My good friend and colleague Jim Bryson at 20|20 recently shared his thoughts in a blog post about qualitative
research and its value for protecting sample and data quality. I agree with Jim’s key point, that data fraud is a huge industry problem. Another concern I have is that despite massive panel sizes the reality is that only a fraction of those panelists active. That means we are relying more and more on a smaller and smaller pool of participants for the information on which huge business decisions are based. It seems to me that the panel industry is ripe for disruption.
As for qualitative and the role it can play in addressing both issues, there is no question that qualitative recruiting can be more precise, and more accurate, because the smaller numbers required allow for a high-touch recruit. It is much harder to be a “cheater or repeater” when you are “face-to-face” with the recruiter and the researcher. However, qualitative research is not always the solution our clients are seeking. And is in no way a 1:1 replacement for a true quantitative study. Which is why hybrid research is surging in popularity.
The ability to scale qualitative, quickly and efficiently, makes it a viable alternative or supplement to more traditional quantitative research. For example, 30-50 online chat interviews might just meet your need for a small-scale quant study, while still getting you the VOC insights that qualitative provides. Best of both worlds.
Or, something the Doyle team is doing more of is conducting a full-scale quantitative study supplemented by a small number of qualitative interviews. Respondents meeting key criteria can be routed to the qualitative exercise immediately after participating in the survey or they can be hand-picked after the fact to amplify specific quantitative findings.
While qualitative and quantitative research serve distinctly different purposes, the increasing capabilities available for blending them produces multiple benefits worth considering.