Posts Tagged ‘Market Research’
Suppose you have the task of adding up long list of numbers – perhaps your daily expenditures over a month. You do your sum and get a particular result. But you’re not sure whether you got it right. You may have made a mistake in adding or punching in the numbers if you were using a calculator. What do you do? You do the sum again. And if you’re a cautious accountant you might even do it a third time. If you get the same result everytime you feel you have got it right.
Lesson: When in doubt, repeat. Repeatability of the result generates confidence in it. Repeatability is reliability.
Actually, our example of adding up a list of numbers is not a good one. Because, in this case there is only one true answer, and we shall get it everytime we do our sum correctly. But, the real life situations that we are interested in are the results that we get from measuring a sample of people from some universe. Again, we are not sure if the results are true. So, in line with our commonsense philosophy, we should be repeating the sampling exercise. If we did, it is highly unlikely that we would get exactly the same result, because different people would be included this time. In fact, if we repeated the sampling exercise many times and measured the same thing on different samples of people, we would find that most of the results fall within a range.
We would be entitled to come to a conclusion that, most probably, the truth that we are trying to estimate must lie somewhere in that range. If we had a method of being more precise and if we could say, for example, that after repeating the sampling exercise many times, 95 percent of the results would fall within a certain range, then there would be a 95 percent chance that the truth would lie in that range.
The width of this range is a measure of the precision of our estimate - narrower the range, higher the precision. Our objective is to narrow this range as much as possible, because that would bring us closer to the elusive truth. Precision replaces the concept of accuracy. We will never be able to say how accurate is our estimate of the truth, but we can say how precise it is.
But how do we get a fix on this range? Taking just one sample in real life is problematic and costly enough. Repeating the exercise many times may be conceptually brilliant, but completely undoable in practice.
Actually, you don’t have to repeat the sampling exercise. This is where the science of inferential statistics comes in. By analysing the data in one sample that you have taken, specifically the variation contained in it, and by making some assumptions about the pattern of variation in the total universe, it can calculate the 95 percent or 99 percent or any other precision range that would actually come to pass if you did take the repeated samples. The whole purpose of inferential statistics is to save you the trouble of actually repeating the sampling exercise by inferring what would happen if you did.
It sounds like magic, but it is only logic. This logic completely depends on a crucial aspect of reality, namely the ‘Laws of Chance’, more commonly known as ‘Probability’
The Book: Qualitative Market Research by Wendy Gordon and Roy Langmaid
About the Authors:
Wendy Gordon and Roy Langmaid run successful qualitative research practices in London. Roy Langmaid is one of Europe’s leading consumer psychologists and Wendy Gordon is the co-founder of brand consultancy The Fourth Room. One of the authors has a psychology degree, and the other a social anthropology degree; both of them have experienced clinical psychology first hand and are one of the most celebrated authors in the field of Qualitative Research.
It is the authors’ commitment to accumulate the knowledge of forty years of their experience that created this book. I congratulate the authors for taking on such a challenging task of writing a comprehensive book on Qualitative Research.
This is the first book to bring all the practices and principles of the sister discipline of market research – Qualitative Research. The book starts with the introduction to qualitative research and the contribution to the growth of Qualitative Research. The authors state that the days of endless debates about the superiority of quantitative and qualitative research are over. Both the methods have their strengths and weaknesses and are friends and not enemies. The authors go on to describe the problem areas suited to Qualitative Research such as consumer perceptions, understanding the dimensions of brands, new product development, creative development and diagnostic studies. Furthermore, the authors describe the choice of research methodology and the process of research brief and research objective.
Starting from Chapter Three is the group processes and group dynamics. This is about what factors influence what people say and how they behave in groups. This chapter discusses the components of group discussion, how group discussion is used in research, and the Do’s and don’ts for the interviewer. This describes the several stages of a group process like Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Mourning. There have been some very good ideas and techniques like anchoring on how to do better group interviewing.
Starting from Chapter Six is my favourite part of the book: the individual depth interview, non-verbal communication (NVC) and projective techniques. The book describes the skills required for good depth-interviewing and the internal and external parameters of body language. It describes the application and usage of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), study of eye and head movements and body postures during the interview. It provides a complete coverage of major projective and enabling techniques and this is the best part of the book. It covers all the different association procedures, completion procedures, construction and expressive procedures used in NVC. The usage of psycho drawing, thought bubbles, brand mapping, sentence completion, word association, mirroring and other techniques are explained in detail with examples.
The book flows into the interpretation and presentation of qualitative research. Various techniques of interpretation are explained given the fact that people often ‘don’t say what they mean’ and ‘don’t mean what they say’. Also, there has been special focus on how to conduct research with children and the techniques used in such research. The book concludes with the various hybrid methodologies and statistical procedures used for the analysis of qualitative research.
This book really helped me to get a holistic picture of qualitative research. It helped me interrogate and digest the various techniques involved in qualitative research. I just loved some of the psycho drawings and associations presented in this book. It made me ask some interesting questions of how music can be used in qualitative research and consumer behaviour.
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to have a good understanding of all the techniques of qualitative research that are making qualitative research influential. The book doesn’t have much of technical jargon and is a very simple and beautiful read for anybody slightly interested in market research and any form of behavioural sciences.
Thank you. It has been pleasure writing this review.
© Sai Krishna Balivada 2010
Japan is the mecca of electronic products. Experts say, people don’t buy products based on their income but on their taste. This variation in taste leads to a huge variety of products in the market, brutal competition, and lots of experimentation. Tokyo is a vast market for new commercial ideas. Tokyo’s great diversity, size, and transportation systems make it one of the ideal markets for experimentation. These markets are called Test Markets or Antenna Districts.
Antenna Districts are places where companies test their new product ideas and fashion trends. Simply, these are the places which see any product first, and they see many products which the world doesn’t see. For example, Sieko Corporation develops more than 2,500 watch designs annually and introduces them in one such antenna district called Akihabara in Tokyo. Sony, the ikon of Japan, also tests more than 2000 products in this district alone. In fact, some experts say that the reason for Japan’s success in electronics is because of Akihabara. Sony PlayStation has been tested at Akihabara and on success in the test market, it has been launched against the traditional market research insights. Some of the world’s best companies send their products to Akihabara to see if they will succeed in such fierce competition and it is one of the best places to understand the consumer behaviour.