One of the challenges that I have found over the years in my career has been getting technical (read engineering) people to accept and appreciate the value of qualitative research.
In marketing, customer feedback is a critical part of understanding what customers need and value. Whether the feedback is around product features, advertising, customer satisfaction, messaging, or other important customer engagement areas, qualitative research plays a key role.
Technical people by nature tend to gravitate towards quantifiable data. This is why surveys with Likert scales (e.g. 1-5 ratings) or numbers driven research (the volume of units or click data) is frequently favored by more quantitative minded people. Part of this is because qualitative data is, by the very nature of the data, open to interpretation and easy to manipulate. Regardless, while quantitative data provides the measure, qualitative data provides the flavor – it provides the deeper understanding behind the quantitative data.
Because of the challenge of presenting qualitative data to broader audiences, I’ve learned over the years to use several tricks to make this data more palatable. Things like boiling down the data to the ‘Top 10 most common statements” or “This message was consistent among X number of focus group participants”. This works in some cases but it still leaves a lot to be desired.
Enter a fantastic new tool called Dedoose. Dedoose is an online research tool that can be used individual or in teams of researchers. It allows for the management of qualitative data or mixed methods input (both qualitative and quantitative data).
Dedoose provides a structured way to code transcripts from customer interviews, focus group research, email or online responses (think customer service emails as research input!). Based on the coding, the data can be manipulated and presented in ways that make it understandable and broadly usable. Because of the workgroup capabilities, people outside the research team can be given access to the data for their own review and manipulation (dangerous, I know – but at least possible!).
One of the (many) nice things about Dedoose is that it’s easy and fun to use. Our research group had several folks that were not computer or data oriented and they were able to immediately begin using Dedoose and contribute to our project.
Why is this such a powerful approach? It allows marketing teams to conduct research using different methods and use the Dedoose platform to integrate them into usable, actionable data fast and accurately. Spending time defending qualitative findings is non-productive time for marketing folks. Tools that provide better integration, analysis, and presentation of qualitative data are invaluable in getting to the answer more quickly and getting organizational understanding more quickly.
I have no direct relationship with Dedoose other than as a subscriber. I’m using it in some of my academic research and it’s one of the new tools that I’ve come across that I believe provide real value for marketeers.