Applying Scientific Reasoning to the Field of Marketing

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A fundamental principle in quantitative research is that correlation does not imply causation , although some such as Clive Granger suggest that a series of correlations can imply a degree of causality. This principle follows from the fact that it is always possible a spurious relationship exists for variables between which covariance is found in some degree. Associations may be examined between any combination of continuous and categorical variables using methods of statistics. Views regarding the role of measurement in quantitative research are somewhat divergent.

Measurement is often regarded as being only a means by which observations are expressed numerically in order to investigate causal relations or associations. However, it has been argued that measurement often plays a more important role in quantitative research. This is because accepting a theory based on results of quantitative data could prove to be a natural phenomenon. He argued that such abnormalities are interesting when done during the process of obtaining data, as seen below:. In classical physics, the theory and definitions which underpin measurement are generally deterministic in nature.

In contrast, probabilistic measurement models known as the Rasch model and Item response theory models are generally employed in the social sciences.

Scientific Reasoning | Middlesex Community College, Middletown CT

Psychometrics is the field of study concerned with the theory and technique for measuring social and psychological attributes and phenomena. This field is central to much quantitative research that is undertaken within the social sciences. Quantitative research may involve the use of proxies as stand-ins for other quantities that cannot be directly measured. Tree-ring width, for example, is considered a reliable proxy of ambient environmental conditions such as the warmth of growing seasons or amount of rainfall.

Although scientists cannot directly measure the temperature of past years, tree-ring width and other climate proxies have been used to provide a semi-quantitative record of average temperature in the Northern Hemisphere back to A. When used in this way, the proxy record tree ring width, say only reconstructs a certain amount of the variance of the original record. The proxy may be calibrated for example, during the period of the instrumental record to determine how much variation is captured, including whether both short and long term variation is revealed.

In the case of tree-ring width, different species in different places may show more or less sensitivity to, say, rainfall or temperature: when reconstructing a temperature record there is considerable skill in selecting proxies that are well correlated with the desired variable.


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In most physical and biological sciences , the use of either quantitative or qualitative methods is uncontroversial, and each is used when appropriate. In the social sciences, particularly in sociology , social anthropology and psychology , the use of one or other type of method can be a matter of controversy and even ideology, with particular schools of thought within each discipline favouring one type of method and pouring scorn on to the other.

The majority tendency throughout the history of social science, however, is to use eclectic approaches-by combining both methods. Qualitative methods might be used to understand the meaning of the conclusions produced by quantitative methods. Using quantitative methods, it is possible to give precise and testable expression to qualitative ideas. This combination of quantitative and qualitative data gathering is often referred to as mixed-methods research. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

All procedures for the numerical representation of empirical facts. This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. Learn how and when to remove these template messages. This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. This article needs attention from an expert in Sociology. Please add a reason or a talk parameter to this template to explain the issue with the article.

WikiProject Sociology may be able to help recruit an expert. November Further information: Qualitative research. Antipositivism Case study research Econometrics Falsifiability Market research Positivism Qualitative research Quantitative marketing research Quantitative psychology Quantification science Observational study Sociological positivism Statistical survey Statistics.

Becoming Qualitative Researchers: An Introduction 4th ed.

Boston: Pearson. The American Sociologist. A choice of research strategy for identifying community-based action skill requirements in the process of delivering housing market renewal. Like focus groups, individual interviews are a qualitative market research method.

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To simplify things, think of individual interviews as focus groups with only one participant and one moderator interviewer. There is a wide spectrum of interviewing formats, depending on the goal of the interview. Like focus groups, interviews are useful for exploratory research. Experiments and field trials involve scientific testing, where specific variables and hypotheses can be tested.

Quantitative research

These tests can be conducted in controlled environments or out in the field natural settings. This form of market research is always quantitative in nature. Some website visitors would see one image and others at random would see a different image. The Web team was able to measure which image was resulting in more donations, and they could quickly decide to use the more favorable image for all users. By employing this simple market research experiment on which website images performed better, Obama was able to maximize contributions in a major way. Another example might be a cereal company making two different packaging styles and delivering each one to limited test market stores where their individual sales can be measured.

Observational research can come in a different shapes and sizes. The greatest benefit of this technique is that researchers can measure actual behavior , as opposed to user-reported behavior.


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For more on visual observation, these guys have a nice write-up. Usability testing — Watching a subject use a prototype device is one form of observational research. Again, this can be done with or without intervention. This information can be used to re-design and optimize the page elements. In-Home Observation — Watching a family member go through the morning routine in their home might turn up useful insights into pain-points that need solving.

In-Store Observation — Simply watching shoppers in action is another form of observational research. What do shoppers notice? How do they go through a store? Mystery Shoppers — This involves hiring a regular person to go into a store and pretend to be an everyday shopper. They will then report on aspects of their experience, such as store cleanliness, politeness of staff, etc. In the case, the mystery shopper is the researcher and the store is the subject being observed.

There you have it.

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Now you are armed with a basic understanding of the various traditional market research methods! If you think I am missing any of the core methods, leave a note in the comments. Very helpful. I am interested in working in the field of market research. Can you guide me, what kind of knowledge I should have to land a Trainee job in Market research?

Thanks Tejas.

8 thoughts on “An Overview of Market Research Methods”

Start with a small simple project and give it a go. Computer-driven 3D virtual shop research is becoming increasingly common amongst retailers and consumer product manufacturers. Done properly, the tests can… Read more. Market Research Methods: An Overview. Focus Group Example. Summary of Market Research Methods. Tags: experiments , field trials , focus groups , interviews , observation , overview , primary research , qualitative research , quantitative research , secondary research , surveys.