Whether for exploring the dimensions and demands of a new market or for other business-related purposes, quantitative investigation is a tool whose worth has been proven over and over. This style of measure- and number-oriented probing guides the ambitions and plans of businesses of all kinds today, providing the kinds of apparently clear and definite insights that most frequently appeal to leaders.

While this form of investigation will undoubtedly remain important in the future, another one is now gaining in popularity. Once thought of as too fuzzy or subjective to be of much ultimate use, research that revolves around unearthing qualitative facts is increasingly playing a central role in the world of business.

The difference between the two can sometimes be hard to pinpoint, but it is normally fairly plain. While quantitative approaches result in the production of numbers and other definite assessments, qualitative ones arrive at conclusions of a less definite kind. Instead of establishing that a full third of consumers polled prefer one product to another, this kind of investigation might instead unearth the fact that what most motivates people when choosing such goods is a desire to save time and money.

Illustration for article titled The Value of Quantitative Inquiry in Market Research

Part of the reason that this kind of inquiry is becoming so much more popular is that is has become far more accessible than before. Thanks to a number of advancements, primary among them the smart, productive use of the Internet, coming up with conclusions of this type is now easier and far more cost effective than in the past.

Many projects of this kind therefore revolve around online qualitative research, where the ease of communication and amassing responses makes it simple to incorporate feedback. The approaches commonly used range from simple surveys to online focus groups that meet regularly over a period of time, with investigators learning, along the way, how to interpret the data points they receive.

While this style of investigation will never be likely to replace that of a quantitative sort, it is undoubtedly a worthy complement. The more subjective and humanistic information that is gleaned through such processes can help to flesh out the quantitative picture in ways that make it far easier to make well-informed business decisions.

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