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Maximising market insights: The power of qual and quant together

Qualitative vs. quantitative research: the debate you don’t need

When considering conducting market research, you might have found yourself pondering an all-too-common question: should I do qual or quant research? In fact, rather than considering the two methodologies as competing, you should consider the benefit of doing both together.

Before we go further in looking at how well they combine, it’s important to recap on how they differ. In simple terms…


  • Quantitative research focuses on numbers and statistics, giving you robust data to draw wider conclusions from
  • Qualitative research deals with words and meanings, uncovering rich insights and ideas, adding context and depth


At Vanson Bourne, we have consistently seen the effectiveness of combining both methodologies in our research projects. And don’t just take our word for it. To more effectively understand your audience, harness the power of a dual methodology for uncovering insights and validating findings.

The benefits of both

As research experts, we understand that no project is the same. We always offer a bespoke approach that will meet your research objectives, while ensuring it fits within your timelines and budgetary requirements. There are two options for a dual methodology approach:


Option 1: Quant first, qual second

Uncover the “what” – through quantitative research, you will uncover “what” the current state of play is among your audience. This provides you with facts and figures that can be used to reveal what the opinions are of the majority.

Uncover the “why” – qualitative research will uncover the “why” behind the “what” of quantitative findings in more detail. This will allow you to connect the dots and dig deeper to explore the areas that will meet your research objectives, divulging thoughts, and feelings behind the quantitative data.

Due to time constraints, we understand that conducting one after the other isn’t always possible. In these circumstances, they can be run in parallel, giving you the hard facts (quant), supported by real life quotes (qual), at the same time.


Option 2: Qual first, quant second

Through qualitative research, you will uncover deep insights to help generate topic ideas, test initial hypotheses, and to inform what to ask in your quantitative survey. Valued members of the Vanson Bourne CommunITy are always available for in-depth interviews to uncover what is relevant.

The quantitative survey can then validate the insights generated from the qualitative findings.

The power of a dual methodology in the types of research we deliver

Market insight: helping tailor your approach to specific market needs

Optimise your product development, customer support and go-to-market strategies through an enhanced understanding of the priorities and needs of target organisations.

  • Use quantitative research to understand what the top-level views of your audience are, including priorities and needs, and how this may differ across different sub-groups.
  • Use qualitative research to understand why these are priorities and needs, generating detailed insights and recommendations on how to meet them.


Brand research: helping understand your position in the market

Measure customers’ awareness, perceptions, and experiences of a brand, its marketing and/or its products and services.

  • Use quantitative research to measure what customers’ awareness of your brand looks like, as well as initial perceptions and experiences.
  • Use qualitative research to understand why your customers and prospects feel a certain way towards your brand. You’ll gain deep insights into their perceptions and experiences, as well as recommendations for what could be improved.


Message testing: helping finetune your messaging to prospective clients

Identify which messaging or advertising claims (e.g. within marketing campaigns or sales collateral) will resonate best with your target market and why that is the case.

  • Use quantitative research to identify what messaging resonates best among the majority and how this may differ across different sub-groups.
  • Use qualitative research to understand why your audience feels a certain way about your messaging, what they recommend changing, and to test any new messaging ideas.


Research for Content: Helping craft compelling content from research findings

Develop your thought leadership communications and elevate your brand in the eyes of customers and prospects.

  • Use quantitative research to understand what your audience thinks, generating headline grabbing stats for your marketing campaigns.
  • Use qualitative research to understand the why behind the what, generating real-life quotes that add context and depth to your narrative and campaigns.

Qual and quant – the evidence for

It’s easy for us to tell you why qual and quant work so well together, so let’s show you some real-life examples from two of our clients:

Trellix – Mind of the CISO research

This was a two-part series, where the quantitative and qualitative methodologies were conducted at the same time. After we completed part 1, Trellix came back for more. They asked us to run a part 2 using this dual methodology, showcasing the success of the first campaign.

In total, we surveyed 1,000 CISOs across the globe, and had 45-minute in-depth interviews with 37 of them. This allowed us to explore both the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of the issues that CISOs face today.

Off the back of the research, two insightful whitepapers were created and published, gaining lots of traction for Trellix. Using a dual methodology allowed us to showcase the ‘what’ through stats and the ‘why’ through real-life quotes, adding context and real-life meaning to the report to grab the reader’s attention.

Explore the research here.


Elastic – The Elastic Generative AI Report

Quantitative research first identified the current views and use of Generative AI. Then the qualitative research uncovered why this is the case, adding further narrative to the uncovered story.

We surveyed 3,200 IT/Analytics/Data respondents globally, and held a further 20 in-depth interviews. There was a surprising finding from the quantitative interviews, and by conducting the qualitative study after the quantitative one, we were able to dig deeper during the in-depth interviews which helped Elastic understand the background behind the surprising finding.

A captivating report was produced highlighting the findings from both research methods, pulling in key statistics from the quantitative research and insightful quotes from the qualitative research.

Explore the research here.


What are you looking to achieve? Let’s talk!

From shaping strategic planning, to insights that illuminate campaigns and content, get in touch with us to discuss how qualitative research can help you achieve your objectives.