Choosing the Ideal Qualitative Research Method for Your Brand

The importance of market research for brands needs no introduction. It gives you insights into your target audience’s behaviours and buying patterns. You analyse the data you get from the research, use it to improve your product, and boost your sales. Quantitative research will be perfect if you want overall market statistics, trends, patterns, and numerics. However, qualitative research is essential when you need a more in-depth perspective. 

Qualitative research can be of several types, each with a unique method and providing different information. Read on as we explore the various qualitative research types and find the best one for your brand!

Different Types of Qualitative Research: Find the Correct Fit for Your Brand?

Enlisted are seven different qualitative research techniques and their usability.  

  1. Focus Groups

Select 6 to 10 people from your target market to participate in the focus group. Give them a topic or a set of questions and ask them to discuss. Ensure that each participant gets the chance to share. A focus group encourages participants to share their thoughts in a safe atmosphere. It can be both offline and online. Offline focus groups will allow you to study the participants’ gestures, expressions, and non-verbal communications and help take notes accordingly. On the other hand, online focus groups have become popular as it’s often easier to organise and less expensive than offline focus groups. 

Often, brands ask experts in the relevant fields to participate in focus groups. You can use it as a testing pad for a new launch. 

  1. Interviews

Interviews are one of the most used methods of qualitative research. Here, the researcher asks predetermined questions, and the interviewee answers. The approach is quite personal. The researcher can closely observe the participant while noting down the answers. 

This method is great for learning about the target audience’s personal beliefs, opinions, preferences, etc.. 

  1. Case Studies

The scope of information collection makes case studies a highly valued research method among researchers and marketing professionals. In this method, you analyse contextual factors to find the problem, solution, and other details of a complex issue. Case studies must be done while paying great attention and require a long time as they aim to generate an in-depth and multi-faceted understanding of a subject. 

You can use case studies to understand the marker before a product launch. However, it is mostly used to locate the solution of a problem and its effects. 

  1. Grounded Theory

Researchers use different types of research methodologies to collect information and use the information to draft a theory to explain buying patterns. The name is because the theory is grounded upon the explanations or interpretations of the participants. Therefore, you can expect to uncover the complex social actions, interactions, processes, etc. 

A newly formed theory can help you bring innovation or make significant decisions.  

  1. Online Forums

Consider this an online or web message board or discussion area where participants can converse and share their thoughts on a product or service. Much like online focus groups, arranging online forums is quite convenient. The number of participants can be between 10 and 30. The discussion can continue for up to 5 days. To get relevant information, the researcher must monitor and moderate the discussions and questions. 

It is a great way to gather insights into your target audience’s honest feedback. 

  1. Surveys

Questions can be open-ended or close-ended. Close-ended questions will fetch answers in yes, no, or restricted words. However, open-ended questions let the participants provide more information. Therefore, surveys can also be used as qualitative research methods, given the questionnaire includes open-ended questions.

It will generate opinions, feedback,  and other information to help evaluate a new launch or an existing product. 

  1. Ethnography

Ethnography refers to the method of observing participants in the natural environment. Here, the researcher shadows the participants in their homes, workplaces or outside, asks them questions, and observes how they react to their surroundings. 

It is a time-consuming method as the research can even take up to some months. However, it provides great insights into the target audience. It will show how the participants use your product and their honest reactions. Ethnography qualitative research is a complex procedure, and so is analysing the huge amount of data. You can contact a professional researcher. 


Qualitative market research is essential for brands to collect the required information on various aspects. It bridges the gap of information that qualitative research cannot provide. You can use the research methodologies discussed above based on the type of information you want, the amount of money you can invest, and available time. For example, a survey will suffice if you need only the consumers’ feedback. However, ethnography will be more suitable when you need to analyse social behaviours, buying persona or such complex matters.