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Should I do qualitative or quantitative research?

You need qualitative research to develop insights and to provide direction. You need quantitative research when numerical, statistically, projectable data is needed.

Using both qualitative and quantitative methods in conjunction with one another is ultimately the optimal approach: qualitative to explore the topic, to develop the insights, to understand emotional motivations and drivers, to capture the right language, to formulate the message and refine/optimize the design; quantitative, to make it projectable to the consumer population or your target segment.

Our clients come to us for qualitative research when they need to answer the ‘how and why’ questions: why do consumers feel that way about my product? How and why did they start using my product? Why aren’t they more brand loyal? How well differentiated are the benefits my product offers? Why do consumers react positively to my brand positioning and how does that impact their brand perceptions? How do they shop for my product? Why are they motivated or not motivated to buy my product? Why won’t they pay that price? Why do they use my product a certain way? How does my target behave that way and why? Why do they like the competitive brand more? Why do they get emotional about certain advertising? How do I reach them and communicate with them more effectively?

While MLN Research only conducts qualitative research, our background is in survey work—so if we think a quantitative study would better suit your needs, we’ll send you to a quantitative supplier that will take good care of you.

If we think qualitatives would best address your research needs, then we’ll work with you to design a project that gets you the relevant insights you need.

What qualitative methodology is best suited for my project?

It depends on your goals.

  • Focus groups are great for interactive, dynamic discussions that enable consumers to share their thoughts with the moderator and with each other, and where multiple perspectives can be expressed and examined.
  • Depth interviews are ideal for uncovering detailed perceptions, when addressing sensitive subjects, or when obtaining totally un-influenced opinions are important.

Sometimes a combined, mixed methodological approach best addresses the research need; and often a variation on one or the other (mini-groups, extended groups, friendship pairs, triadic interviews) is the right decision.

Bottom line is this: once we understand what you’re trying to learn, we’ll recommend the best approach to get you where you need to be.

How long will it take to complete a project?

It depends on the size and scope of the project and who we need to talk to (for instance, during the school year, we can only talk to kids after 4pm in the afternoon)—but once the project has been approved, a typical timetable for a 4-group project looks something like this:

• Week 1: development of field materials and field prep • Week 2 and 3: recruiting, field supervision, and development of research materials and guides. • Week 4: facilitation of groups, work session, and debrief.

Agreements regarding timing of written reports and top lines are made in conjunction with the client’s specific needs.

How much does this cost?

Qualitative research costs depend on a number of variables: the size and scope of the project, the type of consumers being recruited, the methodologies being implemented, the number of days in the field, the market, and the agreed upon deliverables.

To discuss your research needs and to receive a cost estimate for your project please contact us.

What are the deliverables?

We deliver whatever best suits your needs. Sometimes that’s a topline. Sometimes a full report. Sometimes a work session and facilitated debrief.

Whatever it is, we’ll work with you to get you what you need when you need it.

Where is the research conducted?

We conduct research nationwide and have on-going, long-standing relationships with some of the best field services in the country.

How are respondents recruited?

Once we decide on who we need to talk with, we develop a screening questionnaire, which is then turned over to the field facility sub-contracted by us to recruit the respondents. Once recruiting begins, we receive daily updates from our field partners and are intensely involved in making sure the right respondents are being recruited for your job.

What does the overall process look like?

An overview of the different steps involved in the process looks something like this.

  • Initial client request: discussion of project background, purpose and objectives
  • Review of final research plan and key logistics
  • Proposal detailing methodological approaches, options, considerations, timing and costs
  • Field project: locate facility, design screener, monitor recruit
  • Work with client to develop materials needed for the test
  • Develop interview guide and research instruments
  • Moderate/facilitate qualitative sessions
  • Work session and debrief
  • Analysis process (transcripts if desired)
  • Written report and presentation (if desired)

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