Market research is an essential component of an organization's marketing strategy. The results of market research provide information about customers, products, trends and competitors.
Market research can be defined as, “A business activity that discovers information of use in making marketing decisions.” (Mktg textbook, p. ) The results of market research influence decisions regarding; market segmentation, sales performance, product features, distribution options, promotional and pricing strategies and consumer attitudes and behaviour. (Met textbook). Thus, due to their significance and potential value, market research results are of the utmost importance to organizations. They must therefore be valid, accurate and un-biased. Without these constraints, market research can be worthless at best, and potentially detrimental to the existing or future marketing strategies of an organization.
The field of market research is cited to have begun in 1911, when Charles Parlin undertook consumer research on agricultural equipment, department stores and automobile demand. His work, "Made commercial fact finding a profession." (Book-Bartels)
Originally, market research was studied and taught at business schools, however, these schools were, “Viewed as second class citizens of the academic establishment.” (William Muse, commenting on Walls.) Eventually, market research gained credibility by using a highly scientific approach, which was deemed legitimate by other academics. This market research was essentially quantitative in nature. (Muse)
Researchers eventually became dissatisfied with the limitations of quantitative research and thus required more in-depth methods of ascertaining how consumers think and feel. Market research that provides results on "how"and "why" individuals make decisions is often only elicited through qualitative research.
Definition of Qualitative and Quantitative Market Research
Accordingly, market research came to be divided into these two major types; quantitative research and qualitative research. Only use if previous into paragraphs re business school is left of retype into statement.
Quantitative research is generally affiliated with objectivity, control, exactness and precision whereas; quantitative research methods are more relevant for deduction and statistical analysis by providing a high level of technical and methodological accuracy. (Deshpande). As noted by Calder, “Quantitative research commonly is associated, at least implicitly with the realm of science.” (calder)
Qualitative research is broadly defined by Strauss and Corbin as, “Any kind of research that produces findings not arrived at by means of statistical procedures or other means of quantification.” (strauss and Corbin, 1990, p. 17).
Calder acknowledges that “qualitative research is defined by the absence of numerical measurement and statistical analysis.”(Calder p) However, he believes that this definition may be...