How Do Insight Platforms Use Qualitative Research?

What’s Qualitative Research?

The qualitative method uses first-hand consumer data. It focuses on collecting non-numerical data. This type of information can offer insights into consumer behaviour. For example, it can explain how consumers interact with brands, products and their peers when purchasing. Qualitative research is a standard business practice; its origins are in the social sciences. This method aims to build a premise for an idea or hypothesis. Or to disprove one.

For instance, we may have consumers who always respond to our posts on sustainable clothing but not on eco-friendly ideas. This is because the topics are conceptually similar. However, we can understand why customers are drawn to one term over the other using research insights.

While a quantitative, numerical analysis can show us what is happening in our marketing, it often doesn’t tell us why. While some might dismiss the why as unimportant, understanding our consumers can support a long-term relationship with them.

So, today, we’ll examine how insight platforms carry out qualitative research. So, you can learn about how this methodology can benefit your business.

Qualitative Research Methods for Marketing

Many companies use qualitative research methods, but there can be huge variations between their strategies. When deciding which method to use, you should consider:

  • Budget – This will be the cost of hiring researchers, incentives for participation or the cost of hiring an insight platform.
  • Ethics – In the UK and internationally, consumers are protected against data misuse. The primary laws are The GDPR and the Data Protection Act. Both regulations are designed to ensure research participants give consent before offering data. Moreover, the data collected isn’t sold or bartered to other third parties without their permission, and their personal information is protected.

With these points in mind, let’s move on to collection methods.


These are sessions where a researcher talks with participants individually to learn about their beliefs, opinions and views. They can be conducted in three ways:


These are informal interviews. They have no particular questions but rely on the participants to direct the conversation.  It is a good strategy for eliciting responses the participants might not have otherwise given. However, it can also mean they go far from the researcher’s intended topic. It also makes it challenging to compare answers between participants.


With this type of interview, the interviewer has some questions beforehand but is open to the participants guiding the conversation. It gives a basis for comparison by asking all participants the same questions. However, tangents or divergences in the conversation can be challenging to analyse.


A structured interview has set questions the researcher wants answers to. The interviewer controls the conversation and guides participants from irrelevant topics. It allows all responses to be compared accurately. However, the rigidity of the structure can mean important information is missed. The participants may also withhold relevant information because of the constraints of the questions asked.

Focus Groups

A focus group targets a specific consumer demographic. The participants are brought together in a small group to elicit responses to particular topics. Focus groups require a moderator, usually the researcher, who guides the conversation or activities. It’s a way to save time and money interviewing individual respondents.

The problem with this method is that groups can often overshadow individual opinions. In addition, the moderator’s own bias can also affect the discussion and outcomes.

Participant Observation

Participant observation is where a researcher partakes in consumers’ everyday comings and goings. They observe their attitudes and actions to get an insight into how people behave. It gives the researcher an advantage as opposed to interviewing. For example, people often say things in conversation but act differently in real-life situations.

For instance, a consumer may claim to always buy sustainably but shop for non-sustainable products. It provides the research with rich qualitative data and flexibility for carrying out research. However, logistically this method is often hard to coordinate. Not many people want to invite businesses into their everyday lives. There is also a risk of researcher bias affecting what is observed or how they interpret these observations.

Questionnaires and Surveys

Lastly, questionnaires or surveys are a series of questions to participants either in person or via letter, email, etc. They can pose questions about specific products or services and obtain demographic data on participants. It’s perhaps the most cost-effective qualitative research method. It takes little time or supervision. It can go out to many consumers simultaneously, and the answers can be easily analysed.

The disadvantage of these methods is often participants are reluctant to take part. They can give inaccurate answers. Moreover, questionnaires can’t capture the nuances or feelings of participants. And some people may answer with their own personal agenda.

Using an Insight Platform for Qualitative Research

With all these methods, there are pros and cons. While marketers can orchestrate their own qualitative research, they may not know the best approach to the task. Or the most effective strategy to employ.


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