Quantitative research, a numbers-based discipline, measures variables (awareness/preference, decision-drivers, buying behavior, product and supplier performance, etc.) across a larger sample than is typical for qualitative research. A quantitative survey contains closed-ended questions - the answers to which can be cross-tabulated, analyzed, and delivered in quantifiable charts and graphs. Quantitative research is a critical methodology for market modeling and sizing as it is designed to provide statistically significant findings that can be extrapolated to a larger universe.
In sum, the components of quantitative research include:
- Development of instruments and methods for measurement
- Ensuring sample quality
- Development of a sample plan
- Experimental control and manipulation of variables
- Collection of empirical data
- Analysis of data
- Market size modeling
Modes utilized to field quantitative surveys include online/mobile, phone (CATI) and occasionally face-to-face.
Quantitative research can be a challenge to conduct in business-to-business and industrial markets where the universe of respondents can be finite and limited globally, and there is no simply way to identify or locate them. At Geo Strategy Partners we only conduct research in business-to-business and industrial markets. As a result, we have had to become experts in indentifying, recruiting, and collecting data from difficult to access decision-makers.
Online surveys, including surveys optimized for mobile devices, have the capability of capturing quantitative data efficiently and in a format suitable for analytics. Business professionals may prefer the flexibility of online surveys because they are able to participate at a time most convenient to their schedules. They also have the advantage of allowing consistent configuration control on global surveys conducted in multiple countries in multiple languages.
Online may not work for certain types of respondents. For most of our projects in Asia, for example, we collect data by phone or even face-to-face because of cultural norms. Other times, recruitment is concurrent with data collection and telephone can be most efficient. Employees working in specific environments do not always have easy access to the Internet. Whenever we collect quantitative data by phone with industry specialists, technicians, professionals, or executives, we use interviewers with commensurate experience.
Regardless of the mode, the challenge for the researcher is identification and recruitment of respondents- which in certain industrial sectors is made more challenging by the finite number of decision-makers or subject matter experts. While we have in-house databases, we find most projects are of such a customized nature we rarely use the same database twice. Occasionally, we are able to access panels of specialized respondents, but in most cases, sample is built the hard way. We leverage proprietary and publicly-available databases to initiate the process and through careful screener design ensure only qualified respondents/decision-makers are targeted for response. We have proven our ability to access even the most difficult respondents, including:
- Architects in Shanghai, China
- Cement processing equipment buyers in Buenos Aires, Argentina
- Corporate training professionals in Seoul, Korea
- Electricians at refineries in Port Arthur, Texas
- Hospital-acquired infection specialists in Cleveland, Ohio
- Ministerial-level decision-makers in Luanda, Angola
- Mold block material decision-makers for injected-molded automotive parts in Detroit, Michigan
- Nuclear power plant workers in Simpevarp, Sweden
- Process engineers using electric heat tracing systems in Sao Paulo, Brazil
- Quality control personnel in Springdale, Arkansas
- Roughnecks on oil rigs in Aberdeen, Scotland