Focus group and in-depth interviews produce copious amounts of data. It isn’t uncommon to have hundreds of pages of transcripts following a qualitative market research study. While there are often numerous insights within the data, until it is analyzed and synthesized, it remains unhelpful. Qualitative research consultants will break down the data using a five-step process: Data grouping; Information labels; Findings (knowledge); Theory; Implications. These five components are applied to each question asked during a focus group or in-depth interview.
It would be impossible for researchers to try and write down the responses that recruited participants give during focus groups or in-depth interviews. These conversations are always recorded, with participants being informed that they are being recorded either by audio or video. These conversations are then transcribed and are the building blocks of the data analysis that follows.
There are many different ways to organize the data using the five steps listed above. A common tool is to build out a spreadsheet that includes the five steps for each question. If using a spreadsheet, the qualitative research consultant first groups the answers to each question and will next assign an information label to each question to more easily see what each group of answers describe. By organizing and classifying answers into different categories, it is easy to then see patterns emerge within these categories. When it comes to the findings, or knowledge, the analyst looks for how the information shared answers the overall research objectives of the study. Once the answers are broken down it’s much easier to develop a theory based on the evidence of the answers. The implications become apparent when the analyst judges what the answers mean.
Once the answers to the questions have been coded using the five steps, it builds out a roadmap for further investigation. Many nationwide qualitative research firms have analysts with varying specialties who can provide insight and offer strategic advice based on the findings.
There are many reasons that firms hire market research recruitment agencies to conduct research. The scope of the study will influence the focus of the final report that is delivered. Regardless of the scope of the study, qualitative research is a great way to explore, discover, gain insight, describe, and provide direction.
Working with proven market research recruiting firms and nationwide qualitative research firms can help your company gain a competitive advantage in today’s crowded marketplace.