Qualitative Research


DJS Research Ltd is a leading market research consultancy and provides a full range of qualitative research services.

Data collection methods in market research fall under 2 groups; quantitative (e.g. structured street surveys) or qualitative research (e.g. focus groups or group discussions).  Qualitative and quantitative market research methods each provide different insights into customer behaviour.  Research results can be more useful when the two methods are combined, although they are often conducted separately.

Qualitative research (e.g. focus groups) aim to provide an understanding of how or why things are as they are.  For example, a Market Researcher may ask a group of mobile phone users to explain how they chose their tariff product and why they chose that one.  This discussion may cover how they use their phone, how they get information on mobile phone tariffs, how they select a supplier and other things besides. Unlike quantitative research there are no fixed set of questions but, instead, a topic guide (or discussion guide) is used to explore various issues in depth.  In qualitative research the discussion between the interviewer (or moderator) and the respondent is largely determined by the respondent’s own thoughts and feelings.  The interview tends to be longer than a quantitative interview and fewer interviews are conducted.  The table below summarises some of the key differences between qualitative and quantitative research.

Table 1:  Key Differences – Qualitative And Quantitative Information

Quantitative Information. 
Typified by...

Qualitative Information.
Typified by...

Larger samples

Smaller samples

Statistically valid

Directional findings

Analyses numbers – how many think what?

Analyses thoughts and feelings

Closed questioning techniques (less opportunity to ask ‘why?’)

Open questioning techniques

Who thinks what? (Measuring)

Why do people think/behave as they do? (Explaining)

Analysed in aggregate

Allows us to provide anecdotal type information – for example (with permission of the respondent), we can highlight case study examples for ‘interesting’ companies to demonstrate certain points


Qualitative research can help in a variety of settings.  Our consultants have conducted qualitative research across different business-to-business and consumer markets covering a range of issues, including for example:


    • Understanding the decision making process for a particular product or service including the criteria used to make that decision and the relative importance of each aspect in order to guide our client’s offer
    • Understanding customers’ views and image of a client’s brand vs competitor brands in order to aid brand strategy
    • Gaining in-depth reactions to proposed communications to clearly understand the relative strengths and weaknesses of each in order to decide which communication should be used as final


There are various types of qualitative research methodologies.  Research of this sort is mostly done face to face.  One of the best known techniques is the market research focus group discussion.  These are usually made up of 6 to 8 targeted respondents, a research moderator whose role is to ask the required questions, draw out answers, and encourage discussion, and an observation area usually behind one way mirrors, and video and/or audio taping facilities. A series of market research focus groups are usually conducted together - often around 4-6 per project.

In addition, qualitative market research can also be conducted on a 'one on one' basis i.e. an in-depth market research interview with a trained executive interviewer and one respondent, a paired depth (two respondents), a triad (three respondents) and a mini group discussion (4-5 respondents).


If you are looking to conduct qualitative research, please get in touch by phoning +44 (0)1663-767857 or through our online contact form, which can be found here.


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Further Information About DJS Research Ltd

We are a consultancy based in the North West of England. We pride ourselves on providing a quality service but at affordable and value for money rates. In addition, we can guarantee that a Senior Consultant will conduct your qualitative research from start to finish.


We are members of the Market Research Society, ESOMAR, AIMRI and ICG, which means all projects adhere to their quality standards.


For further information about the company, please click here...

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