Market researchers tended to gravitate towards quantitative methods over qualitative ones during 2012, according to [pdf] the Winter 2013 GreenBook Research Industry Trends Report. Respondents were more likely to report strong growth in their use of quantitative rather than qualitative methods (10% vs. 8%), and less likely to report a decline (12% vs. 17%). Areas seeing the most amount of growth, though, were social media research (64% reporting some degree of growth) and market research online communities (59%).
In terms of qualitative research, the traditional in-person focus group remained the most popular methodology, used by 60% of respondents, followed by traditional in-person in-depth interviews, used by 45%. Among quantitative research types, online surveys (78%) were easily the most popular method, ahead of computer-assisted telephone interviews (44%) and face-to-face surveys (38%).
Among methods deemed “emerging technologies” online communities (45%), mobile surveys (42%), and social media analytics (36%) are the most commonly-used approaches today, and many also have these in consideration for the future. Mobile certainly seems to be gaining traction, as 42% cite mobile surveys as under consideration, 41% say the same about mobile qualitative methods, and 45% see application-based research as in their future.
In fact, asked if they were to create their own new research company, what techniques they would focus on, respondents cited mobile surveys, online methods, and online communities first, with traditional methods such as telephone and mail ranking at the bottom of the list. As the researchers note, the choices “reflect the ongoing trend to online methods, which often offer relatively fast and inexpensive means for collecting information.”
The “researcher of the future,” then, will need to be versed in social media, data synthesis, marketing strategy, and/or business consultancy, per the report’s findings.
About the Data: The data is based on 1,375 completed interviews, with 84% of respondents identifying as Suppliers and 16% as Clients.