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home : approach : methods : qualitative

Qualitative Approach

While there are a variety of research methodologies that fall under the umbrella term "qualitative methods," all share the similar assumption that the respondents are the experts on why they think and behave in the way that they do. Experienced qualitative researchers are skilled in the arts of observing, interviewing and listening, to gain an in-depth understanding of what the world looks like through the eyes of the consumer. For over 15 years The Hartman Group has been conducting research that employs sociological and ethnographic methodologies through the use of professionally trained qualitative researchers.

Our qualitative research is based on innovative methods that allow us to converse with consumers in their most "natural" settings, such as consumers' homes, retail stores and among their private social network groups.

As lifestyle issues are often very personal and private, consumers may be anxious about having what they say written down and talking with a large group of strangers; therefore, most information is best gleaned from many hours of semi-structured conversation in a more informal setting. Unlike focus groups, where participants are typically unfamiliar with co-participants and influenced by others around them, our approach puts consumers in their natural environment, allowing them to behave more like they would in the course of their everyday activities and patterns.

While most of the qualitative research conducted by The Hartman Group is intended to generate rich, in-depth and "stand-alone" results, reports and recommendations for clients, one of our greatest strengths is that qualitative and quantitative researchers work together to create deliverables that combine the power of both methodologies.

  • In-home (One-on-One) Interviews
  • Ethnographic Research Group
  • Social Network Parties
  • Shop-and-Talk Tours
  • Online Discussions
  • Observations of Food Use in Public Places
  • Retail Landscape Audit
  • Day in the Life
  • Family Encounters
  • Workplace Interviews
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