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Describe marketing situations in which the use of qualitative research methods would be appropriate Essay

Describe marketing situations in which the use of qualitative research methods would be appropriate. According to Zikmund, Ward, Lowe, Winzar, Babin Qualitative research is a methodology that elaborate interpretations of phenomenal of interest without depending on numerical measurement ( Zikmund, Ward, Lowe, Winzar, Babin, 2011, pg 65 ) . It is characterised by its aims, which relate to understanding some aspect of social life, and it’s methods which generate words, rather than numbers, as data for analysis ( Patton, Cochrain, 2002 ) .

In terms of marketing situations, qualitative research methods are appropriate to be used when the organization root for new product idea generation and development, strength and weaknesses of products/ brands and studying emotions and attitudes on societal and public affairs issues (qrca. org). To maximize understanding on the situation, there are two qualitative research methods that can be consider is Focus Groups and Questionnaires.

With these methods, we identify the benefits as well as limitations of using these research methods. Focus groups can be define as an unstructured, free-flowing interview with a small group of people ( Zikmund, Ward, Lowe, Winzar, Babin, 2011, p71) . An approximately 60 to 90 minute discussion is led by a trained moderator with 8 to 12 relatively homogenous but unacquainted individuals who are brought together to discuss a specific topic ( Gunn, 2004) .

Focus groups allow people to discuss their feelings, anxieties and frustrations, as well as the depth of their convictions, in their own words ( Zikmund, Ward, Lowe, Winzar, Babin, 2011, p72 ) . The benefits of focus groups can be presented for an in-depth exploration of new ideas, opinions, perceptions, and reactions to concepts and messaging. Focus groups often serve as exploratory research to assist survey design of subsequent quantitative research methods.

Similarly, they can also be useful in validating and/ or clarifying results garnered from previous quantitative research and can be use to elicit “ in their own words descriptions of products, services or issues being discussed. Conferences and other events present relatively low-cost opportunities to conduct focus groups with target audiences. There tend to be few interviewer effects on dialog because individuals tend to be influenced more by the group discussion than by the moderator.

Participants are usually enthusiastic and spontaneous in their responses and groups tend to naturally cover more questions, opinions and comments than researchers could have anticipated. The disadvantage of the focus group however shows that the results from focus groups are qualitative and nonprojectable to larger populations. They require well-trained moderators to manage discussions, maintain focus, and minimize affects of the personalities and behaviours of individual participants on others and/or the entire group.

Logistical and cost considerations include room and food set-up, and incentives are typically needed to encourage response. Questionnaires are not among the most prominent methods in qualitative research, because they commonly require subjects to respond to a stimulus, and thus they are not acting naturally. However, they have their uses, especially as a means of collecting information from a wider sample than can be reached by personal interview. Though the information is necessarily more limited, it can still be very useful.

For example, where certain clearly defined facts or opinions have been identified by more qualitative methods, a questionnaire can explore how generally these apply, if that is a matter of interest. Ideally, there would then be a qualitative ‘check’ on a sample of questionnaire replies to see if respondents were interpreting items in the way intended. Alternatively, a questionnaire might be used in the first instance, followed by qualitative techniques on a sample as a check and to fill out certain features of the questionnaire replies. Interaction among techniques in this way is typical of qualitative research.

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