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The Ultimate Guide to Lean Quantitative Research

In brief

When it comes to Lean Market Research, a very common question that arises is what are qualitative and quantitative market research. This post aims at clarifying practically what those two key components stand for. This second part of the post focuses on Quantitative Research. This is The Ultimate Guide to Lean Quantitative Research.

Furthermore, this post goes even further by providing an actionable guide about how to use Quantitative Research in order to conduct insightful and professional lean market research.

What is Lean Quantitative Research

Quantitative research is a major toolset among market research that aims at providing mainly structured, and much less often unstructured data, that are used generally for statistical analysis.

Quantitative research can be either primary or secondary research.

The research is qualified as quantitative starting from around 50 respondents to a conducted survey.

Below that order of magnitude, the research is qualified as qualitative.

The main added value of quantitative market research can be summarized in the following points:

  • Provide objective facts
  • Complement, validate & orient the qualitative and the desk researches
  • Bring a major value proposition to the conducted research
  • This is especially true when it’s primary data ie data gathered and produced during the research

Let’s start now the practical side of The Ultimate Guide to Lean Quantitative Research !

Types of Lean Quantitative Research

The main encountered examples of quantitative research are:

  • Face to face interviews.
  • Telephone interviews.
  • Self completion questionnaires.
  • Online surveys.

Face to face interviews

Let’s take a deeper look at face to face interviews:

Face to face interviews stand for asking direct questions to respondents.

It mainly targets gathering quantitative and structured data.

Face to face interviews may be used for gathering semi structured or semi quantitative data when the questions are turned open.

Among the advantages of face to face interviewing, one can cite:

  • Better explanations regarding the target topic
  • Depth of the collected insights
  • Legitimacy of the method
  • Greater accuracy

On the other, the following limitations can be outlined regarding face to face interviews:

  • Complex Organization even if it’s highly simplified thanks to online panels that exist today
  • Cost: Depending on the number of the needed participants, the global cost can end up being non negligible

Examples of face to face interviews are street and household interviews.

Face to face interviews belong more to classic market research and they are very rarely used in lean market research.

In lean market research, Face to face interviews are often replaced by online surveying and online depth interviews.

This replacement targets at cutting the cost and length of classic face to face interviews.

Telephone interviews

Let’s take a look now at telephone interviews:

Telephone interviews revolutionized a few decades ago face to face interviews.

It targets the same goals as face to face interviews but are conducted using telephone instead of physical presence.

A modern form of telephone interview is CATI or Computer AIded Telephone Interview.

The CATI method is more adapted to lean market research principles than the classic telephone interviews that are conducted by human operators.

Even if it’s progressively replaced by online surveys, telephone interviewing is still an important tool set among market research.

This is especially true when it’s done through its CATI or automated format0

Telephone interviewing is useful in lean market research when the targeted panel of respondents profiles can not be reached online.

Among the advantages of telephone interviewing, one can cite:

  • Lower cost than face to face interview
  • Broader geographic coverage
  • Faster
  • Good level of data quality, legitimacy and accuracy

On the other hand, among the limitations of telephone interviews, one can cite:

  • The cases when needed to present physical objects
  • no live reactions
  • difficulty to find a reachable nb that agrees to take the interview

These limitations are mainly the same as the online surveying limitations or any distance surveying tool.

Sef completion questionnaires

Let’s take a look now at another classic quantitative research tool.

That is a self completion questionnaire.

Self completion questionnaire stands for prepared questionnaires generally in paper form that are sent by mail to the targeted respondents.

It aims at lowering further the cost of interviewing yet conserving a high standard of data quality.

The cover letter is key for convincing the respondents to take the questionnaire and send it back to the researcher.

Online questionnaire is the parent or old version of online surveying.

Even if it’s progressively replaced by online surveys, it’s still an important tool set among market research.

This is particularly true when targeting a panel that can not be reached online or by phone.

Among the advantages of Self completion questionnaires, one can cite:

  • It Can reach panels that can not be reached by other tools
  • It provides High quality data

Among the limitations of Self completion questionnaires, one can cite:

  • It corresponds generally to a Very low answering rate: sometimes <1%
  • Cumbersome to put in place

Online surveys

Indeed, it’s time now to take a look at a major tool among the lean market research toolbox in general and quantitative research in particular.

That is online surveying.

Online surveying stands for conducting the questionnaires using digital technologies and online tools e.g. emails, forms, gamification etc.

It’s taken very high importance during the past 2 decades.

For instance, SurveyMonkey, a pioneer of Online Surveying, raised over $1B since its founding in 1999.

Panel research is a key component of online surveying.

It stands for online platforms that have already recruited respondents.

For instance, SurveyMonkey has over 50 million recruited respondents.

For performing an online survey through online surveying panels, The researcher enters the questionnaire in the online Panel and selects the respondents profile that he’s targeting.

Few hours later the questionnaire was ready.

So far, it’s seen that online panels provide good quality data.

Among the advantages of online surveying, one can cite:

  • Quality even if there is generally skepticism around it but studies show that panel research results have good accuracy
  • Inexpensive
  • Quick
  • Requires very little resources
  • Great for international surveys

Among the limitations of online surveying, one can cite:

  • The Bias that is induced naturally by the respondents that choose to participate and get paid by the panel research
  • The Risk that the survey is not well done: 20% of responses are generally of poor quality and should be rejected

Pros tips

Let’s list now some Pros Tips for The Ultimate Guide to Lean Quantitative Research:

  • Online surveying and specifically online panels are modern golden tools for market researcher
  • The researcher should make sure that the target audience to be studied is compatible with online panels respondents
  • Quantitative research is seen as a major added value to a market research especially when it’s primary research
  • The researcher should be accurate in the designed questionnaire especially in the initial screening questions
  • Initial screening questions are key for having an accurate segmentation and analysis of the final results
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