You can use a survey to find out what fraction of your customers have a certain problem or prefer a particular solution. But if you want to know why they feel that way, you need to do some qualitative research.
Qualitative research is both an art and a science. It takes planning and skill to ensure you are asking the right people and getting to the core of their answers – their true motivations.
I asked Ilana Drucker, the founder and President of Scorpio Research about how qualitative research is done, how to do it right and how to make the best use of the results.
The research can take many forms: focus groups, one-on-one interviews, in person or online. It’s all directed at uncovering a person’s POBAs: Perceptions, Opinions, Beliefs and Attitudes.
It can also take the form of an ethnography, which is a fancy way of saying, lets observe how someone works in their typical environment because the way people interact with your product might not be what you think, for example.
Because interviewing people requires a different budget than a simple online survey, Ilana explained to me the resources available to make sure you are gathering insights from a good mix of your desired audience.
What was most interesting to me was using the same process of moderation within your company to help different stakeholder groups agree on the best way to go forward with the results of your external research.