Known as the numbers game, quantitative research involves measuring and attaching numbers to a specific market data. Using quantitative research you can measure how people feel, act or think about products and other relevant matters. Most often the data used relates to market share, size, saturation and growth rates. Quantitative research can be used to measure customer commitment, satisfaction, and other useful market data regarding marketplace trends, both positive and negative, that can be tracked over time. It also can be used to gather facts needed for strategic business planning.
Some quantitative market survey methods include online surveys, personal interviews, mail surveys, intercept studies, and phone surveys. The data from these surveys can be gathered from large or small sample groups, depending on the need. Surveys such as this are generally a rigid research tool, and all respondents are typically asked an identical set of questions and allows the respondent to select only from a group of pre-defined answers. Many companies will first conduct qualitative research to develop a concept or when looking for ideas and then later complete quantitative research to fine-tune and optimize.
Mail surveys are paper instruments sent to a target audience seeking responses. Although this method is the most convenient for the respondent who can complete it where and when they choose, they are self-administered by the recipient leaving little control over the feedback. One advantage of using surveys that are mailed is the anonymity they provide, allowing for the most honest data collection possible and removing some chance of responses to be incorrectly transcribed by the data collector. This type of survey is the least expensive way to collect data from a large target audience and provides the best opportunity for both target and random sampling.
Telephone surveys can be conducted by trained interviewers or by automated systems. Data collected using a telephone survey offers the opportunity for personal assistance. When utilizing the automated random dialing (RDD) systems, you increase the "randomness of the sample," but only people with telephones are included in the sample. Telephone surveys also allow for relatively quick data collection. The IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system provides researchers with the opportunity to branch - take respondents to questions based on previous responses - and allows for the ability to customize the survey.
Surveys may also be administered by the Internet and computer. These surveys can be more complex because of the need to use "help menus" to assist respondents throughout the survey. Visual aids or images also can be incorporated as part of the survey. One of the most positive aspects of this survey type is that it provides the lowest cost format and data collected and reported quickly. The downside of using computer/online surveys is that there may be limited or skewed sampling, as only those with access to the Internet will be able to respond-although with over 80% of the US population now having access to the Internet, the sampling error has been reduced significantly.
When using quantitative research you will gain knowledge regarding customer commitment, satisfaction and market data that will help in your business planning and marketing strategy, and will increase the likelihood that your company will prosper.