Where does qualitative research stand today: Thoughts on the 2017 Q3/4 GRIT Report

The GRIT report is a tracker conducted by GreenBook to better understand the status of the marketing research industry. It reports on the use of emerging research methods, traditional research methods, how research is used, and how researchers go about their daily business routines. In this wave, data was collected during the last half of 2017 from more than 1500 research buyers and suppliers.

Based on these responses, participants indicated that about 35% of the projects they complete are qualitative, in other words, that the ‘approach is focused on understanding a population or data source in a non-statistical manner.’

GRIT report quantitative summary
In terms of just quantitative methods, online surveys comprised 56% of technique usage by project (see page 28). In second place, was mobile surveys at 14%, followed by face-to-face at 9%, CATI at 9%, and CAPI at 9%.

Online is huge, comprising essentially 70% of techniques used. But given just how pervasive online techniques are and have been for at least ten years, it’s interesting to see that 22% of techniques today still involve person to person interactions among researchers and participants. Despite the stunning advantages of online research, companies still want and need to sit down and chat with real human beings in real human situations. Sometimes, there is no better way to truly understand what people think and feel, than to engage in a real conversation and observe their personal and facial reactions in response to your brand.

GRIT report qualitative summary
In terms of qualitative research only, the GRIT report indicates that in-person focus groups take the largest share, a quarter, of projects (26%, see page 31). In-person individual interviews are next at 15%, followed by telephone interviews (11%), and online communities, 9%.

In this case, it’s interesting to see that while in-person methodologies are clearly the first choice (focus groups, interviews, and observations = 46%), online methods have wrestled away a significant percentage of work. Clearly, certain research objectives are best suited to in-person and telephone techniques, whereas other research objectives can be easily transferred to digital options wherein a researcher does not have to be immediately present, whether to direct, respond, or observe.

We’re glad to see that people continue to understand the advantages that qualitative research methods offer. We regularly chat about the advantages of qualitative research methods, including using mall-intercepts to ensure the privacy of your intellectual property, telephone research to increase reach to people who are unaware of research panels, and in-home usage tests to allow people to experience products in the comfort and normal environment of their own home.

If you’re wondering whether a qualitative methodology might suit your research objectives, we’d be happy to help guide you through all of your online and offline options.  Please get in touch with us!


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Canadian Viewpoint is an MRIA Gold Seal field and data collection company that specializes in English and French Canada. Our offline and online services include sample, programming, hosting, mall intercepts, pre-recruits, central location recruitment, mystery shopping, site interviews, IHUTs, sensory testing, discussion boards, CATI, facial coding, and other innovative technologies. Learn more about our services on our website.

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