a few situations
similar to the problem situation.
– Example: a bank in Thailand may intensively
investigate the marketing activities of an
innovative bank in Hong Kong.
Categories of exploratory research
Pilot studies
• A collective term for any small scale
exploratory research project that uses
sampling but does not apply rigorous
– Example: the chairperson of a major car rental
company occasionally gets in line with airport
customers waiting for cars or work behind the
counter to get customer reactions.
Nature of Qualitative Research
• Qualitative research: research whose findings
are not subject to quantification or
quantitative analysis.
• Quantitative research: research that uses
mathematical analysis
Qualitative Research vs.
Quantitative Research
Qualitative Research
Quantitative Research
Types of questions
Limited probing
Sample size
Amount of info. from each
Requirements for
Interviewer with special skills
Interviewer with fewer special
Type of analysis
Subjective, interpretive
Statistical, summation
Tape recorders, projection devices,
VDO recorders, pictures, discussion
Questionnaires, computers,
Degree of replicability
Researcher training
Psychology, sociology, social
psychology, consumer behavior,
marketing, marketing research
Statistics, decision models,
decision support systems,
computer programming,
marketing, marketing research
Type of research
Descriptive or causal
Growing Role of Focus Groups
• Focus group interview: an unstructured, freeflowing interview with a small group of
Focus Group Interview
• It is the flexible format of interviewing that
encourages discussion of a brand, advertisement, or
new-product concept.
• The group meets at central location at a designated
time, it consists of a moderator/interviewer and 610 participants.
• The moderator introduces the topic and encourages
group members to discuss the subject among
Focus Group Interview
• Focus group allow people to discuss their true
feelings, anxieties, and frustrations, as well as the
depth of their convictions, in their own words.
• Advantages of focus group interview: numerous
topics can be discussed and many insights can be
gained, particularly with regard to the variations in
consumer behavior in different situations.
Conducting focus groups
Step 1: Prepare for the
group: select a focus
group facility and recruit
the participants
Step 4: Prepare the
focus group report
Step 2: Select a
moderator and create a
discussion guide
Step 3: Conduct the
Conducting focus groups
• Focus group facility: research facility
consisting of a conference room or living room
setting and a separate observation room with
a one-way mirror or live audiovisual feed.
Conducting focus groups
• Participants: they are recruited from a variety
of sources. Researchers normally establish
criteria for the group participants.
– Example: if Quaker Oats is researching a new
cereal, it might request as participants mothers
who have children between 7 and 12 years old and
who have served cold cereal, perhaps of a specific
brand, in the past 3 weeks.
Conducting focus groups
• Moderator: person hired by the client to lead
the focus group; this person should have a
background in psychology or sociology or at
least, marketing.
• Moderator needs 2 sets of skills:
1. Must be able to conduct a group properly
2. Must have good business skills in order to
effectively interact with the client
Conducting focus groups
• Discussion guide: written outline of topics to
be covered during a focus group discussion.
• The guide is usually generated by the
moderator based on the research objectives
and client information needs.
Online Focus Group
• Focus group conducted via the Internet.
Other Qualitative Methodologies
Depth interviews
• One-on-one interviews that probe and elicit
detailed answers to questions, often using
nondirective techniques to uncover hidden
Other Qualitative Methodologies
Projective tests/ techniques
• Technique for tapping respondents’ deepest
feeling by having them project those feelings
into an unstructured situation.
Other Qualitative Methodologies
Projective tests/ techniques:
– Word association test: projective test in which the
interviewer says a word and the respondent must
mention the first thing that comes to mind.
– Sentence and story completion tests: projective
test in which the respondents complete
sentences/stories in their own words.
– Cartoon test: projective test in which the
respondent fills in the dialogue of 1-2 characters
in a cartoon.