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Quantitative market research focuses on data results that are objective and measurable, i.e., “quantifiable.” Surveys, polls, and questionnaires are all examples of quantitative research measures and are frequently used in many market research projects. But while seemingly simple by nature, quantitative market research entails a lot more than just tallying up numbers and having consumers choose between “yes” and “no” answers. Quantitative market research necessitates thoughtful planning and careful execution in order to ensure meaningful results. Here’s how to get the most out of it:
Good research begins with a clear understanding of what you need to know, as well as why you need to know it. Put simply, it starts with the research question (one or sometimes more). The research question shapes the rest of the research project, pointing researchers to the right people in the right way so that only reliable answers are yielded and only meaningful insights result. Some research questions, for instance, seek to measure or validate specific behaviors or theories. In these types of cases, quantitative market research makes sense. However, other research problems are more exploratory by nature, necessitating subjective (i.e., qualitative) analysis in order to investigate or probe consumer feelings and motivations. You must make sure that you match your research question to the research methodology best equipped to supply you with the information you need; otherwise you waste time gathering data that’s not truly relevant to the question at hand.
Quantitative market research relies on numbers. Because of this, the larger your sample, the more reliable your results. But you don’t only need a large sample, you also need the right target audience: you must carefully choose research participants who represent a specific customer profile in numbers large enough that your results are statistically significant. This ensures that the results you get back aren’t just a matter of chance.
Of course, you can’t get good data if you don’t get any! You need your research respondents to complete your questions, and you need them to be honest and straightforward with their answers. To this end, any quantitative market research project should be short enough that respondents don’t get tired of providing information and simple enough to understand that they don’t become confused and give irrelevant replies. Single, close-ended questions that generate simple, unambiguous responses will ensure that any resulting information is easily sorted and counted, and thus, available for meaningful interpretation.
To get the most out of quantitative market research, you must carefully match your research question with your research strategy. A skilled market researcher can help, offering support as you pinpoint what you need to know and guiding the development of a plan for getting your answer. Our team at Research America has decades of experience; we help our clients match their own unique research needs with the appropriate tools so that each garners actionable insights that improve their business practices, as well as their bottom lines. Please contact us to learn more.
You might also wish to explore examples of our work here.