Qualitative research is growing in importance as marketing professionals recognize its vital role in providing depth of understanding about customers and their behaviour. Twenty-first century business environment characteristics are rapidly changing global market place and the need for effective, accurate information and timely decision making. In today's business market is so much competitive to take decisions in an uncertain environment that is influenced by many factors.
Qualitative research means any type of research that produces findings not arrived at by statistical procedures or there means of quantification. It can refer to research about person's lives, lived experiences, behaviours, emotions, and feeling as well as about organizational functioning, social movements, cultural phenomena and interaction between nations (Anselm strauss & Juliet corbin, 1998)
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In focus group method the researcher brings small number of subject together and tries to discuss interested topics. The size of the group is deliberately small, so that the members can express their opinion freely. Usually the discussion is frequently recorded for the sake of transmitted and for analyzing the data e.g. explored the policy and practice implications of caregiver's experiences of powerfulness and powerlessness. She used group workshops to generate data brainstorming techniques were used to explore the ideal care giving situation (Rutman, 1996)
In direct observation technique data can be collected by external observer refer to as non participant observer for analysis, or data can be collected by participant observer who can be a member of staff undertaking usual duties while observing the process. In today's business Sainsbury's, McDonalds, Tesco using this technique in the form mystery shopper externally to observe the quality of customer service in their organization.
In-depth interview method has same principle as of focus group, but subjects are interviewed individually and face to face. In interviews questions involve are predetermined according to their case in qualitative survey. In this technique researcher may be able to get detailed information for each subject but loses the richness that can arise in a group in which people debate and exchange views. Now a days telephonic surveys and conference calls are the best use of this technique to get instant data in today's business.
Further methods in qualitative research studies are Diary method, researcher or subject keep a personal account of daily events feelings and discussions. In Role play and simulation, participants may be asked to play a role or observe role play after which they are asked to rate behaviour and report feelings. Case study is in-depth study of just one person, group or event. This technique is simply a description of individuals.
Conclusion based on studies state that, Qualitative research aims to provide management with information that can serve as a basis for sound decision making.