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Qualitative methods of research.

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Introduction

Qualitative methods of research Some types of research do not involve numbers or analysis of past performance but, rather, finding out people's opinions, feelings, likes and dislikes, and the motivations behind their buying behaviour - in other words, the psychology underlying buying decisions. Research into these areas is known as qualitative research, and it is done in very different ways from quantitative research. Qualitative research becomes increasingly important as we try to predict further into the future, as the further we try to project, the less reliable are historic results and the more important people's opinions become. There are problems associated with qualitative research, One is the fact that people often find it very difficult to explain their behaviour or their motivations. Another problem is that many people are reluctant to tell a researcher what makes them do what they do. Sometimes interviewees will try to guess the answers the interviewer is looking for and answer and on other occasions respondents may give answers that they believe are true but are simple versions of the true reasons. Panel (or jury) method A wider range of experts drawn from the field in question may make up a panel to discuss the variety of opinions put forward by the group and to come to a decision. This can be time-consuming on occasion, and is arguably only a little more accurate than the executive judgement method. The Delphi method may be used to improve forecasts further. Delphi method The Delphi method is not dissimilar from the panel or jury method, but attempts to remove the possibility that each individual's views may be swayed by other members of the panel and by group pressure. Panel members do not meet but each one makes predictions in isolation and these are then examined to determine results. The method works as follows. 1. Each member of the panel gives his or her opinions separately and without consulting other panel members. 2. A nominated person gathers together all of the opinions. ...read more.

Middle

Wide choice 2 Helpful sales staff 3 Value for money 1 After sales service 4 Quick delivery 5 An intention-to-buy scale asks respondents to indicate by ticking a box how likely it is that they will buy some item in the future. If a text book were available covering this unit/module, I would Definitely Probably Not Probably Definitely buy buy sure not buy not buy 1. 2. 3. 4 5. Semantic differential scales use two words describing the opposite ends of a scale, with a series of points highlighted between. The respondents are asked to indicate where on the scale their opinion lies, for example: Please place a cross on the following scale where your opinion lies Danny's ice creams are Good value ..............................................................................................Poor value Tasty ..............................................................................................Tasteless Well-packaged ...........................................................................................Poorly packaged Satisfying ..............................................................................................Unsatisfying A wide choice ..............................................................................................A narrow choice Once the respondent has completed such a question, the points can be joined up to produce a profile of that product. Comparing replies from a number of respondents will give a good profile showing how customers view the product. Danny's ice creams are Good value .....................x........................................................................Poor value Tasty ......x.......................................................................................Tasteless Well-packaged ..................................................................x......................Poorly packaged Satisfying ...................................................x........................................ Unsatisfying A wide choice .....................x.....................................................................A narrow choice Using prompt cards Prompt cards may be used to remind respondents of particular brands or goods, and the prompts listed on the card may each have an allocated number. 1. HMV 2. Virgin 2. Our Price 3. Woolworth 3. WH Smith The respondents can answer by giving a number, making it quicker for them and also allowing ease of analysis. Piloting your questionnaire If time and cost constraints allow, you should pilot your questionnaire by trying it out on some test respondents. You don't need to use too many of these - 10 or 1.2 would probably be sufficient to reveal any major problems. A pilot will help to identify errors in the order of the questions or the questions themselves. ...read more.

Conclusion

What is most important is that you are clear at the outset exactly what you are trying to achieve. If you are unclear what those aims are, it is likely that your results will be equally unclear. It would be helpful at the outset therefore to state the goal in the form of a question, such as: Why are sales for the Tiger Toy falling when the general market appears to expanding? How can we launch the new product so that the advertising will reach and affect the right people? Beware of vague objectives such as: "What opportunities for expansion and development lie ahead for the company? Such a subject is immense and the researcher will have trouble deciding how to approach the survey. It is also doubtful whether any survey could give a comprehensive answer to such a question. It is better to look into specific areas and see how they can be developed. You should keep referring back to the stated goal as you make your preparations, to ensure that what you are planning properly addresses the goal and that you are not side tracked. Once the goal of the survey is established, you should identify a number of different approaches that might be used to solve the problem. For example, revitalising an existing product might entail advertising more heavily, changing the advertising to appeal to a wider audience, repositioning the product in the market by finding a new potential customer base, repackaging the product, examining the distribution network to ensure that it is appropriate, etc. Your survey will focus on and will attempt to choose between these options. You need to establish a hypothesis or hypotheses that your survey will test. Karen Porter HE Business Marketing Intelligence 3 2 H:\karenb\FILES 2002 - 2003\HE BUSINESS\HE BUSINESS 2002\MARKETING INTELLIGENCE\QUALITATIVE METHODS OF RESEARCH-2002.doc Karen Porter HE Business Marketing Intelligence nH:\karenb\FILES 2002 - 2003\HE BUSINESS\HE BUSINESS 2002\MARKETING INTELLIGENCE\QUALITATIVE METHODS OF RESEARCH-2002.doc ...read more.

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