Methods of market research

The main methods of market research are:

  • face-to-face interview
  • postal survey
  • focus group
  • hall test
  • telephone interview
  • online survey
  • observation

MethodAdvantagesDisadvantages
Face-to-face interviewTwo-way communicationPersonal interviews can be expensive
Researcher can encourage respondent to answerResearchers have to be selected and trained
Mistakes and misunderstandings can be cleared up right awayHome interviews unpopular with consumers
Postal surveyInexpensiveQuestions must be simple and easy to answer
No interviewer training neededResponse rate very low, incentives sometimes needed
Focus groupQualitative information provided in the form of opinions, feelings and attitudesCan be difficult to analyse qualitative information
Topics can be explored in some depthExpensive
Hall testQualitative information provided in the form of tasting or demonstrationsRespondents may be too positive as they feel obliged to give favourable opinion
Telephone interviewCan reach a large geographical areaResponse rate may be low as people may view it as a “nuisance call”
Inexpensive
Online surveyLarge sample sizesLimited to people with internet access
Inexpensive
ObservationQuantitative information gatheredSamples are often random and not representative of all customers
Real life and behaviours in actionOnly shows actions, does not explain attitudes and feelings
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