No Insights Lost

The heightened value of integrating multi-method research

About a 2 min. read

Morgan Williams
Director, Qualitative Insights & Strategy Operations

Storytelling is the cornerstone of impactful market research. It elevates insights by simplifying overwhelmingly complex, dense, or convoluted research themes and concepts; translating them into a compelling narrative about the audience that—ideally—evokes emotional connection and inspires action. So, what exactly drives excellent consumer insights storytelling? How do full-service researchers deliver a cohesive storyline that encompasses learnings in the true voice of the consumer, without bias, authentically and effectively?

To capture consumers’ unique perspectives in research, CMB often uses a combination of methodologies:

  • Quantitative (Quant) research to identify broad themes and statistically significant differences of a particular population via analytical, targeted research questions.
  • Qualitative (Qual) research to cultivate an observational environment in which key themes and nuances can be uncovered beyond System 1 thinking to tap into System B thinking via structured discussion.

Think of Quant as ‘the statistics’ and Qual as ‘the language’ of consumers, it quickly becomes obvious that both methodologies are needed to get a truly holistic perspective.

When a multi-method study is conducted, it is critical that no insights are lost between the Quant and Qual phases. Here are best practices to creating a cohesive storyline across multiple datasets from our fellow CMBers:

  • When Quant research comes first, compile a running list of questions or topics that require further exploration to kick-start the Qual phase. Bonus if the Qual researcher can sit in on client debrief and ‘data party’ calls for context.
Having Qual follow the Quant is helpful to address unexpected trends or consumer reactions for additional context. It also captures the actual voice of participants, [to] socialize findings which helps illustrate Quant more vividly.– Diego
  • When Qual research comes first, include Quant researchers as much as possible. From discussion guide development to engaging with stakeholders in the backroom, the more color and texture gleaned from the research participants at the onset, the more applicable the Quant survey will be (i.e., ‘talking the talk’ of that segment).
“We refine our research objectives from the Qual phase to quantify something new we learned and dig deeper into key findings from the survey, probing into more of the “why.” Include detailed quotes and videos from participants to add color to reports and bring findings to life. Qual is critical in ensuring the voice of the customer is accurately represented.Jill
  • Focus on the overarching objectives and work together to deliver world-class insights and recommendations.
“Having the full team involved from the get-go allows for a smooth transition from an operational and client service standpoint and adds value to the deliverables. Qual and Quant minds pull from different places, but they all have the same goal: uncovering great insights for our clients…it’s not Qual vs Quant but rather Qual + Quant.Christelle
“I review Quant data from the lens of answering key questions that arise in Qual, which allows me to validate the details that most resonated with Qual. We keep additional Qual slides in the appendix of the integrated report.”Emily

In reporting, it is not about which method yielded which result, it’s about distilling rich, mixed medium, unbiased data into an integrated, holistic storyline that answers key business questions with the strategic, consultative lens that CMB is known industry-wide for.

Discover how to get the most compelling, well-rounded consumer insights for your most pressing business questions. Reach out to CMB today. We look forward to bringing your consumers’ voices to life in impactful ways!