Have you considered a career in Qualitative Research?

Market research is broadly split into Qualitative and Quantitative research. This article focuses on the skills of a qualitative researcher as they relate to business marketing and the commercial sector.  In business, qualitative research is important because it generates data that can provide in-depth insight into a question or topic.
Qualitative Research

There is a lot to consider regarding you academics when looking for market research jobs, you will find it isn’t a subject that is covered in great detail in many degree fields. You will, however, be exposed to qualitative techniques in marketing, psychology, business studies and sociology. Additionally, in many degree fields you will learn about the basics of research which you may use while composing a thesis or dissertation. These are useful skills to have when embarking upon such a career.

“What character traits should I as a ‘career Qualitative Researcher’ possess”, you may ask. Well, you could be defined as having a qualitative personality. Some of the key traits are curiosity, empathy, a high level of emotional intelligence, keen listening skills and, of course, an analytical mind.

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As a qualitative researcher, you will typically be preparing stimulus material for focus groups, moderating and/or observing focus groups and analyzing the content of those groups to provide market research insights to your clients.  You may accompany consumers to the supermarket or observe behavior in homes. Everything you do will be to enhance the understanding of what the consumer needs so that your client will be able to make the best decisions on how to develop, name, package, price and communicate their brand. It’s not just commercial; qualitative research is employed in all aspects of social and public sector research. The government uses qualitative research to assess and form policies and to establish the success of initiatives.

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With the development of technology, the techniques and skills of the qualitative researcher are evolving, so you may also be involved in the moderation of online market research communities, running bulletin boards and managing online forums. Technology has also enhanced the quality of the research output; you may choose to video your fieldwork and produce a film to illustrate your research. This is a far cry from the traditional report or PowerPoint presentation, but it’s impactful and allows the client to better visualize how their brand is responding. The impact of technology has allowed qualitative market research to be more immediately responsive and ultimately produce a quicker set of results. The advantage of this is that you can usually carry out fieldwork from your office or your home and you have more time to analyze the information and respond to your clients’ requests.

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Qualitative market researchers tend to be employed in market research agencies, advertising agencies, marketing and design consultancies and in-house insight departments. People who start their career in qualitative research can go on to work at a very high level in marketing strategy, either within a market research agency or in a specialist consultancy where they are focused on a specialist area. As a qualitative researcher, you are likely to get an entry-level position as a Research Executive and will be able to build your career up to Senior Director or Managing Director for a Market Research agency. This is a fascinating career choice and one which is highly recommended.

About the author: Nicholas Moores is a professional business & technology writer for Hasson Associates – market research jobs recruitment agency

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