Qualitative Methodologies and Techniques


Qualitative Methodologies

IDI’s (or 1-on-1 Interviews)

A professional moderator interviews (generally face-to-face, but can be via phone) one participant in order to gain in-depth qualitative insight.

Focus Groups

A group of participants (2-10) often of common demographics, attitudes, or purchase patterns are led through a discussion of a particular topic by a trained moderator in order to ascertain thoughts, beliefs and motivations behind behaviors.

In context Interviews (In-home / In-store)

In-Context Interviews (ICI’s), sometimes called in-home or in-store interviews, take place where a product or service is used or purchased. This methodology allows you to observe and understand the habits, practices and motivations of your target audience as they are using or choosing your product or service.

Qualitative Techniques


This technique is based on the fact that people have told stories from the beginning of time to pass information from one person to another. Storytelling requires respondents to create stories about a given topic using pictures and words. Stories not only provide facts, but they also include emotion and color that is often missed through direct questioning.

Metaphor Elicitation

This technique is built on the belief that people think and communicate using metaphors. It requires the respondent to collect visuals based on a centering question prior to research. For example, “what are your thoughts and feelings associated with shopping for flooring?” This probing technique focuses on explaining the “why” behind the “what” of consumer behavior. This data provides further insight and understanding that can be used in creating an appropriate marketing campaign for a product, identifying new product ideas, improving inter-office communications, and determining the presence of pre-existing biases or beliefs.

Projective Techniques

This seeks to explore the subconscious by having respondents project their thoughts and feelings about a particular subject or topic onto other things. For example, if brand X were a person, describe its personality, occupation, hobbies, etc.


A probing technique, used in one-on-ones and focus groups, designed to delve into the real reasons for participants’ attitudes and behaviors toward the topic. It is generally considered to be an intensive technique. The moderator seeks the reason behind each answer until he or she arrives at a basic human need, such as ego or status.