What Is Quantitative Research?

The term quantitative research covers a range of techniques that can be used to quantify - with some statistical confidence - categories, evaluations, opinions and attitudes that potential or current customers bring to any market.

Quantitative research usually involves administering a pre-scripted questionnaire to hundreds or thousands of people. The goal is to produce projectable information to guide marketers in decisions such as when to go to market, the appeal of a new product, or how to best communicate a brand identityBasic questions often take the form of:

‘Into which of these categories do you fit?’

From which you can derive percentages of people in each category

‘How many do you buy?’

From which you can generate mean scores or group people into volume bands

‘Give a score from 1-10 to indicate how satisfied you are’

Generate mean scores that can be related to other scores the respondent has given or be compared with other groups of respondents.

Because respondents often rate everything between a seven and eight out of ten in importance, more sophisticated quantitative techniques use trade-off questioning. In trade off questioning, a respondent has to sacrifice one benefit in order to secure another to which they attach greater importance.

Quantitative research is one of the two main branches of marketing research. Its counterpart, qualitative research, focuses on a relatively small number of people and uses loosely structured questioning directions. The goal of qualitative research is to answer the "why?" questions behind consumer activity.
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