Research Tools / Qualitative

"Research is a process where you can spend a lot of money and come up with zero. Isurus guides me quickly through the key decisions, helps me avoid the pitfalls, and makes sure I walk away with high-value implications."

-Vice President of Marketing, Enterprise Content Management System Provider

Qualitative research engages the target audience in an open-ended, exploratory discussion using tools like focus groups or in-depth interviews. Qualitative research explores the “what, why and how” questions and provides directional data about the target audience. It is commonly used to explore the perceptions and values that influence behavior, identify unmet needs, understand how people perceive a marketing message or ad, or to inform a subsequent phase of quantitative research.

Learn more about Isurus’ qualitative research tools:
  • In-depth interviews
  • Focus groups
  • Asynchronous focus groups
  • Qualitative techniques
In-depth Interviews

In-depth interviews are a guided, open-ended discussion with a single respondent. Interviewers lead respondents through a structured topic guide that addresses key issues of interest. In-depth interviews are appropriate for executives, geographically dispersed groups and people who would not feel comfortable speaking openly in a group (e.g., business competitors). In the US in-depth interviews are typically conducted by telephone. In the Middle East, Latin America and some Asian countries in-depth interviews are typically conducted in-person.

Focus Groups

A focus group is a moderated discussion with a group of participants; the size of the group depends on the target audience and mode (online versus in-person). While focus groups have historically been held in person (face-to-face), they are increasingly conducted virtually using teleconferencing, web-conferencing, or online collaboration tools. Focus groups are used when the research objectives will be better accomplished through a dynamic discussion and sharing of ideas among participants or when it is critical for the client team to observe the discussion in real-time.

Asynchronous Focus Groups

Also known as “bulletin-board” groups, asynchronous focus groups are threaded discussions that take place over the course of multiple days. Participants respond to new questions posted daily by the moderator. The discussion is observable by the client team. Asynchronous discussions are most useful when participants need time to digest and respond to the questions and other stimuli, either because the topic is complex (e.g., highly technical offerings) or because there is a lot of information (e.g., multiple concepts or messages). The asynchronous nature of the discussion also enables the client and research team to consider and react to findings that emerge during the discussion (e.g., use feedback from the group to revise and re-test a concept). This methodology can be the best way to reach target audiences who are difficult to schedule (e.g., doctors).

Qualitative Techniques

Isurus moderators employ a range of tools and techniques to make qualitative research productive, such as projective exercises, laddering and individual exercises. Through techniques like these as well as effective moderating, we encourage participants to go beyond superficial, knee-jerk responses to uncover their true opinions and behaviors.

Effective moderation is critical to the success of qualitative research, regardless of the specific methodology used. Each Isurus moderator brings more than 15 years of experience with a range of qualitative research approaches. The moderator, typically an Isurus principal, is an integral part of the project team from start to finish, and plays a key role in translating the business objectives into productive research, analyzing the data, and presenting the results.