- Qual results are not representative of the general population and
cannot be projected. Those marketing decisions that rely on the measurement of
one or more variables should not be based purely on qual.
- Qualitative lacks the statistical foundation that guides decision
makers in quant, as to the significance of the results. It is therefore
susceptible to selective perception and interpretation. Marketers and decision
makers should be wary of this and remain open to all responses and comments,
not merely those findings that they would like to hear.
- Qual findings are exploratory, not conclusive. Decision makers
should neither place greater confidence than warranted in the results, nor
should they dismiss the findings as inconsequential.
- Low cost should not be the reason to use focus groups as an
alternative to quantitative research.
- The unstructured nature of the responses in qual research
complicate coding, analysis, and interpretation. Furthermore since analysis in
qual is the product of the researcher’s implicit models of evaluation and
interpretation, it will vary with researcher. The capability of the researcher
is accordingly a determinant of research quality, which introduces a level of
inconsistency in qual.
- The growth of online qual has
led to the influx of boutique agencies some of which rely more on technology
than the soft skills that distinguish a qual researcher. At the same time some
end-users enamoured by technology, and lured by low costs, may fail to fully
appreciate the true benefits of qual. The resulting commoditization may lead to
deterioration in the overall standards of quality of qual research.
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