Qual or Quant, which one do you love?



The other day, I was explaining to a non-research friend in the simplest forms what is experience management software, and the purposes of using it or a market research online community. He asked what kind of research was conducted on the platform, and I explained that it had the ability to do both qual and quant research. The words qual and quant brought him back to a research class he had taken in grad school and he said, I just remember hating quantitative research but enjoying qualitative research. I asked why? His answer was that quantitative research for someone working alone and needing results fast was highly impractical.

I probed further on why he hated quantitative research so much, and why he enjoyed qualitative research? He explained that for his thesis he had to choose which form of research he would use to carry out his study. To him, the quantitative seemed more labour intensive and so he had opted for the qualitative side. He explained that his professor had told him the numbers of respondents he would have to ask, and not only have to strive to get large numbers of respondents but also to make sure that he got a representative sample. Where as with the qualitative research the task seemed easier to achieve, with only having to reach out and find 20 participants.

He also went on to say that with the quantitative research he had to preplan the questions in survey form and that if an interesting set of answers emerged he had no way of knowing why that was the case, and would have to repeat the process again to determine further possibilities of why individuals answered in a certain way. He saw it as trying to look into a crystal ball for the possible outcome, whereas qualitative research was more real-time and he could pivot to ask further detail on certain responses.

The conversation was insightful, as it marked similarities to how small businesses must feel if they were to conduct a form of research on their own. I was able to explain how insight community software made it easier for a company to gather participants in one place, and allowed the ability to combine quantitative and qualitative for the very purpose he explained of being able to drill deeper on responses from surveys.


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