Qualitative Research Essay

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Qualitative Research Essay

Qualitative research   is defined by Zikmund et al. (2011 p.64) as “a methodology that addresses research objectives through techniques that allow the researcher to provide elaborate interpretations of phenomena of interest without depending on numerical measurement”. Qualitative research uses an unstructured format which allows the researcher to gain an insight, rather than generalised findings as quantitative research would (Zikmund et al 2011). There are a number of situations in market research where qualitative research is more appropriate than quantitative research and these situations are as follows:

When you are marketing in new territory and little is known; when considering products or new markets, qualitative research can provide an early background profile of the consumer or business buyer’s attitudes and behaviour. Qualitative research is used in marketing to gain an insight when customer perceptions or attitudes are unknown or hidden from easy view. Another situation in which qualitative research is used is to generate ideas for products, advertising or brand positioning. By interacting with customers; buyer’s attitudes and beliefs can often provide stimulus for fresh new ideas, and feed a formal idea generation process (Wilson et al 2010). Qualitative market research can be a useful first step, prior to quantitative research; to screen new advertising, product, or positioning concepts.  This allows time for refining concepts prior to quantitative market research (Wilson et al 2010).

In market research, “Observation is the systematic process of recording the behavioural patterns of people, objects and occurrences as they are witnessed” (Zikmund et al. 2011 p173) Observation can be human such as an observer looking at the behaviour of a shopper in a supermarket or it can be mechanical such as video cameras or traffic counters, that observe and record behaviour. Observation methods are useful to researchers in a...

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