Qualitative (QL) research
Qualitative research provides a story which allows us to understand themes and contexts. Exploration of such issues is vital when you need to get the right answers, not just any answer. This is why ASR consultants are also experienced qualitative researchers, with experience in facilitating focus groups, conducting in-depth interviews and citizen forums. This takes the guesswork out of understanding what is important or relevant to your clients and stakeholders. At ASR we may utilise qualitative research extensively, as in stakeholder research, or as input to the development of a quantitative survey.
QL research aims to get a better understanding through first-hand experience, truthful reporting, and quotations of actual conversations. It aims to understand how the participants derive meaning from their surroundings, and how their meaning influences their behaviour.
The most common method is the QL research interview, but other forms of data collection can include group discussions, observation and reflection field notes using various texts, pictures and other materials.
Focus groups provide a setting in which people are able to discuss issues openly and be frank in their opinions. The facilitator’s task is to guide discussion without imposing an overt paradigm or opinion. Conducted with 7-10 participants, group discussions allow participants to introduce ideas that they consider important. Participants are free to explore issues without judgement and offer explanations about what motivates their behaviour. Most importantly, participants are not restricted by a set questionnaire.
Focus groups typically last from 1-2 hours. They are suitable for participants that can attend easily, usually the general public. They are less suitable for highly sensitive or personal subject matters, or for time-poor professionals and business people (unless you are prepared to provide substantial incentives).
Face-to-face (depth) interviews
Depth interviews are useful to gain deep insight into participants’ issues and experiences. This is particularly useful in cases dealing with confidential or sensitive topics. The nature of the feedback is usually more detailed than that of focus groups.
Depth interviews are generally 45 minutes to 1 hour in duration. They offer confidentiality and they are sometimes more convenient in circumstances when focus groups are impractical to organise; especially when dealing with professionals and other time-poor individuals.
These are usually expensive as they are conducted by our consultants and involve travel and take more time than focus groups.
Consultant telephone interviews
We use our senior consultants and consultants to conduct these interviews. They are an effective but cheaper option than face-to-face interviews and sometimes work well in place of focus groups.