Quantitative and qualitative research methods are equally important in marketing research. Although the two terms are used in the same breath, they mean different things. Using the terms interchangeably is unacceptable because their aims and techniques are particularly different. The primary difference between qualitative and quantitative research is that, while the former seeks to explore the reasons, motivations and opinions behind a certain phenomenon, the later aims at quantifying the problems through the use of numeric data (Parasuraman et al, 2007). This way, the results of quantitative data are presented in the form of figures and statistical data. From the nature of the two methods, it is clear that unlike qualitative research, quantitative research makes use of a bigger sample. Additionally, the sample should sufficiently represent the entire population. This means that the sample should not just be big, but also representative of the whole population as far as characteristics are concerned. On the other hand, the sample size for qualitative data is and should be small because the researcher needs to know as many details as possible about the people in the sample.
Another primary difference is that actuality that quantitative research gives more objective results compared to qualitative data. This is because the responses given in the case of quantitative research are fixed. On the contrary, the results of qualitative data are subjective because the validity of the data collected depends on the skills of the researcher and the capacity of the respondent to comprehend the questions. Speaking of validity of data, the methods of collection used under quantitative research are more structured. The main examples of the collection methods under quantitative research are online surveys, face to face interviews, mobile surveys, systematic observation, online polls and telephone interviews (Zikmund & Babin, 2007). On the other hand, the collection methods used under qualitative research are semi-structured and unstructured. The most notable examples are direct observation, focus groups and individual interviews. Considering that the quantitative research uses bigger and more representative samples, it can yield results that can effectively be generalized. On the contrary, the results of the qualitative research cannot be generalized.
The Advantages of Quantitative Research
The foremost advantage of quantitative research is the actuality that it gives objective results. These can be relied upon in making primary decisions. Secondly, it allows the researchers to generalize the findings because it employs bigger samples, which are representative of the whole population. Thirdly, it allows the researchers to test particular hypotheses, which can be supported or rejected. Fourthly, this type of research is not too involving, and is independent of the skills of the researcher.
The Disadvantages of Quantitative Research
The main disadvantage of quantitative research is that it does not reveal deep and rich detail. For instance, it does not unravel the opinions and views. In other words, it ignores human aspects of research.
The Advantages of Qualitative Research
Unlike quantitative research, it reveals deep and rich detail in the findings. Secondly, it can help the researcher make predictions with regard to trends and fashion preferences (Zikmund & Babin, 2007). It is exceptionally important in identifying a target market for new products.
The Disadvantages of Qualitative Research
Among the primary disadvantages is the fact that it is subjective because the quality of the findings depends on the skill of the researcher (Parasuraman et al, 2007). Secondly, it cannot be used to make a hypothesis. The validity of the findings is usually low because the sample used is small, and the characteristics do not substantially resemble those of the population.
Using the quantitative and qualitative research in identifying the target market
A combination of the two research methods can help Mobile Manufacturing, Inc. (MM) identify the target market for the new product because, according to Parasuraman et al, (2007), the two approaches complement each other. The quantitative research seeks to answer the questions, how many? How often? Who? When? Where? On the contrary, the qualitative research will answer the questions why? Would you? How? In straightforward terms, the qualitative research will present the findings in figure or numbers, while qualitative research will give explanations in words. A combination of the two will perfectly define the market.
The use of the two approaches in defining the target market can be illustrated as follows. Mobile Manufacturing, Inc. (MM) can visit such institutions as university or colleges. At such institutions, questionnaires will be issued randomly to be filled and picked. The questions will be structured in such a manner that they yield fixed answers. On the same grounds, the Mobile Manufacturing, Inc. (MM) marketing personnel will interview a few students, so as to get the explanations with regard to fashion, preferences, current tastes, and expected trend. The researchers will as well gain a wealth of knowledge with regard to which features are preferred, why, in what quality and so on. The researchers can as well be conducted at a marketing rally or campaign organized by the company. The findings from the two approaches will give all the characteristics of the potential market by indicating such metrics as age, income level, behavior, and lifestyle and so on.
Parasuraman, A., Grewal, D., & Krishnan, R. (2007). Marketing research. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Co.
Zikmund, W. G., & Babin, B. J. (2007). Exploring marketing research. Mason, Ohio: Thomson South-Western.