Understanding online purchase via QR

“Understand how people use the Internet and have a qualitative context to their actions and behaviours”. This video shows a very good example of the uses of online qualitative research by mean YouGov. Concretly, the video illustrates very well how we can get to deeply understand a regular online purchase journey.


“Borderlands: The Edges of Europe”, a visual analysis

New Picture (36)

“Borderlands: The Edges of Europe” is a collection of analogue photographs representing the people and places along the borders of the European Union, developed with the purpose of creating an archive of images narrating life at the edges of Europe.

Since 2011 Leonardi has undertaken extensive walks along the land borders of the European Union. Proceeding slowly on foot and following methodically the boundaries traced on maps, she has built up a distinctive experience of the European frontier that includes unplanned encounters with its inhabitants.

This series focuses on the connection between people and territory and the significance of trans-national and transcultural identities, exploring the relevance of European identity and its relationship with concepts of home and belonging, memory and territory and how these have been shaped by events.

This project concentrates on land borders, and the concept of geographical Europe is juxtaposed to that of political Europe/European Union. For example, it does not include the borders of Switzerland, which is not EU however does not have restrictions towards EU citizens.

Source and further info: http://borderlands.eu/

This is what happens when a focus group does not work out


Source: PhD Stress blog (2014) Retrieved from http://phdstress.com/post/81561374996/at-the-faculty-meeting

Mobile apps for online qualitative research

Today I stumbled across this innovative application for online qualitative research. It powers a range of ‘conversation & observation’ activities such one to ones, auto ethnography and group discussions, among others. The application is run by Liveminds and offers a demo request.


What is a market research interview?

What does first spontaneously come to your mind when listen the word “interview”? May be a conversation between a journalist and a relevant personage on television? May be a job interview? Although an interview for market research may have many things in common with a job interview, there are a number of particularities to bear in mind. A market reserch interview is a purposeful discussion between two or more people (Kahn and Cannel, 1957) Bellow you can see what are the essentials of an interview.

1. Open-ended questions. Unlike in a questionnaire, the interviewee is not forced to choose among a set of options like bellow:

  1. Strongly disagree
  2. Disagree
  3. Neither agree nor disagree
  4. Agree
  5. Strongly agree

On the contrary, the interviewee has absolute freedom to answer and does not need to stick to any preset categories. Actually, this is the essence and advantage of such technique, i.e. the possibility to obtain a spontaneous and non-conditioned answer. Some of examples are:

  • “Tell me about your relationship with your supervisor”
  • “How do you see your future?”
  • “What is the purpose of government?”
  • “Why did you choose that answer?”

3. Representation. When doing a research on trainers shoes consumptions, you must interview young people, adults and elder, or whatever other relevant categorization. It is going to assure a correct representation of the phenomena. Take into account that representation does not imply representativeness. When applying interviews in your research, the sample is usually low, 15 or 20 cases is enough. But these figures are insufficient to do inferences. On the contrary, other techniques like survey are precisely designed for reliable inferences.

4. Interaction. As well as other qualitative techniques as focus group, interaction is both the main advantage and handicap. On the one hand, the direct and close interaction interviewer-interviewee allows a deeper understanding. However, the way interviewer behaves may affect the answers. How do should behave? This question will be answer in future posts, but here is enough to say that a good interviewer must be neutral and refrain from giving his or her personal opinion.


Kahn, R. L., & Cannell, C. F. (1957). The dynamics of interviewing: theorie, technique, and cases. Cited in Philip, Mark NK Saunders, and Adrian Thornhill. Research methods for business students. Pearson, 2009
Martínez, P., & Rodríguez, P. M. (2008). Cualitativa-mente. ESIC Editorial.
VALLES, M. (2002). Entrevistas Cualitativas, CIS, Cuadernos Metodológicos nº 32S, Madrid. Trabajo personal de lectura y comprensión Trabajo personal para obtener informaciones de diversas fuentes Trabajo personal de análisis y síntesis.

How to design a qualitative research?

“A research design is a plan for collecting and analyzing evidence that will make it possible for the investigator to answer whatever questions he or she has posed” (Ragin, 1994, p. 1919) This definition leads to a number of steps that every researcher must follow:

1º Formulate a research question. Every inquiry always starts by a question. This question represents certain problem. “Why unemployment is higher in southern countries than in northern countries?”Why my company sales have dropped over the last years?” As it was covered in a previous post, research questions are normally headed by a interrogative particles like “what is”, “what type”, “how frequent”, “what are the causes”, “what are its consequences”, “what are people´s”, etc.

2º Secondly, you must describe how you are going to collect the information required to answer the research question. Concretely, you should account for the techniques to be applied and sampling. Regarding the former one, think over which techniques best applied for you, interviews? focus group?, observation? (Have a look here to those posted earlier) On the other hand sampling is concerned with the selection of a subset of individuals from within a statistical population. Bear in mind that such qualitative techniques as interviews or focus group do not require representativeness like survey does. In other words, the number of cases selected doesn´t allow doing generalizations to the whole population.

3º Finally, every research design should include a plan for analyzing data. If a quantitative design would likely include such analysis techniques as statistical test, absolute and relative frequencies, graphics or tables, a qualitative one generally deals with such techniques as categorizations, summaries, ranking of relevance (see here further info about categorizations here) However, take into account that in some cases, data obtained by mean qualitative techniques may be quantify. Actually, there are software as CAQDAS or Sonal (the latter is a free software) specially set to do it.


Flick, U. (2009) An introduction to qualitative research Sage Publications Limited

Philip, Mark NK Saunders, and Adrian Thornhill. Research methods for business students. Pearson, 2009

Ragin, C. C. (1994). Introduction to qualitative comparative analysis. The comparative political economy of the welfare state, 299, 300-9.

Why qualitative research? (Case study and solution)

The qualitative approach within the market research industry is of increasing importance. Why this approach is required in many occasions?

Tempranillo varietal wine bottle and glass, sh...

Tempranillo varietal wine bottle and glass, showing colour Shot with Nikon D70s (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CASE STUDY¹. Imaging your company want to export Spanish wine to Poland. In this country, it is well known that either beer or vodka are more popular drink than wine, but nothing is clear about the Polish delight in wine, and even less in Spanish wine. For this reason, the company has contacted a market research agency and they plan to develop a telephone survey of a Polish population representative sample. Results show that just 10% of population drinks more than one glass of wine a month, instead of the 20% in other eastern European countries. Also, results show that the consumption of wine is less common in the group between 25 and 35 years old. The researcher seems to have a clear marketing strategy.

But something important is still up in the air. How to address this population? A qualitative approach has complemented the quantitative data by mean a number of focus groups in Warsaw. The idea of the research is gathering at least eight people between 25 and 35 years old that do not consume wine usually and another group of eight people at the same age who consume wine at least once a month. Questions as “habits of alcohol consumption in general”, “willingness to increase wine consumption”, “reasons to not consume” were asked. Below you can see some of the sentences that were listened to in the discussions:

“…I do not drink wine because I never know what kind of wine goes with each food…”

“…I have a feeling that wine is more for old people, and I feel young…”

“I do prefer to support Polish industry of vodka and beer”

“…yeah! and also for high standard of living people, I feel that beer is more…how to say…more akin to my people”

“…bottles information are not translated into polish so I do not even know where this wine is from”

“…I get drunk too fast! beer is more kind of easy-going…”

“…I really like wine but all my friends prefer beer so… I don´t want to be a weirdo when go to a party…”




The quantitative approach is very important to quantify the reality. The representative percentage of wine-consumers in Poland or the frequency of consuming is unobtainable but by mean questionnaire or statistics. Ad hoc questionnaire may help us also to understand opinions and attitudes of people toward your product by mean opinion scales as well as including some open-ended questions.

However, three factors make this approach inappropriate when investigator sought a more detailed opinion:

1. Time: especially in phone questionnaires, the interviewees feel generally in hurry either by the surveyor or by him/herself. On the contrary, the more calm and tranquil atmosphere provided by qualitative methods as interview or focus group, encourages a major commitment and engagement.

2. Interaction: while the interaction in quantitative methods in occasions does not even exist or is limited to a phone conversation, in the qualitative one, the number of interaction increases exponentially, allowing at the same time a major capacity to adjust questions and improvising new ones as the interviews progress. In the case of the focus group, the interaction is produced also among the members of the group which represent a great advantage of this technique, since many of the most profound opinions we have are just seen clearly by ourselves after discussing with others.

3. Depth of the analysis: quantitative approach usually deals with countable behaviors or resources: number of wine bottles sold in Poland last year, number of wine glass per week, etc. it hardly allow researcher gets know about emotions, values and beliefs. Making use of the iceberg metaphor, focus group, interview, but also the analysis of comments in forums or just graffiti in a wall expresses better than nothing our deepest view of the world.

Finally: critical reflection for a organization manager: What values do your brand transmit? Is your organization media strategy connected efficiently with your buyers? What is more, is your organization media strategy connected with your potential market?  Just when a company reach to understand its target´s deepest and detailed opinions, values and beliefs, the marketing and communication strategies implemented may cause a truly impact on the sales.


Flick, U. (2009). An introduction to qualitative research. Sage Publications Limited.
Martínez, P., & Rodríguez, P. M. (2008). Cualitativa-mente. ESIC Editorial.
Silverman, D. (2011). Interpreting qualitative data. Sage Publications Limited.
1 This case is not real, although some of the sentences were taken from real cases