Can qualitative research survive as insight generation grows faster and utilises new technologies to provide the key information to drive brands and products forward?

Increasing numbers of clients want methods that immerse them in their consumers’ worlds and gain a greater insight into human behaviours. This will assist them in understanding the key connections between brands and people.

As the surge of Big Data continues, clients will expect researchers to not only leverage smarter techniques to decipher and deliver this outcome, but also help them to signpost clear forward planning for their brands.

The most effective qualitative agencies offer not only the most relevant insight techniques, but can deliver these findings in an incisive way to their clients. They also act in a consultancy focused role to implement the key material that the research can provide.

In this fast paced environment, agencies also need to reduce the time between data collection and insight communication without losing the essence and relevance of their findings for the end user.

Researchers can affect the desired result for clients by implementing a multi-focused approach to their projects. Many agencies are facing significant challenges from the impact of Big Data which is providing a tidal wave of data from new online qualitative methods.

Qualitative researchers need to adopt a team approach to project fulfilment and work smarter by using quantitative specialists to analyse data and help lead researchers to pinpoint key themes. This growing amount of data needs rigorous testing to ensure it remains relevant and that nothing is lost in translation to deliver the essence of brand-boosting research.

Researchers must ask themselves if tried and tested old methods for analysing data are still effective for these modern data collection approaches, or do new and more refined techniques need to be developed? The challenge ever remains to create more innovative and sophisticated techniques for content and contextual analysis.

Traditional research methods will continue to exist as long as agencies are prepared to constantly assess if they still remain applicable and fit for purpose.

Consumers are more than just a series of data. There is still a place for qualitative research to deliver the deep insight behind consumer behaviour and the data harvest from quantitative analysis – to explore the meaning behind the ‘why’ rather than the ‘what.’

If qualitative research can remain adaptable, innovative and synchronise old and new methodologies to deliver both insight and added value, then it will not only survive but thrive.
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