Qualitative analysis vs Quantitative analysis
At the time when a difficult business decision must be made or when the company requires some market insights to adapt its marketing strategies, qualitative research comes in handy. In order to first get things clear, we need to go through what qualitative research is and how it differs from quantitative research. Their most common difference is that qualitative research is an exploratory research method that it is employed in order to gain a deeper understanding of people’s perception and motivations. This will in turn provide useful insights to your business in order to develop the right strategies. On the contrary, quantitative research focuses on objective measurements and data in order to systematically investigate situations and phenomena according to statistical, empirical data.
One of the primary tools of used in 1ualitative analysis is focus groups. In simpler words, a focus group is a planned discussion between selected participants in regards to particular topic of area of interest. Focus groups are not interviews and they usually employ more than few individuals in order to facilitate discussion, dig into the consumer’s perceptions and generate ideas. Although the discussion is generated and monitored by a facilitator, participants can communicate with open responses and constructive discussion. Focus groups usually take place in a receptive environment where open discussion can be fostered; such as conference rooms and meeting areas.
Focus groups as part of a qualitative research can yield many benefits to the organization by gaining insights directly from consumers. Some of the most beneficial qualities of focus groups are noted below:
- Objectivity: In some cases, qualitative research is preferred over quantitative analysis (i.e. surveys). This is because quantitative research has been overused in the last years and consumers responses may be biased.
- Adaptability: Qualitative research is adaptable to a range of markets and industries. Discussion can be facilitated according to the area and topic of interest.
- Directivity: Focus groups are a direct way of gaining insights straight from the consumer with no intermediaries in between. This allows for non-biased and truthful results.
As one might expect, focus group do come with a set of limitations and drawbacks that must be considered for honest insights to come out. Some of the main drawbacks of focus groups are discussed below:
- Bias: When a group discussion takes place, we usually see some of the more influential group members affecting the decision and ideas of others. This is the main problem when conducting focus groups, since the participants with a stronger personality might overpower the ones that are reluctant to express their opinion.
- High cost: Due to their nature, focus groups can sometimes be costly and difficult to organize. On this note, you will also need an experienced moderator to facilitate the discussion and foster a dialogue that is comfortable for all participants.
- Sample: Focus groups are usually compromised of a small sample of your target population. If there are abnormal ideas or perceptions that deviate from the population average, this might in turn affect your qualitative research’s results.