Business Research Methods
Qualitative research is defined as obtaining deep, sophisticated information on the object under investigation. Detailed data concerning behavior, opinion, views, and relations of small groups of people are gathered in the course of such studies. The obtained data give a good idea and understanding of the consumer’s views. Results of qualitative research contain opinions, evaluations, reasoning, descriptions, associations, assumptions, justifications, ideas, offers, arguments, etc.
Qualitative research gathers general data on personal surveys, personal interviews, phone surveys, or audit of retail outlets (retail audit); primary data are gathered from a certain number of research objects. Accurate mathematical and statistical models and relationships are the basic techniques of quantitative researches.
If I had a chance to be a manufacturer of some specific kitchen electrics, I would recommend the “focus groups research method”. It is a kind of group interview with typical representatives of the population’ studied part, similar to the main social characteristics. This method can help to find out the consumers’ opinion about our products; it will also determine the demand, and will show the possible profit from our innovative proposals.
We can remember the case when HealthPlus faced the critical consumers’ opinion that health food is not tasty. The company launched an advertising campaign stating that their food helps stout people to slim and not to get fat. Especially, they widely extended this information among the youth. Thus, they tried and touched the consumers’ consciousness.
According to the All Business (2011), advantages of observation research consist of qualitative results, which help to improve the work and receive good profits. By means of observation it is possible to understand inner feelings and thoughts of the population and to look into the heart of the working process. Practical data is the most important factor in the course of such an experiment. Such method of survey is rather helpful because it safer, faster and easier.
Disadvantages of observations become apparent only in the long run. It is difficult to calculate how much time this process will take. This question’s esthetical part is rather problematic. It is some kind of the human rights’ violation. But it is much more effective than the survey method. Survey is weaker as a research method and it does not always provide necessary information, because individuals can answer the questions not seriously or in a comic form. Thus, I would recommend using the method of observation for studying the competitive companies or a certain new product. It is the best way to get truthful information in the modern business environment, despite its risks.
Very often conflicts may happen. For example, people accidentally learned that they were being watched. A group of researchers, who conducted the study, did not come to a mutual agreement and, thus, a conflict emerged. On this basis there is an extremely high possibility of data corruption because of the observer’s prepossession. And, of course, it impacts the whole results. The results can be not very correct. Also, the victims can present their pretense or even sue the researchers. One should be very careful when engaging into such activities. Another risk, which may influence the results, concerns memorizing information. For example, you are observing the situation all day long and then, when it is time to summarize all information, you cannot remember some important moments, details, etc. This is not professional at all.
Observer-participant relationship is rather significant in conducting researches. A direct supervisor would cope with conducting classroom observation, as presence is required. This way one is able to be fully in subject. For observation of retail customers in shops it is better to be an indirect player, whose presence is secret. If someone finds out that you are observing customers, troubles may arise, so it is rather risky. In case of observing a group interview it is good to play the role of the focus group’s representative or a client. In this case you will listen to all the ideas and ways of solving different situations. For example, in observing some organizing measures of grape growers work it is necessary to play a part of farmworker or even the principal organizer. First, you will know the detailed process of this activity; second, you will be an integral part of the process itself.
Conducting business researches is aimed at receiving information, necessary for the company to obtain the correct orientation in a market situation, and for it to correspond to the consumer audience in an appropriate way. After all, he who owns information – owns the world; every day this statement becomes more and more actual, especially in business.
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