Qualitative Versus Quantitative

Talk to Hundreds?   Or Talk to a Few?

Clients often feel they need to request a specific type of research when they reach out to us.   That’s fine but we always ask to step back to identify what it is they are seeking to achieve with their research.  We start with objectives and then develop methodology solutions that meet those objectives.  Sometimes that means qualitative research and sometimes it means quantitative research.  (Occasionally it means multiple steps involving both.) Clients don’t need to have a mastery of which techniques fit which objectives, but here is an overview for those who want to have a better understanding of the options.







 Exploratory, Speculative

Specific, Definitive


  General Applications

Generating Hypotheses

Making Decisions


Raising Understanding, Exploring, Uncovering, Discovering

Identifying & Describing Consumers, Identifying & Understanding Market Needs; Testing Product Acceptance, Testing Design, Advertising, Packaging, Tracking Changes Over Time, Understanding Market Shifts, etc.


Not Projectable,

Not Replicable

Projectable, Replicable


 Statistical Evaluation of Results




  Typical Projects

Focus Groups; In-Depth Interviews; Ethnographic Studies; Product Placement Studies

Tracking Studies;  Attitude, Awareness and Usage Studies; Product, Design and Concept Studies;  Segmentation Studies; Consumer Profile Studies;  Brand Equity and Awareness Studies;  Advertising and Packaging Tests

  Sample Sizes

10 for Focus Groups; 10-15 In-Depth Interviews, 10-20 Ethnographic Studies; 15-30 Product Placement Studies

Generally 300 minimum to 1000 or more

  Report Style


Quantitative – Charts, Graphs, Tables





Put simply, when you want to learn about a new idea, qualitative is the way to go.  When you want to make a decision on something, quantitative is the way to go.

Call 609.896.1108 or email us today, Rick@DesignRes.com, and we’ll be happy to further discuss the pros and cons of each approach.