When you launch a new product, it is vital you conduct qualitative research. It not only allows you to discover what people think about your product. It also tells you why they think what they do. By getting your participants to talk about their opinions in-depth, you can understand their motivations and feelings. By gaining such feedback, you can then refine your approach to your product.
Qualitative Research Methods
Face-to-face discussions and focus groups are the best way of gaining valuable insights into your product. One-on-one interviews allow you to really get inside a participant’s head. Focus groups are best limited to between four and eight people. Other qualitative research methods include observation in natural settings, polls or surveys, and telephone interviews.
When conducting participant recruitment for qualitative research, you need to find people who fit your specific criteria. To do that, you need to spend a lot of time preparing the sessions. Once you know what your objectives are, you will know what types of people you want to participate in your research.
Never start qualitative research without first knowing what you are trying to learn and achieve. If you do not carefully consider what you want to get out of the sessions, you will not formulate the right questions or come up with an accurate mechanism or environment for conducting your research.
Ask Well-formed Questions
Well-formed questions are the key to accurate qualitative research. Ask the wrong questions, and you will likely gain useless data. A good question should be inductive and exploratory. One question should naturally lead to more questions. The question should be impartial so that you do not give any underlying hints in how you would like your participant to respond. And each question needs to focus on a single idea. Make a question too complicated, and you will not get the best responses. General questions to ask your participants include:
- Is the product easy to use?
- Does it work the way it is supposed to?
- Is its design appealing?
- Will it stand out on the shelf in a store next to competitive products?
- Is the packaging appealing?
The above types of questions are known as closed questions, which means responses can be single word answers like yes or no. It is, therefore, also important to ask lots of open-ended questions so you can gain a much more in-depth response from your participants’ answers. For example, instead of asking, “Are you satisfied with the product?”, ask, “How satisfied or dissatisfied are you with the product?”
Know the Context to Better Understand Participants’ Responses
By knowing the context, you can better understand the responses you receive from your participants. Remember that qualitative data is relative. Just because one or three participants tell their truths about your product, it does not mean that truth is absolute. So, think about the context when you conduct and analyze your qualitative research data. Context includes the following:
- Source of the Traffic: If you find participants via your website or social media platforms, analyze data to find out what brought them to your company in the first place. By understanding their journey, you will better understand why they have given the answers they gave.
- Subjectivity: The nature of qualitative research means participants’ responses can be subjective. Recognize that when you go through the data analysis stage, and use it with other data, to gain a more objective view.
- Bias: Quantitative data gives you hard facts because it uses numbers and statistics. Qualitative data is the opposite. It can be rife with bias. Gauging human bias in your group of participants is essential to put the responses into context.