Qualitative research is the appropriate method when deep exploration and insight is required. It is exploratory, getting behind the question “why?” rather than “how many?”. It is best suited for understanding barriers & motivations, needs and requirements, for testing early concepts, for example. Sample sizes tend to be small and a consensus is the outcome rather than robust statistical insight. The output tends to be rich, using respondent verbatim comments to illustrate points rather than per cent. Often, “saturation” sampling applies, that is after say conducting 12 depth interviews, the pattern of responses is so established there is no need to pursue further interviews unless there are fundamentally different samples to cover in remaining interviews.
Asking the right questions and really listening to what is being said are two fundamental skills of the researcher. A transcript of a group or depth interview should show the moderator speaking for no more than 10% of the time, and keeping their opinions to themselves to avoid leading respondents. Skills and experience are needed to identify and avoid “groupthink” and the “halo” or “horns” effect for example. We are frequently asked to conduct research amongst senior management within both financial and non-financial organisations. Talking to CEOs, MDs and FDs of global corporations at one end of the spectrum and then being equally comfortable interviewing SMEs and brokers at the other is a unique skill; we pride ourselves on first class communication and interviewing skills and techniques.
- Telephone depths
- Face-to-face depths
- Focus groups
- Paired interviews
- International Qualitative
But when is one technique preferable to another? Individual depths are ideal when a subject matter is sensitive, the right environment is needed to be conducive to eliciting confidential information or the audience is hard to reach. Groups are preferable when creativity and variety of task are important aspects of the brief and vox pops are needed for presentation purposes. Paired interviews can be a great tool when comparing and contrasting the perceptions of clients & prospects around brands or in exploring appetite for new products, for example.
We have a wealth of experience in conducting a wide range of qualitative research with brokers, IFAs, SMEs, MGAs, FDs and Risk managers in large UK and global corporations, underwriters, HNWs and UHNWs, opinion formers and clients & prospects