Qualitative User Research involves communicating directly with customers in exploratory and open-ended ways, with the goal of learning about their problems, needs, and lives. This is in contrast with quantitative approaches (closed-end Surveys, application data, A/B tests), which are often better-suited for validating existing hypotheses, rather than discovering new ones.
Qualitative Research is part of our Design Career Leveling Framework. Explore next steps in your career from this industry-standard model.
Why to Use Qualitative ResearchQualitative research is valuable for exploring complex social phenomena and understanding the perspectives of individuals. It allows researchers to gather rich, descriptive data that can uncover nuances and provide insights into diverse experiences. Qualitative research can also be used to generate hypotheses and inform the development of quantitative studies.
- Why PMs Need Qualitative ResearchJens-Fabian provides 6 reasons why qualitative research needs to be a core workflow for PMs: 1. To get to the “why” 2. To generate hypotheses to test 3. To validate features you can’t A/B test 4. To open up new opportunities 5. To get answers faster 6. To keep your feet on the ground
How to Use Qualitative ResearchTo conduct qualitative research, researchers should begin by identifying their research question and selecting appropriate methods for data collection, such as interviews, focus groups, or observation. They should also consider issues of sampling, data analysis, and ethical considerations. Researchers must be reflexive and transparent in their approach, acknowledging their biases and assumptions, and documenting their process. Collaboration with participants and other stakeholders can enhance the rigor and relevance of qualitative research.
- Why Qualitative Market Research Belongs in Your Startup Toolkit — and How to Wield it EffectivelyThis is a comprehensive to all aspects of research, from why to do it, what it is, and how to do it. Jesse covers: • What it is: Quant vs. qual • What it’s not: Qual myths, busted • How it can help: The knowledge gaps that qual can fill • The many flavors of qualitative research: focus groups, in-person 1:1 interviews, ethnographic studies, phone or live interviews, online asynchronous discussion board, • How to ramp up qualitative market research for success • Power up your research: craft questions with care, Empathy is a moderator’s secret weapon, always be willing to suspend the agenda, triangulate the truth, sleuth for the patterns, garner Alignment from the get-go — and sustain it after the research ends