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Qualitative research

Qualitative research involves small numbers of consumers – typically in focus groups or in-depth interviews - and gathers verbal and visual data, analysed for themes and patterns. It is used to understand underlying attitudes, opinions, motivations and importantly behaviours of consumers. It examines and observes (ideally in real-time and in context) the why and how of decision-making, not just what, where, when, or "who". It provides insights into the problem or helps develop initial ideas or hypotheses for quantitative research.

Key Reading

Important papers from across the Warc database

This Best Practice paper advises on how to behave – and how not to behave – when observing consumer qualitative research in focus groups. It argues that focus groups do not behave 'naturally': researchers should recognise that the groups must be moderated and interpreted by trained professionals, not taken literally.
Why qualitative research relies upon different sets of underlying assumptions about what we are looking for.
How immersive techniques allow researchers to capture behaviours, emotions and perceptions in context.
This paper argues that it is possible, and sometimes preferable, to conduct research and not ask questions.
Sharing insights for qualitative research generated by observing methods used in other industries.

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