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As you launch a product or service you might find yourself needing to study a certain technology, research a market or understand an industry more in-depth.
It is important to know how to conduct research so that you can conduct it and be confident in your results and their analysis.
This article aims at developing the different types of research that exist, why they are important and how you can put them in place.
Research methods are processes, strategies, or techniques that can be put in place to collect data for analysis in order to find a new information and understand a particular topic better.
As it stands today, we can define 3 types of research:
The aim is to gather data about past experiences, emotions, and behaviors as well as the meaning each individual attaches to these ideas. This type of research can help you gain a better understanding of complex notions like cultural effects and social interactions. It is often used to determine how or why things have occurred, how they are described, and how events are interpreted.
As a business owner, this type of research can help you understand how your product makes people feel. Understanding the emotions of your consumers can help you tailor their experience and make sure they remember what you offered them.
The aim of this type of research is now to gather numerical data to rank, measure, and categorize it. This leads to statistical analysis which helps you uncover patterns and relationships in your data. This type of research is the one we often think about the first and tries to answer quantities, prices, and periodicity.
As a business owner, this type of research will help you figure out your target audience, what features your product should have, its price, and the overall design.
Using this type of research you will integrate aspects of both previous methods, the aim is to provide multiple sources of information to analyze with deeper insights as the data comes from two or more sources.
As a business owner, this type of approach will give you even more confidence in your results and in your research as you can contextualize what the numbers mean.
Why should you learn research ? Simply put, today, all decisions regarding investigations, diagnosis, and actions taken rely on insights. These insights rely on a deep understanding of the industry you work in, research provides a carefully crafted way of understanding the dynamics at play in your industry.
It can be useful to determine what your target audience is, what features you should add. What your users are willing to spend on your product and what the overall industry looks like. Is it a large monopoly you’re trying to conquer ?
All this information gathered through research directly affects your different strategies. Understanding how to do research, and how to analyze the numbers gives you an edge in all aspects of your business, marketing, funding, and communication.
Let’s first take a look at Qualitative Methods.
Select a group of people to discuss a particular topic. You will be the moderator, your goal is to guide the conversation and ask certain questions. Make sure everyone has the time to speak and take notes and everyone’s thoughts, perspectives, and opinions about potential issues.
This type of research is beneficial as it requires one meeting to get various type of answers, as participants have the opportunity to speak openly, there is less research bias. Participant interaction can also be measured.
However, participants may feel uncomfortable speaking in front of an audience, participants may also affect each other’s responses. It might be harder to extract an individual thought out of discussion as all ideas start mixing together.
This is the most common type of interview where researchers aim to get specific information that they can compare amongst a group of individuals. As the interviewer, you have to keep each response flexible, this means preparing follow up questions.
Let’s look over some quantitative Methods.
The aim is to conduct a standardized questionnaire to acquire information on several topics. Each question must be simple and brief. You have to eliminate any possible bias using simple and precise vocabulary to get your ideas across. If you’re using a closed-ended question, try and think of every possible answer to that question. Keep it short and anonymous, or at least confidential.
This type of questionnaire is great as it can easily be analyzed and distributed to large groups.
On the contrary, you’ll have a hard time finding people willing to answer your questionnaires truthfully. Another problematic point is the fact that your questions are closed-ended. Participants might not find a suitable answer among your propositions.
Mixed Methods combine both methods and focus on questionnaires.
This method relies on a mixture of questions, the aim is to allow participants to further detail their answers if they don’t find a legitimate answer in your proposals. It can also help you ask more complex questions like how they feel about your product.
This method has similar pros and cons as the previous questionnaire but this time, the open-ended questions can’t be automatically resolved. This will require more of your time but at the same time allow you to access a deaper description and a more truthful description.
As you try and research a certain topic, you’ll find that you have several ways of reaching a particular information. The methods you use entirely depend on the resources you have, how much time and money are you willing to invest in it ?