Research Methodologies Many companies use different research tools when conducting primary and secondary research. This paper will discuss the several research tools used and discuss the differences in primary and secondary research when using qualitative and quantitative approaches. Once that has been established, there will be discussion as to which tools are used for each approach and why. Primary Research Primary research also called field research is the most common approach. Primary research is surveys, which can include questionnaires and observation methods.
These survey methods include by mail, telephone, e-mail and personal interviews. Questionnaires for research purposes are composed of questions that structured for respondents answers for interview purposes. Observation methods are actions closely examined with no direct contact. The main reason a company would conduct primary research would be to obtain new information through controlled experiments or studies. The surveys are to understand how the customer feels about the product and gain insight on possible improvements. Questionnaires are information needed for data requirements.
An observation avoids the problem and observes the reaction. Cost of primary research is expensive because new information is obtained. Advantages of primary research are quick analysis and these methods allow information to reach a larger population. Disadvantages are that it is costly, respondents may interpret things differently, and no way to know if a person answering honestly and response rate may be low. Secondary Research Secondary research is another way of conducting marketing research; however, it differs from primary research as someone else has already put the information together.
Some people think of it as “secondhand” information (Oldham Sixth Form College, 2005). Secondary research is also known as desk research. The main reason for secondary research is to examine and identify what other people have already done. Secondary research is based off primary research. Secondary research rules out all non-relevant information and provides ideas for new research. Researchers will consult all forms of secondary research, which include studies and findings such as books, journals, newspapers, articles and online services in order to conclude its research.
Cost of secondary research is less because no new research needs to be conducted. Advantages of secondary research are that there is less work involved and the cost is less and is more accessible than primary research. Disadvantages could be lack of consistency and the data used in much of the analysis may be out-dated which can lead to inaccurate results. Differences in using Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches Qualitative research is defined “research whose findings are not subject to quantification or quantitative analysis” (Mc Daniel Jr. , & Gates, 2007).
Quantitative research is defined “research that uses mathematical analysis” (Mc Daniel Jr. , & Gates, 2007). Quantitative approach is to be detached from participants and qualitative is immersed with its participants. In essence, the role of the researcher is different. The quantitative approach is objective, which means that it tries to be unbiased toward its subjects and does not interact with a study’s participants; it can identify reasons and explanations without any interaction. The qualitative approach is just the opposite of that. Qualitative focuses on feelings and individuals perceptions.
Qualitative would like to understand the subject’s point of view opposed to quantitative research that uses mere data such as tools, scales and interventions. In essence, the assumptions are different throughout each approach. Quantitative research wants to justify change through statistics opposed to qualitative research, which is more concerned with what the participants are going through. In essence, purpose is different between the two methods. Quantitative researches work on correlation designs in order to reduce error or eliminate influences where qualitative researches help others understand how participates are viewing each situation.
Looking at exhibit 5. 1 below (Mc Daniel Jr. , & Gates, 2007) this is another example of Qualitative versus Quantitative research one can see that the types of questions qualitative research is based on probing to a small sample size and the information that is being gathered is substantial. Quantitative is limited probing and the sample size are large and the information that is gathered varies. Requirements for administration for qualitative is an interviewer with special skills and the analysis is subjective and interpretive.
Hardware is tape recorders, projection devices, video recorders, pictures etc. Qualitative research requires interviewer with fewer special skills or not interviewer and the analysis is statistical, summation. The hardware is questionnaires, computers and printouts. The degree of replicability for qualitative is low, and for quantitative is high. Researcher training for qualitative is psychology, sociology, consumer behavior etc and quantitative research is more statistical, decision support systems, computer programming etc.
Type of research for qualitative is exploratory and quantitative is descriptive or casual (Mc Daniel Jr. , & Gates, 2007) [pic] * Exhibit 5. 1 obtained from (Mc Daniel Jr. , & Gates, 2007) Tools Used For Each Approach Qualitative approaches consist of focus groups, ethnographic research and in-depth interviews. Focus groups allow participants to gather new ideas and allow participants to feed off each other’s energy in order to determine what the big picture really is.
It allows a company to understand their audience and determine what their attitudes, hopes and dreams are for the specific product or service. Ethnographic research means understanding its audience and going to the audience’s environment in order to determine what shapes their behavior. It allows a company to understand and observe the subconscious habits and emotions surrounding a product’s use. In-depth interviews are another approach to explore and understand information about the audience. This allows a company to establish rapport with their audience and truly understand their perspectives.
Quantitative approaches consist of telephone, mail and online surveys. All survey methodologies consist of complete and accurate data that portrays the target market. Surveys are ideal to measure a company’s product/service image and awareness, evaluate advertising effectiveness, track customer satisfaction, and identify buyer behavior and market segmentation, and measure product/service preferences, needs and acceptance (Research BM, 2009). Summary This paper went over the different research methodologies such as primary and secondary research.
This paper also discussed the advantages and disadvantages of each research method and the difference between qualitative data and quantitative data and the tools to each and the reasons companies choose that type of research. In short, the choice of using qualitative or quantitative should be determined through the situation that is at hand. Each methodology is different and knowing what type of problem that is at hand is the right step towards finding a solution to each problem or finding multiple ways in which a company can address a problem.