I’m here to tell you that qualitative research is not done comprehensively or correctly by just adding open-ended questions to your survey. Sure, that is a qualitative question (because it is open-ended) but there is no way you will obtain rich enough information to be actionable.
Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, it’s time to back up and provide some history.
As you might know, qualitative research is all about gathering in-depth insight into behavior. Typically it’s described as learning the “why” behind the things we do. Right now the trend in research, and honestly in business as well, is around the idea of empathy and trying to enhance understanding of your customers. Corporations are employing all kinds of approaches to listen to their customers and better meet their needs.
This is a positive trend and primary research (especially qualitative) is the perfect tool. Do not fall for the idea that by asking a few open-ended questions you can check the box on qualitative research. You have not done your due diligence. Qualitative research requires a discussion. It requires the ability to probe, clarify and redirect. It requires an inquisitive human mind that can listen, interpret responses and delve deeper into the relationship between an individual, an organization and the world around them. Qualitative research enables you to go deep enough to uncover insights that can actually guide your strategy.
If you want to have a conversation about qualitative research, you know where to find me. Reach out any time 206-232-9400 or firstname.lastname@example.org