08 May 2018
6 Factors That Can Make or Break Your Qual Research

Qual researchers smiling

‘Qualitative research is designed to explore the human elements of a given topic, where specific methods are used to examine how individuals see and experience the world.’ – The SAGE Encyclopaedia of Qualitative Research Methods.

In simple terms: qual research is the best for researching ‘why’ and ‘how’ behind one’s experience, as opposed to quant research, which asks ‘who’, ‘when’, ‘where’ and ‘what’.

Qualitative research is still widely utilized, even though some recent reports showed that quant is currently more popular among researchers. Field Scope International mostly deals with qualitative projects, thus, we compiled a list of factors that could make or break your next qualitative research project.

1. Using the Proper Methodology

Research projects can be a waste of time if you are not using the proper methodology. This is especially true when it comes to qualitative research. Therefore, before choosing the methodology you should carefully consider the objectives of your research, and what type of information you would like to receive from the participants.

Another factor that should affect your decision while choosing the methodology is the sample quality and size. With a larger sample of better quality, you will be able to choose which people would participate in your study, therefore you will choose a methodology that can fit their level of expertise and involvement in a certain topic.

Last, but not the least, you should think about how quickly you need the results. Focus groups are usually done within a few days. On the other hand, one-on-one interviews can take weeks to complete. Data analysing also takes time, so these projects can last for a couple of months.

2. Targeting Your Ideal Respondent

Before recruiting the carefully selected respondent, compile a list of criteria which will determine interviewing the perfect individual. Imagine their personas: where do they live, what is it that they do, how often they use your product or service, etc. Creating detailed targets will help you analyse in greater depth who you want to speak to.

After deciding on your ideal respondent persona, conduct feasibility checks and do proper research about the people you need as participants. Our recruitment team has seen first hand how a project can drag for a long time if the targeted group is not set properly.

3. Finding Good Interviewers and Moderators

Ensuring quality interviewers and moderators is very important in unravelling information received during the research/interview. Experienced and skilled interviewers know how to lead a conversation, while an inexperienced moderator will let the respondent take over the interview which could result in your clients losing valuable insights. If you have interviewers and moderators within your establishment use them for the research, as they are fully informed about your organization. In case that you do not have moderators in-house, we advise that you choose them based on recommendations and build lasting partnerships with them.

4. Recruitment Team Experience

As an agency that mostly deals with recruitment projects, we cannot stress enough how important it is that you have an experienced recruitment team working on your study. An experienced and well-coordinated team of recruiters can recognize challenges quickly. Additionally, they will propose possible solutions, recommend relaxing certain quotas in order to give you a full recruit of knowledgeable respondents.

The Field Scope International recruitment team invests additional time in talking with respondents and gaining extensive feedback during the screening process – both then and in quality control pre-checks. This way, we’re able to predict if any quotas will represent a challenge during the study. On the other hand, our team is able to inform you of what could cause an issue before we even go out infield – this would be at costing stage.

5. Transcripts

Having transcripts or notes from the interviews is essential for analysis. If you are taking notes, make sure to write things down exactly as respondents are saying them, without additional analysing.

Transcripts are more verbatim, additionally, transcripts cannot be influenced by transcriber’s opinions and will provide you with clearer data.

6. Analysis

Analysis of qualitative data should give you better insights into patterns that are repeating themselves during the research. You are not able to put a percentage on everything, and you should not be able to do so. During the analysis of qualitative data, you will be getting responses filled with emotions giving you a feedback that is much more honest and easier to understand than a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.


To wrap it up – qual research projects can be a complete waste of time and money if not done properly, therefore we recommend that you hire experts and consult with them before going on this venture. The best way to ensure project quality is to be thorough and as detailed as possible – plan your projects in advance and avoid failure.

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