What Are the Basic Types of Marketing Research?

What Are the Basic Types of Marketing Research?

Primary and Secondary Research

This is the most fundamental division of research practices. Primary research refers to original or custom research – gathering information from original sources. It is usually proprietary to a client and not made available to the marketplace. This type of research is our forte at J Arnold & Associates.

Secondary research involves the compiling of information from existing or published sources. These sources can be internal or external. Internal would be your customer databases, historical files, etc. External would involve searches for published information. Typical sources include newspapers, trade publications, associations, industry reports, and of course, the Internet.

Qualitative and Quantitative Research

Primary research is basically divided into these two categories. In essence, qualitative research addresses emotional issues, while quantitative is based more on reason or logic.

Qualitative research methods strive to understand how people feel or to tap their creative juices. Quantitative techniques are applied to generate meaningful metrics that clearly define the magnitude of a response. For example, qualitative research would uncover how people feel about an issue, whereas quantitative research would measure how strongly they feel about it.

When planning a study or defining its objectives, the consultant must first determine which approach is best suited – qualitative or quantitative. Sometimes only one will suffice, and other times, both are needed. Once determined, the most appropriate methodology needs to be chosen. The most commonly used methods are summarized below.


Qualitative Methods Quantitative Methods
Focus groups (ideal size 4-6 people) Telephone interviews
Mini groups (fewer people or shorter duration) Self administered mail surveys
One-on-one in-depth personal interviews Online sources – via email or websites
Paired in-depth interviews Electronic surveys – compliled on diskette
Advisory panels Real time moment-to-moment
(primarily for media research)


 Also Read:

Top 10 Myths about Marketing Research

What is Marketing Research?

Why Do You Need Marketing Research?



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