In developing an effective marketing strategy, researchers tend to conduct basic as well as applied studies to determine the critical variables that are relevant to the understanding of the consumer behavior. These qualitative or quantitative research studies are usually aimed at providing the marketers with information that aids them in reducing uncertainty and making a better decision (Barnham, 2015). In such cases, the researchers are always poised to analyze the consumer behavior based on the collected data to identify the needs and the wants of the consumer at a given time. However, there always exits differences between the qualitative and quantitative research studies regarding consumer behavior.
The most basic differences between the quantitative and qualitative research are that the former always use logic, numbers, statistics, and models to collect responses from consumers. Besides, it mostly uses scientific methodology in the analysis and collections of data. Some of the consumer-related information customarily obtained using this approach includes product references, brand penetration, and awareness among many others (Belk, 2000). On the other hand, the qualitative research method often applies the techniques such as interviews, opinions, discussions, art, and images to understand the complex behavior of consumers. This research method is commonly used when there few respondents involved in data collections.
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In deliberating the behaviors of the consumers, the quantitative research approach tends to be concerned with ‘what’ questions, especially when trying to find out the number of consumers who are interested in particular substitute products. On the other hand, the qualitative research, usually concerned with ‘why’ questions while undertaking motivational research as well as suggestions through interrogative strategies. These ‘what’ and ‘why’ questions are usually applied to understand the behaviors and attitude as such, they are always considered as a widespread belief in eliciting the motivation of the consumers regarding physiological forces that affect the consumer’s decisions.
In concern to the conventional distinctions, the primary task of quantitative is most centered towards establishing representations of the consumer’s ideas regarding a particular market product. In this aspect, the quantitative research, tend to rely on physical sciences to build an intellectual platform for the firm (Gummesson, 2005). The qualitative research method is often ambiguous in that it is mostly concerned with the manner in which the consumer thinks or behaves towards a particular product within the market. This research method is mainly applied by researchers when examining the more profound inspirations of the consumer’s attitude
While considering the strength and the weaknesses of these two research methods, it is often evident that the qualitative research approach is always flexible as compared to the quantitative research methodology. This is because, during the process of getting a response from the consumer, the researcher might be allowed to rectify the discussion structure to align with respondents’ answers (Teddlie & Tashakkori, 2009). This is however not possible in the case of quantitative research method as the process of data collections is usually fixed and does not create space for modifications. Another difference between the two research methods is that the qualitative research tends to be natural as compared to the quantitative research method. This results from the fact that the quality research always can analyze the modifications that may arise with time.
Despite the difference between the quantitative and the qualitative research methods, the two usually share a wide range of applicability in market intelligence. They are always the best method considered by researchers in delivering a quality research. This why it is often recommended that both approaches should be applied by researchers while studying a phenomenon.
- Barnham, C. (2015). Quantitative and qualitative research: Perceptual foundations. International Journal of Market Research, 57(6), 837-854.
- Belk, R. W. (2000). Situational variables and consumer behavior. Journal of Consumer research, 2(3), 157-164.
- Gummesson, E. (2005). Qualitative research in marketing: Road-map for a wilderness of complexityand unpredictability. European journal of marketing, 39(3/4), 309-327.
- Holbrook, M. B. (Ed.). (1999). Consumer value: a framework for analysis and research. Psychology Press.
- Sheth, J. N., Mittal, B., & Newman, B. I. (1999). Consumer behavior and beyond. NY: Harcourt Brace.
- Teddlie, C., & Tashakkori, A. (2009). Foundations of mixed methods research: Integrating quantitative and qualitative approaches in the social and behavioral sciences. Sage.
- Wagner, S. A. (2003). Understanding green consumer behaviour: A qualitative cognitive approach. Psychology Press.