Qualitative research is used most often when an exploratory approach is called for. Our clients use qualitative research when investigating new markets, concepts, issues, or trends, or to guide the development of new products, services, or policies.
The focus group is the most common qualitative methodology used today. However, we also conduct 1-on-1 executive interviews in-person and over the phone, as well as dyads (two-on-one) and triads.
Regardless of the methodology, key elements in CDRI's approach to any quantitative research project include:
- Logical, well-thought-out screening criteria. Qualitative research provides our clients with a window into their target market. Make the screening criteria too loose or too tight and a clear view of the market is lost. We work with our clients to ensure an appropriate screener is developed. Then we work with our recruiters to ensure that every participant is well-qualified.
- Complete discussion guide. Our discussion guides typically run 12 to 18 pages in length. Guides of this length are necessary to ensure we understand all of our clients' information needs and that everyone feels comfortable with the direction we will take the group or interview. Developing a full understanding of the issues that may arise before the groups start allows for appropriate flexibility during the group. It also frees the moderator to spend more time during the group ensuring appropriate group dynamics. The result is a much greater depth of information than is typically achieved from focus groups.
- Variety of lengths for groups or interviews, depending on the need. We select the length of group that best meets our client's needs. Focus groups may vary in length from 90 minutes to as long as three hours. Interviews can range from 20 to 90 minutes.
- Special techniques, such as conjoint analysis & evocative imaging. In addition to a direct question and answer format, during focus groups or executive interviews we use a number of different techniques to keep participants actively engaged in the process and to help us better understand the attitudes and opinions of the participants. Examples of these techniques include the use of conjoint analysis, an exercise that helps us understand the trade-offs that participants are willing to make when deciding which product to purchase, and evocative imaging, a technique typically used to develop a better understanding of participants' image of companies and products.
- A complete review of tapes before a final analysis is submitted. Before we develop our analysis, we conduct a thorough review of the video from the focus groups, comparing comments on a given subject across multiple groups. This way we are providing a report based on what participants said, not just what we remember they said.