Qualitative Market Research – Book Review

The Book: Qualitative Market Research by Wendy Gordon and Roy Langmaid

About the Authors:

Wendy Gordon and Roy Langmaid run successful qualitative research practices in London. Roy Langmaid is one of Europe’s leading consumer psychologists and Wendy Gordon is the co-founder of brand consultancy The Fourth Room. One of the authors has a psychology degree, and the other a social anthropology degree; both of them have experienced clinical psychology first hand and are one of the most celebrated authors in the field of Qualitative Research.

Review:

It is the authors’ commitment to accumulate the knowledge of forty years of their experience that created this book. I congratulate the authors for taking on such a challenging task of writing a comprehensive book on Qualitative Research.

This is the first book to bring all the practices and principles of the sister discipline of market research – Qualitative Research. The book starts with the introduction to qualitative research and the contribution to the growth of Qualitative Research. The authors state that the days of endless debates about the superiority of quantitative and qualitative research are over. Both the methods have their strengths and weaknesses and are friends and not enemies. The authors go on to describe the problem areas suited to Qualitative Research such as consumer perceptions, understanding the dimensions of brands, new product development, creative development and diagnostic studies. Furthermore, the authors describe the choice of research methodology and the process of research brief and research objective.

Starting from Chapter Three is the group processes and group dynamics. This is about what factors influence what people say and how they behave in groups. This chapter discusses the components of group discussion, how group discussion is used in research, and the Do’s and don’ts for the interviewer. This describes the several stages of a group process like Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Mourning. There have been some very good ideas and techniques like anchoring on how to do better group interviewing.

Starting from Chapter Six is my favourite part of the book: the individual depth interview, non-verbal communication (NVC) and projective techniques. The book describes the skills required for good depth-interviewing and the internal and external parameters of body language. It describes the application and usage of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), study of eye and head movements and body postures during the interview. It provides a complete coverage of major projective and enabling techniques and this is the best part of the book. It covers all the different association procedures, completion procedures, construction and expressive procedures used in NVC. The usage of psycho drawing, thought bubbles, brand mapping, sentence completion, word association, mirroring  and other techniques are explained in detail with examples.

The book flows into the interpretation and presentation of qualitative research. Various techniques of interpretation are explained given the fact that people often ‘don’t say what they mean’ and ‘don’t mean what they say’. Also, there has been special focus on how to conduct research with children and the techniques used in such research. The book concludes with the various hybrid methodologies and statistical procedures used for the analysis of qualitative research.

This book really helped me to get a holistic picture of qualitative research. It helped me interrogate and digest the various techniques involved in qualitative research. I just loved some of the psycho drawings and associations presented in this book. It made me ask some interesting questions of how music can be used in qualitative research and consumer behaviour.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to have a good understanding of all the techniques of qualitative research that are making qualitative research influential. The book doesn’t have much of technical jargon and is a very simple and beautiful read for anybody slightly interested in market research and any form of behavioural sciences.

Thank you. It has been pleasure writing this review.

© Sai Krishna Balivada 2010

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