22 May 2018
Choosing the Perfect Methodology


In our previous blog post, we spoke about the factors that could affect the success of your qual research project. We listed 6 things that could make or break your qualitative research, and now we would like to dig deeper into one point – selecting the appropriate methodology.

There is a vast amount of qual methodologies available – each one of them serves your study in a different way, additionally, your choice of the method will also depend on your budget, objectives and targets. We understand that choosing a perfect methodology can be staggering, therefore, we have created a short and helpful guide through some of the most used qualitative market research methodologies.

Focus Groups

A focus group is a small, but demographically diverse group of people and whose reactions are studied (…) in guided or open discussions about a new product or something else to determine the reactions that can be expected from a larger population.Wikipedia

During the focus groups participants are encouraged to talk to each other and share their opinions on a certain topic. Focus groups can spark respondent’s imagination, and you could get more detailed feedback. However, sometimes the opinion of the majority can affect a participant, leading them to agree with the group in order to avoid confrontation. For this reason, your screening process should help you determine whether a respondent is easily affected by someone else’s opinions.

Your recruitment team should ask personality-oriented questions during the screening process to determine if a participant would actually be comfortable spending time with a group of unfamiliar people. Participants should be comfortable and engaged, meaning your choice of venue should be easily accessible and pleasant.

In-Depth Interviews

In-depth interviews can be defined as a qualitative research technique which involves conducting intensive individual interviews with a small number of respondents to explore their perspectives on a particular idea, program or situation.

The biggest advantage of the individual interviews is the amount of detailed responses being gathered over the course of the research. This type of research is good for the respondents since the interviewer has a chance to clarify any potential misconceptions along the way.

Telephone Interviews

Telephone interviews are essentially the in-depth interviews being held over the phone. However, compared to the in-depth interview, telephone interviews are more convenient.

When using this methodology, you can cover a wider geographical area and gain deeper insight on the subject, since the people in the major capital cities will not be experiencing things in the same way as people in the outskirts do.

Web Assisted Telephone Interviews

During the Web Assisted Telephone Interviews (WATI), the participants are asked to be at their computers as the interviewers are providing respondents with materials, such as photos or videos, to review and comment.

If your project requires visual participation and your targets are in different parts of the country – web assisted telephone interview is the perfect option for you. The practice has shown us that many times these interviews are used to finalize marketing campaigns, or as a part of the campaign itself.

Online Focus Groups

Online Focus Groups, like telephone interviews, are convenient since they allow respondents from all over the world to gather for a more representative sample. During online focus group sessions respondents can be more open to talk about sensitive topics.

One of the advantages of this methodology is certainly the ability to cut down on travel, venue and catering expenses (which can be very beneficial if you are working on a tight budget). In addition, participants for online focus groups are usually easier to recruit since they are often a part of an online panel, where they already responded to many questions to build their profile, which makes it easier for you to find your perfect target.


Ethnographic market research, as any other methodology, helps you gain deeper understanding in people’s behaviour and experiences. However, during an ethnographic session, the interviewer usually observes the respondents in a natural setting (at home, at work, in a restaurant, in a car, etc).

Respondents feel more relaxed when they are placed in a familiar spot, although the ethnographic method is more beneficial to the interviewers, since most respondents act more naturally in a familiar environment than once they are surrounded with strangers at the venue they are visiting for the first time.


These 6 methodologies are among the most used methodologies in qualitative market research. Whichever option you choose, do not forget to keep your end goals in mind – thinking about the objectives can make this choice a little easier.

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