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Ellen Schaefer, Principal of Group Works, has been a member of QRCA since 1995 and is Treasurer of the San Francisco Chapter of QRCA.

QRCA is the leading association in  the world of qualitative research practitioners, with almost 1,000 members in over 25 countries.

The QRCA Web site has a wealth of information about qualitative research including the following articles:

What is Qualitative Research?

When to Use Qualitative Research?

Types of Qualitative Research


Qualitative research is designed to explore a target audience's range of behavior and the perceptions and motivations that support their behavior. Qualitative research can provide rich insights that enable marketers to increase the effectiveness of their marketing programs by refining their strategies to be more in tune with consumer needs.

Common uses of qualitative research include …

  • Understand purchase decision process, identify key customer benefits and discover unmet needs.

  • Generate ideas for new products and services.

  • Explore reactions to concepts for screening and refinement.

  • Design effective communication materials by getting feedback on alternative prototypes (advertising, promotions, direct mail pieces, catalogs, brochures, web sites, packaging, taglines, urls, etc).

  • Hear customer perceptions of company strengths and weaknesses compared to competition.

  • Identify key customer satisfaction factors to develop customer retention and employee customer service training programs.

  • Explore needs of new market segments prior to expansion.

  • Before conducting a survey to help develop a questionnaire (language, questions, options).

  • After conducting a survey to help understand survey results.