Quantitative research is a data analysis method used by professionals to examine the behavior or opinions of consumers, for example, or by researchers and students, as part of a thesis or research work.
In the following article, we first offer you a general presentation of quantitative research, then we will focus our attention on its application in the field of business and see what techniques are used and what steps are necessary. Creating and carrying out a quantitative study with remembering the analysis of the results.
Definition of Quantitative Study
Quantitative research is a data collection technique that allows a researcher, a student, a company, or any person to analyze opinions, behaviors, or expectations.
The objective of a quantitative study is most often to draw statistically measurable conclusions from a large set of respondents, unlike qualitative research, which we will discuss later.
In a university research work, for example, the quantitative study is part of the processes which make it possible to prove or demonstrate facts by quantifying a phenomenon.
The quantitative study is helpful in many fields of applications and activities: analysis, sciences, business, marketing, company, etc.
Within the company’s framework, this type of study will allow an entrepreneur to collect data on the consumption habits of his potential customers, particularly within the framework of a market study.
A quantitative study is one of the essential stages of market research and represents a quick and inexpensive way to understand your market better.
Remember here that market research consists of analyzing, understanding, and measuring the actual functioning of the forces at work in the context of a market, to improve your product or service, gain market share, seize a business opportunity, know your chances of success or to reduce risks and uncertainties.
In a quantitative study, the results take the form of statistical data, most of the time presented clearly and synthetically via graphs and tables.
Quantitative research makes it possible to test theories or hypotheses better. Within the company’s framework, it allows you to evaluate, for example, the feedback and impressions of a set of people on a new product offer or service and to analyze the public’s reactions.
Before going any further, let’s take a few minutes to understand what differentiates quantitative research from qualitative research because these two terms are often confused.
Quantitative study vs. qualitative study
These two types of studies are, in fact, complementary, and a qualitative study often precedes quantitative research.
Quantitative market research helps answer the question, “who?” “where? “How? ‘Or’ What ? » and gives precise and quantified representations of phenomena, tendencies, etc., whereas a qualitative market study serves above all to analyze the behavior of consumers and customers by answering mainly the question « why? “.
When these two studies are carried out successively, they complement each other and provide an overall analysis of the market and the customers a company wishes to target.
Thus, the purpose of the qualitative study is to enrich the results collected beforehand with the quantitative market study by providing more precise details and references.
Which techniques for the quantitative study?
One of the most important aspects of undertaking a valid quantitative study is selecting a representative sample of the population you wish to study.
It is this representativeness that will give value and relevance to your results.
Two main tools allow companies to conduct a quantitative study: the questionnaire, which contains several questions, and the survey, which generally asks a single question.
It is up to you to see which type of tool is the most relevant to obtain information about your research topic.
Whether you opt for a survey or a questionnaire, the questions are generally closed and take the form of simple answers (yes/no) and multiple choices (MCQ).
In fact, it is inadvisable to propose open-ended questions in a quantitative survey.
These questions generate diverse responses that will take more work to process, not to mention time and budget-consuming.
The advantage of closed questions, whose answers are either “yes” or “no,” is that they can be answered without difficulty. It is, therefore, a practice to be favored for your quantitative studies.
On the other hand, you can propose possibilities of numerical answers. For example, in the context of a new product launch, you can get an idea of what your customers are willing to pay by offering several price ranges.
Let’s now see in detail the main characteristics of the two primary tools available to you to carry out a quantitative study, that is to say, the survey and the questionnaire:
The survey allows you to get a specific answer to a given question.
The question you choose should be asked of a representative sample of individuals. This means that the respondents must represent the population, consumers, or prospects you are interested in.
The survey results will allow you to collect statistical data whose analysis will lead to valuable conclusions.
The question sheet
The questionnaire will allow you to ask several questions and obtain answers on specific topics.
There are QC (single choice) and MCQs (multiple choice).
It is a valuable tool for studying the opinion of a sample of individuals, which only allows for knowing the substance of their thoughts.
The questions proposed in a questionnaire are generally short and closed.
Finally, let us recall the importance of sampling.
Before starting your quantitative study, the interviewees must provide you with personal information, for example, their sex, age, family situation, professional, etc., to ensure the sample’s excellent representativeness.
It is, for example, interesting to know that in France, you must have 51% of women and 49% of men to obtain a good representation.
The representativeness of your sample naturally stems from the objectives inherent in implementing your quantitative study.
The different steps to follow to conduct your quantitative study
Here is, step by step, how to carry out a qualitative study:
1- Determine your problem
The first thing to consider before setting up your quantitative study is the problem, that is, a question or a set of questions you want to answer.
These questions will, for example, be related to a new product, service, or new technology that you are about to launch, and you will want to know, for example, the opinion of your customers and the public, the budget they are ready to invest. , etc.
It is all of these questions that constitute the problem of your quantitative study.
2- Choose the means that will allow you to collect the data
As we said above, surveys and questionnaires generally allow you to retrieve information and data from your sample.
A survey is valuable for knowing a trend or opinion at a specific time. Therefore, its results have limited validity since opinions and trends vary quickly from month to month.
The questionnaire is an effective method, easy to set up, and gives the possibility of identifying trends and projecting yourself, either on your offer or on certain aspects of your production, marketing strategy, etc.
The good idea is to combine the questionnaire and the survey to obtain an overall point of view and more detailed information to anticipate the evolutions of your target market better.
3- Determine your sample
Delimiting and determining your sample is one of the crucial steps in carrying out your quantitative study.
For example, it will not be relevant to seek the opinion of an audience segment with no interest in acquiring your product or service, except when you want to survey a different audience to reach a new piece.
Sampling coincides when you choose a particular method to collect data, such as a survey or questionnaire.
This approach will help you identify and determine the type of individual likely to provide relevant answers to your survey.
To create your sample, you must define the demographic criteria discussed above (sex, age, socio-professional category, place of residence, etc.)
It is also possible to segment your sample if the problem of your quantitative study concerns several distinct audiences.
You must then write as many different questionnaires as there are segments.
Many companies choose to test their questionnaire on a limited population before submitting it to a larger group, which gives, among other things, the opportunity to check the feasibility of your survey and allows you to correct or add questions if any.
A first test also gives a precise idea of how you can process your data and an exciting overview of what you are entitled to expect from the quantitative study you will conduct.
4- Carry out the survey
Several choices are available for submitting your questionnaire and conducting your survey.
Of course, you won’t need to meet the people who will take the survey in person.
Just remember to set a deadline and response conditions.
Here are the main channels you can use to conduct your survey:
Submitting your questionnaire via the internet, on your website, or on one of your social media accounts remains a cost-effective and efficient means of achieving your objectives.
In addition, this channel is flexible and allows you to modify, for example, specific questions in your study based on the feedback and answers obtained.
Telephone, postal mail, email
Sending your questionnaire by post, email, or making it via a phone call are other solutions to consider for distributing your survey.
The disadvantage of this type of method is that it generally has a low return rate. So remember to offer a consideration (discount, coupon, etc.) to ensure the success of your study.
The individual interview presents many guarantees, particularly in the seriousness of the answers and the reliability of the results.
But submitting the questionnaire face to face also reveals many disadvantages: it is a method with a high cost. It can be challenging to implement in terms of time and organization.
Call a specialized agency.
It can also be interesting to call on professionals if you have the budget for it and ask a marketing agency to conduct a quantitative study of your market research.
Their expertise in all aspects of market research can be invaluable and worthwhile.
Finally, it is possible to split your survey into several parts and use several channels: internet, door-to-door, interview, etc.
5- Analyze the results
You can easily be overwhelmed by the results at the end of your quantitative study.
It is, therefore, necessary to start by putting them in order in a clear way before analyzing them.
There are two main methods for analyzing data obtained during your quantitative study:
It is an effective and straightforward way to analyze data collected via a questionnaire.
Its principle consists of sorting and grouping people who have chosen an answer to such a question.
For example: “200 people selected answer 2 to question number 3”.
Then, it is better to present your data as a percentage to see more clearly and identify trends.
Cross sorting is a finer method of analysis that makes it possible to highlight the relationship between two or more questions and, therefore, to obtain relevant and more subtle information, which will necessarily be of interest to companies.
This is, however, a sorting that is difficult to perform.
Several choices are available to you to sort your data: graphs and tables, mainly.
At the end of your quantitative study, it is time to draw up a report which must provide answers to the initial problem because such an approach aims to prove that the results collected have made it possible to respond to a given situation. , and then make informed strategic decisions.