The New Qual Era


With AI and machine-learning now transforming the qualitative landscape, a new era of qual has begun. With an array of exciting research platforms now at the end of our fingertips, at HRA, we have been exploring what this means for our clients and how this has enhanced the depth of insight we are now able to generate.

There is a division is research between generating enough data to ensure robust representation of your target audience and understanding the complexity and depth of the question ‘why’. In the past, qual has battled with the pre-conception of being somewhat ‘fluffier’ than quant. The rise of digitalisation presents the opportunity to change this, with the role of qual set to increase in this digital age and acting as a driving force behind formation of client strategies.

Exciting new technological innovations, scientific advancements and new and interesting research techniques are fuelling a bright new era of qual. Just as quantitative research advanced to the 21st century, we believe the time has come that qualitative research does the same.

Video based platforms such as Living Lens and Indeemo, are transforming the qualitive landscape, enabling researchers to reach a new depth of insight. These platforms play host to the qualitative evergreens, namely, IDI’s, focus groups and online communities, as well as offering their own take on these methodologies. Opportunities to capture video feedback from surveys, mobile apps, the cloud or even Zoom have all become possible and offer clients a deeper layer of analysis, to efficiently identify and understand consumer emotions, attitudes and behaviours.

Traditionally, ethnographic research has been labour intensive and expensive. AI and machine-learning tools are now solving that problem. These video intelligence platforms have the ability to rapidly transcribe video content and centralize recordings in a single asset management platform. With the ability to push and pull data to and from the various platforms for analysis, and rapidly transcribe video content, the data analysis process is accelerated, in turn facilitating more efficient insights for clients.

These highly sophisticated video platforms bring a new layer of depth to research insights, analysing the rich data contained within videos for speech, emotion, objects, sentiment and often even tone. AI and machine-learning tools are thus empowering clients to better understand meaningful trends, attitudes and in turn advance business decisions and strategy.

With thousands of new product launches failing each year, one of the key reasons is a lack of understanding of the user and an absence of deep meaningful feedback. In supplementing product testing approaches with customer video, you get a much clearer view of initial impacts, product performance, usage, and ultimately a better understanding of the product’s likelihood of winning in the market.

Whilst previous concerns mounted over fears that big data is leaving qual being overlooked in favour of the ‘big numbers’, such video-based platforms are now levelling the playing field. As a result, we are seeing an increased interaction between qual and quant. Over time, we expect AI to drive a value shift in terms of the of value placed on quant vs qual, this means educating clients around the wide choice of qualitative research methods available. An increased interaction between qual and quant will provide a more flexible and multifaceted approach to conducting research in this increasingly complex world.

At HRA, we are passionate about integrating the latest research technology into our methodologies. Get in touch today to see how we can help.

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