Tag: qualitative research

Qualitative Research Implications

During this week’s lectures, we took a closer look at the implications of qualitative research. Gathering data for market research is usually done through two different methods: qualitative and quantitative research. Merriam-Webster Dictionary and Thesaurus describes qualitative research as research that is relating to how good something is, or relating to the quality of something. There are many types of qualitative research that can be done in order to gather information about a topic or field of study. Example include: ethnography, interview, focus groups, marketing research online communities, and so on.

Depending on the type of qualitative research, there are different implications of qualitative research. Why using ethnography as a qualitative research tool, we try to get a deeper understanding of the consumer and consumer behavior. Ethnography is particularly effective when studying trends, personal habits, lifestyle factors, and the effect of social/cultural context on behavior. Therefore, we use ethnography in product categories that are visibly consumed over time and in space and are rich in socio-cultural meaning. The one-on-one interview is another example discussed during the lectures. This type of qualitative research is great to understand consumers’ decision making, details on how products are used or to take a closer look at the emotional and private aspects of consumers’ lives (Mcquarrie, 2015).

journal-of-ibIn a research article form the Journal of International Business Studies, Yves Doz examines qualitative research for international businesses. The article shows a couple different implications of qualitative research in the field of international business. First, Doz (2011), recognizes that by providing rich, thick descriptions of real phenomena and action instances simulate deeper thoughts that provide a safeguard against the “seeing what you are already believing” risk of semi-structured empirical research and allow richer and stronger conceptualization.

Yves Doz.jpgAnother implication is that it allows someone to bring a variety of theoretical lenses to bear on the phenomenon being investigated and to compare systematically the nature and extent of the insights provided by these various theories. By using theory testing, it is possible to compare the prediction a theory would make about a phenomenon to the observed instance and to extend and/or challenge the validity of the theory. In relation to theory testing, another use of qualitative research could also help to communicate it by showing its applicability. By using conceptual coherence and hold in its logical structure, qualitative illustration could make communication easier.

Next, Doz (2011) points out that qualitative research may also be essential for surfacing contextual dimensions in international business. In this case, qualitative research in a new context is a way to learn about that context up close, rather than risk assuming away contextual differences. Creating theories that recognize context and qualitative case-based research can contribute to the contextualization of general theories.

Finally, qualitative research may also enable your research to discover the importance of a previously neglected phenomenon or the relevance of a particular theoretical perspective to that phenomenon. It could result into strong inspiration for new ideas and research topics. In a field like international business, qualitative exploratory research may help identify and understand new phenomena as they come forward and help decide if it is interesting researching these.

Doz (2011) concludes his section on implications of qualitative research in international business by stating that although there is no right answer to the question if qualitative research is worth the risk and the effort, it contributes to the development of a field of management research in multiple ways and definitely could contribute more to international business that it has done in the past.

More information about qualitative research for international business can be found in Doz’ article on jstor.org.


Focus Groups as a type of Qualitative Research


richard-a-kruegerIn our Marketing Research and Strategy class this week, we focused on qualitative research and especially looked at focus groups and how they fit into qualitative research. For this week’s blog, I watched a YouTube video from Richard A. Krueger, who is a Ph. D. at the University of Minnesota as he talks about focus groups in a video titled “Moderating focus groups”. In this video, Krueger gives some pretty interesting insights in what focus groups are, what the steps are in order to conduct a focus group, and provides us with some tips on how to moderate a focus group.

Setting up a focus group takes more preparation than I actually thought when I first heard about this type of qualitative research. The steps of setting up a focus group as identified by Krueger include:

Before the focus group meeting:

  1. Identify the relevant participants
  2. Recruiting these participants to attend
  3. Arrange for the logistics
  4. Develop the questions that will be asked during the focus group

On the day of the focus group meeting:

  1. Make sure everything is set up correctly
    • Arrive early in order to check out the room and recording equipment needed that day
    • Name tags are placed in the appropriate spots so people know where to sit. People who were identified as talkative are place close to the microphone, while other are placed directly across
  2. People arrive and are welcomed upon their arrival

Starting the focus group meeting:

  1. Short introduction that includes:
    • Welcome and introduction of the topic
    • Background on the topic
    • Ground rules for the focus group
    • Opening question
  2. Participants introduce themselves
  3. Questions are asked and the participants answer, discuss, and interact with each other
    • Moderator interacts by trying to include everyone in the discussion
    • Some topics are addressed through role plays, using lists on which the participants write down several things which will all come together on a flip chart, the use of hand gestures or writing down words on small pieces of paper, and projections where participants assign objects or animals to certain topics that would represent their thought on these topics

Concluding the focus group meeting:

  1. Ask participant to reflect and indicate what they thought were the most important things that were talked about
  2. The moderator often addresses the assistant moderator to ask her about any questions that were important in the meeting and to give a very short summary on what has been discussed
  3. Assistant moderator turns to the group and asks for confirmation on their answers
  4. Moderator closes the focus group meeting

After the focus group meeting:

  1. Doing the analysis and preparing a report



  1. Short pauses of about 5 seconds. This allows participants to reflect and think and gives them a chance to express their thoughts
  2. If one of the participants talks to much, which interferes with the chance of other participants presenting their thoughts, you can solve this by:
    • Stop taking notes
    • Stop making eye contact with the person talking too much and make eye contact with the other participants
    • If the participant still keeps talking, then you find a pause in order to interrupt him/her and turn the attention to the others
  3. In order to get someone to talk, the moderator often looks at them while posing a question or calls on them and invite their comments
  4. The use of role play is particularly effective when you are trying to get people to discuss complex ideas. Afterwards, the other participants are asked about any comments on the role play that just took place
  5. Using list can also be very effective to address difficult topics. The use of lists is used to identify large numbers of items to then quickly identify which items of this larger number are the most relevant to participants. Each participant makes a list of their thoughts on a particular topic, which are then all written down on a flip chart. Once the complete list is on the flip chart, participants are asked which ones they consider the most important ones
  6. Rating sheets which list possible answers/situations to a topic that participants will then rate based on their own experience. The answers are then again reflected on a flip chart
  7. Rapid feedback can be achieved through the use of hand gestures by participants or writing words on pieces of paper allows you to get quick information from people. This information is designed to figure out the reasons why something might be happening. The answers to the questions posed are repeated out loud by the moderator so they appear on the recording and allow the assistant moderator to make quick notes
  8. Projection by the use of animals or objects in order to find out what something might present. In this case, it is important that participants explain why they are choosing this object or animal


What I thought was particularly interesting in this video from Richard A. Krueger was that at the beginning the participants seem to be talking directly to the moderator. But as the focus group cares on this changes mostly automatically to the participants talking to each other. If this is not directly the case the moderator will try to change this so the participants interact more with each other and the moderator becomes more of an observant. Also, at certain moments participants start to get comfortable talking within the group. When this occurs, moderators encourage this and allow people to talk across the table to each other. Finally, I realized that there is a lot more to conducting a focus group that just asking questions. Like Krueger said, you have to think about what has been said, what is been discussed at the moment, and even what is possibly going to be said later on.

Through the information received in our lectures about focus groups and analyzing this video, I definitely became a lot more knowledgeable about focus groups and the effectiveness. At first I was a little skeptical about their effectiveness, because I thought a lot of bias would be related to it. After watching the video, I think I can conclude the exact opposite of what I first thought. Focus group meetings can actually be very beneficial to qualitative research for a company. One of the main reasons for this is that the actual company the focus group meeting is organized for is kept “secret”. Another reason is that it is the moderator’s job to create an atmosphere where participants feel comfortable addressing their true feelings and experiences and kind of forget about why they are really there.

I can’t really say that I disliked anything about the focus group simulation that was shown in the video. The only thing that I might have changed is the setting. I thought the setting was pretty plain and a little to formal. If I would have been one of the participants in this focus group, I think I would feel more like I was in an actual business meeting which would directly change my behavior into a more formal way of acting. I would pay more attention to the way I express myself, which could possibly cause bias in my answers.

This YouTube video by Richard A. Krueger is definitely worth watching if you are even planning in partaking in a focus group as moderator and even as participant.