Qualitative & Quantitative Survey Methods: Online Surveys for your Market Research Needs

Appinio Research · 03.07.2023 · 11min read

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What perception does the public have of my company? How effectively is the new advertising campaign resonating with the target audience? Should I consider expanding my product portfolio internationally? These crucial questions hold the power to shape the long-term success or failure of a brand.


Market research is the key to obtaining precise answers to these complex issues, whether the inquiries are formulated in a broad sense ("How familiar is our brand among the target audience?") or with specific focus ("What attributes should product XY possess to be perceived as modern?").


In the field of market research, one must carefully consider the diverse and specific nature of the initial question to choose the most appropriate method. In this blog article, we will explore the advantages and applications of qualitative and quantitative survey methods, with a particular focus on online surveys. By understanding these methods, you can enhance your market research capabilities and make informed decisions to drive your brand's success.



Surveys in market research

In the realm of market research, a timeless and fundamental tool involves engaging individuals through surveys to unveil their opinions, preferences, and feedback, thereby facilitating data collection. 

This process typically involves the utilization of qualitative and quantitative survey methods, each with its distinct focus, questioning techniques, and evaluation approaches. Consequently, the results derived from these methodologies can vary significantly.


Qualitative market research

Qualitative survey methods delve into the depths of consumer experiences, motivations, and perceptions, aiming to capture rich and nuanced insights


Through techniques such as in-depth interviews and focus groups, researchers can uncover the underlying reasons behind consumer behaviors, aspirations, and emotional connections. This qualitative approach provides a deep understanding of the intricacies of human decision-making processes.


Qualitative research is not only suitable for researching the expectations of a product, a service or a brand. It is especially good to generate new ideas or perspectives in the early stages of a project or product development. 


However, this usually entails investigating small groups or individual opinions that cannot be easily generalized. But qualitative methods offer invaluable context to supplement quantitative data.


Quantitative market research


On the other hand, quantitative survey methods harness the power of numbers and statistical analysis to derive measurable and statistically valid results


Through large-scale surveys and structured questionnaires, researchers collect data from a substantial sample size, enabling them to draw broader conclusions and identify trends with a higher degree of confidence. 


This method allows for precise measurement, comparison, and generalization, offering a quantitative lens to understand market dynamics and consumer preferences at scale.

How about combining both survey methods?


While qualitative and quantitative survey methods may yield different types of insights, they are not mutually exclusive. In fact, combining both approaches can provide a comprehensive and multi-dimensional understanding of consumer behavior and market dynamics. 


By leveraging the strengths of each method, market researchers can gain a holistic perspective that encompasses both the "why" and the "what" behind consumer choices.

For example, by integrating open-ended questions, participants answer in their own words instead of choosing between predefined answer options.


Which survey method is better? It depends

It is crucial to select the appropriate survey method based on the research objectives, scope, and resources available


Qualitative methods excel in exploring consumer motivations, uncovering deep-seated preferences, and unraveling complex decision-making processes. 

Conversely, quantitative methods are advantageous when aiming for broad data collection, statistical analysis, and generalizable insights. 


By carefully choosing and integrating these methods, market researchers can unlock valuable insights that guide strategic decision-making, product development, and effective marketing strategies.

  • Do you want to explore the big picture and know, for example, who would buy or actually buy your products? Then a target group analysis is what you’re looking for.
  • How happy are buyers with your products or service? Measure customer satisfaction.
  • You have an idea for a new product or new service? Test your concept with your desired target before you actually launch it on the market.
  • Why do consumers go for your products over the ones from your competitors? Quantitative market research is a good way to determine brand awareness or brand image or always be in the loop with a brand tracking.


You’re basically spoilt for choice.There are survey methods for advertising campaigns, a design test or logo test and even for recruiting and employee branding.


But enough of the theory: how is market research done in practice?

What are the classic market research formats? 

In the realm of classic market research, there have long been a variety of analogue formats that continue to be utilized in many contexts even today. 


Whether the goal is to gather a large quantity of data through quantitative means or to delve deep into individual perspectives using qualitative approaches, these traditional formats have played a significant role.


Personal interviews

One prominent format in classic market research is the personal interview, which can be conducted face-to-face or digitally. 


During face-to-face interviews, interviewers and participants sit together, engaging in a structured discussion and collectively navigating through the questionnaire. 

The results can be recorded either by hand ("Paper & Pencil") or entered directly into a computer ("Computer Assisted Personal Interview").


Written surveys

Another widely employed method is the written survey, wherein participants receive questionnaires to complete independently, either in person or by post. The results are typically compiled manually. Additionally, direct surveys conducted at the point of sale (PoS), where products are offered and purchased, have gained popularity.


Each of these methods possesses its own set of advantages and disadvantages. 


Notably, the personal contact inherent in face-to-face interviews allows for nuanced explanations of complex issues and facilitates real-time response to participants' queries. It also offers flexibility for interviewers to deviate from the script, particularly in qualitative exploratory research, leading to richer insights and deeper understanding.


However, it is essential to acknowledge that these traditional methods now face certain drawbacks that outweigh their advantages. 


  • The implementation of such formats can be time-consuming, entailing significant personnel costs. 
  • Additionally, the process of data evaluation is laborious and often requires a substantial amount of time before a valid result can be consolidated. 
  • Moreover, with the rapid progress of digitalization and the influence of factors like the COVID-19 pandemic, these analogue survey methods may appear somewhat outdated


As a result, an increasing number of companies are embracing online surveys as a more efficient and cost-effective alternative.


Online surveys offer numerous benefits in terms of scalability, speed of data collection, and ease of analysis


They eliminate the need for physical presence, enabling respondents to participate from anywhere, anytime, utilizing their preferred digital devices. 


Moreover, the integration of advanced survey software allows for streamlined data management and automated analysis, significantly reducing the time and effort required for data evaluation. The transition to online surveys not only aligns with the evolving technological landscape but also caters to the preferences of participants who are increasingly accustomed to digital interactions.


Why does an app enable better market research?

When it comes to implementing market research, the smartphone stands out as the most suitable medium. 


  1. Broad reach
    A significant proportion of the population worldwide owns a smartphone, ensuring a broad reach for potential participants.
  2. Fast replies
    Smartphones enable individuals to be reached at any time of the day, resulting in prompt survey responses.
  3. A wide variety of user feedback
    Furthermore, smartphones naturally facilitate the integration of multimedia elements such as images, videos, and audio, enriching the research experience and providing a more comprehensive understanding of consumer perspectives.


How does Appinio enable better market research

One key advantage of using an app like Appinio for market research is the enhanced reliability of quality assurance mechanisms


The intuitive app interface, coupled with gamification elements and user-friendly design, creates an engaging and rewarding survey experience, leading to significantly lower survey drop-out rates. 


Moreover, the app is positioned as an opinion platform rather than explicitly focusing on market research, tapping into people's innate desire to share and compare their opinions with others. 


To further incentivize participation, participants are rewarded with virtual coins that can be used to pose their own anonymous questions. This unique feature empowers users to swiftly obtain hundreds of anonymous responses to their queries within minutes. 


Alternatively, participants can choose to contribute the coins they earn to support environmental initiatives like the Eden Reforestation Projects or exchange them for vouchers, adding an element of social impact and personal benefit.


The Appinio app offers a range of other advantages beyond the aforementioned features. 

By leveraging the app's capabilities, researchers can gather real-time insights, swiftly analyze data, and generate comprehensive reports. 


Appinio’s extensive reporting functionality provides a wealth of information resulting from the online surveys conducted within the platform. These reports offer valuable insights into consumer opinions and behaviors, enabling businesses to make data-driven decisions and gain a competitive edge in the market.


Want to discover the full potential of the Appinio app and explore its various features, including its ease of use, customization options, and reporting capabilities?


Or access our extensive collection of reports, showcasing the outcomes of online surveys conducted through the app, to gain a deeper understanding of consumer sentiments and market trends.



Conclusion: Whether quantitative or qualitative - go for online surveys!

In determining the superiority between quantitative and qualitative research, there is no definitive answer as the choice depends on your specific objective. 


For most scenarios, a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods proves to be the best approach, tailored to uncover the desired insights. 


Whether your aim is to delve deeper into brand image, gauge brand awareness and customer satisfaction, or measure the effectiveness of an advertising campaign, modern market research offers a range of possibilities.


While traditional market research relied on direct surveys conducted via phone, email, or face-to-face interviews, contemporary research has embraced the power of online surveys. 


In conclusion, the field of market research has embraced the shift towards online surveys, leveraging the versatility and reach of smartphone apps. 


By adopting a hybrid approach that combines quantitative and qualitative methods, businesses can unlock a wealth of insights that enable them to stay at the forefront of their respective industries.


Why choose Appinio as your sparring partner in market research

Appinio, in particular, has embraced the online survey methodology through a smartphone app. This approach offers numerous advantages, including faster survey implementation compared to conventional methods. Moreover, an app aligns seamlessly with the digital zeitgeist and the evolving user behavior, surpassing the reach and engagement of website-based or email surveys, as well as traditional telephone surveys.


By leveraging online surveys through a smartphone app, businesses can tap into the immense potential of modern market research. This approach offers a seamless user experience, increased respondent engagement, and accelerated data collection. 


Appinio's platform, combining the convenience of digital surveys with the inherent appeal of an opinion-sharing platform, provides a unique and effective means of capturing valuable insights that shape strategic decisions and drive business growth.


With Appinio's app-based approach, market researchers gain access to a dynamic and engaging platform that captures the pulse of the digital era, facilitating the discovery of fascinating trends and enlightening perspectives.

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