The paper "The Concept of Marketing Research " is an outstanding example of marketing coursework. A client at a large manufacturing firm asked his research department to tell him the differences between qualitative and quantitative research. The first explanation he got was that you first conduct qualitative research to draw hypotheses and then you conduct a quantitative study to support or not to support these hypotheses. Another answer was that it all down to the sample sizes involved. One is used for small sample sizes while the other for large sample size research.
A third distinction one researcher made was about project-ability, he said only quantitative studies are projectable (Tauber, 1987). Some researchers said the two are often interchangeable only that choice was guided by economics. They said that you conduct qualitative research if you have a restrictive budget. However, the truth is that these assertions are not wholly correct. In the simplest of definitions, Carlson (2008) describes qualitative research as that which is primarily interpretive in nature and that can include introspection. This is a perspective that has been made use of by many scholars such as Ron Hill, Beth Hirschman, Russ Belk and others (Carlson, 2008).
On the other hand, quantitative research means the positivistic research traditions that are characteristic of the experimental design work, structural equation modelling, etc. , that are empirical in nature (Carlson, 2008). However, Onwuegbuzie and Leech (2005) differ with this interpretation arguing that at best we rely on approximations to distinguish quantitative from qualitative research. They further hold the opinion that much research whilst clearly focused on a single major approach, bears within its use of several techniques that often blend the two approaches. To dispel the myths, there is nothing inherent in qualitative research interviews that make it restricted to small sample or to lack project-ability.
Conducting 200 or more one – on – ones is rarely done because it is costly and not that it is not ‘ do-able’ . The two methods are also not interchangeable because they give different types of information to the researcher, e.g. if you compare an interactive depth interview to a structured (quantitative type) questionnaire. The sample size isn't the issue. Projectability isn't the issue.
One method does not produce answers that can be duplicated (and thus tested) by the other. They each should stand on their own (Tauber, 1987). The concept of marketing research is all about answering the 'what' and 'why' for the best research results. The core reason for research is to add insight and explain complexity (Onwuegbuzie & Leech, 2005). Increased understanding of the market is the ultimate goal of market research endeavours irrespective of the research approach chosen (Carlson, 2008). That said Carlson (2008) states that a good portion of the advertising/marketing research perspectives and findings that have typified the latter half of the 20th century as well as into this current one follow the quantitative approach.
This is due to quantitative research’ s numerical representation of issues which makes it easier to arrive at and defend definite statements (Onwuegbuzie & Leech, 2005). Additionally, quantitative research supports the defence of proposed generalizations and specification of the extent to which certainty has been achieved through concepts such as validity and reliability.
Carlson, L. (2008). Qualitative vs. quantitative research traditions: a needless and useless debate
that hampers advertising and marketing knowledge development. International Journal of Advertising, 27,4, 660 – 663.
Onwuegbuzie, A. J, & Leech, N. L. (2005). On Becoming a pragmatic researcher: the
Importance of combining quantitative and qualitative research methodologies. Int. J. Social Research Methodology, 8, 5, 375–387.
Roller, M. R. (1988, August 29). The Qualitative vs. the quantitative conflict is a futile one.
Marketing News, 22.
Tauber, E. M. (1987). Qualitative vs. Quantitative. Journal of Advertising Research [editorial], 7.