Market research is a rapidly changing field, as social media platforms and other emerging technologies allow large volumes of data to be gathered in less time and effort. However, while big data has transformed how academics throughout the world collect and evaluate data, it hasn’t changed the way studies are designed. The three main types of market research are outlined below. Keep in mind that a good research approach will likely include elements from all of them!
Exploratory research methods are used by businesses to gather facts and views on a specific topic. Exploratory research aims to emphasize the most important aspects of a situation, allowing researchers to better comprehend an issue or concern (i.e., gain insight). It rarely gives enough evidence to make any convincing market conclusions, but it does serve as a basis for organizations to begin developing stronger research objectives for future studies. Exploratory research frequently uses qualitative methods such as consumer and expert interviews, focus groups, and secondary research materials such as books, syndicated reports, and trade journals or magazines.
Descriptive research aims to accurately characterize a situation so that businesses may make informed decisions and track progress. It is quantitative in nature, collecting information in a standardized manner with closed-ended questions that can be statistically measured and analyzed. Surveys, questionnaires, and some types of experiments are all descriptive research approaches that can give the information needed to draw conclusions, take action, and/or track changing attitudes and behaviors over time. Researchers might utilize descriptive research techniques to acquire demographic information about consumers, assess a product’s market potential, or track the thoughts and actions of a target population. They can draw conclusions and/or make correlations about the market as a whole using the data they’ve gathered.
Companies employ causal research methods to demonstrate a cause-and-effect relationship between two or more variables. Causal research, like descriptive research, is quantifiable. Causative research methods, on the other hand, use trials to forecast and test theories about a company’s products and marketing efforts, rather than simply reporting on a circumstance. Researchers modify factors in the hopes of achieving a specific impact. For example, a company might conduct an experiment to test what would happen to sales if the packaging of their product or their ads were changed in some way. Although causal research can be useful, taking action based on its findings should be balanced by findings from other types of research, as it is difficult to isolate and prove the potential of any single variable to produce any given effect.
At Ambivista, our team understands how to create market research surveys that produce reliable and actionable results. Contact us to find out how we can assist your company in obtaining the information it requires to make informed decisions, thereby increasing everything from ROI to consumer and employee satisfaction.