Generative AI in Qualitative Research: How to Ramp Up Your Insights


Leveraging generative AI in qualitative research can have a number of benefits. Discover how artificial intelligence can help the world of market research.


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Artificial intelligence (AI) is a type of technology that was created to emulate human thinking. There are many different types of AI and machine learning, including generative AI.

Generative AI tools include ChatGPT, Jasper, Wordtune, and Speechify. Each has a slightly different function, but the end goal is the same—to generate new content. But generative AI has a lot more use cases than just content creation.


generative ai in qualitative research

In fact, generative AI is starting to make a splash in market research. Throughout this article, we’re going to discover how you can ramp up your insights by leveraging generative AI in qualitative research.

Let’s get started.

What is Generative AI?


Generative AI is a type of artificial intelligence that can produce, or generate, different types of content. These types of content can include:

  • Text: Blog posts, social media captions, eBooks
  • Imagery: Photos, graphics, videos
  • Audio: Text-to-speech, music

But with how accessible generative AI now is, many industries are pushing the boundaries of what they can do with it. And market research is included in that.

Many researchers are now incorporating generative AI into their qualitative research projects. This is because generative AI can help analyze data sets, generate insights from existing data, and more.

Benefits of Leveraging Generative AI in Qualitative Research


There are a number of reasons that leveraging generative AI in qualitative research is becoming such a major market research trend. Here are four key benefits this tactic can have on your research.

Improved Insights

As the AI learns, so does the research process, ensuring the methodology is always at its pinnacle. Plus, AI can sometimes catch patterns that humans may not be able to detect quite so easily—or at all.

In addition, with its generative learning capabilities, AI brings forth a depth in insights previously unreachable through traditional methods.

Cost Efficiency

Streamlining several stages means faster results without compromising on quality. And with the ability to optimize human interaction in certain stages, AI can help to reduce project and research costs.

Better Accuracy

Supporting and improving human elements at various stages can reduce human error. While AI is still learning and becoming smarter and smarter, it will inevitably help to improve overall data accuracy.

Ideation Assistance

AI can help come up with new research ideas, making the brainstorming and ideation process much more evolved. Turn to AI when looking for new research plans to see if you come up with something you may not have thought about before. Working with a broader spectrum of ideas—whether organically developed or synthesized from a collection of ideas—is a fundamental benefit of generative AI.

A stock photo of a robot analyzing data

How Generative AI Can Improve Qualitative Research


In the realm of generative AI, qualitative research meets cutting-edge technology, creating a collaboration of sorts between artificial intelligence and human research/results. Learn how generative AI can work with qualitative research to improve insights.

1. Problem Definition

Problem definition is the first step in any market research project. It involves asking the right questions that can help your team identify the main purpose behind your research.

Traditional Method: Traditionally, the problem definition phase often consists of a myriad of brainstorming sessions, early-stage exploratory research, and expert intuition.

Generative AI’s Role: By constantly learning and adapting, generative AI can present new perspectives, helping researchers to narrow down the research problem. It’s like having a team of experts from across the world brainstorming with you, 24/7.

2. Sampling Plan

Your sampling plan centers around pinpointing exactly who is the target audience for your research project. A sample is a subset of the population who fit the description for a study’s target participant.

Traditional Method: Sampling plans are traditionally grounded in previous experiences and educated guesses.

Generative AI’s Role: By analyzing extensive data patterns, AI can suggest the most optimal sampling method, supporting the researcher’s initial plan with quantifiable evidence. It’s not about supplanting the human touch, rather it’s about enriching it with deeper insights.

3. Developing a Discussion Guide

A discussion guide is a fundamental part of any qualitative study. It outlines the discussion questions that an interviewer plans to cover throughout any kind of interview, observation, or focus group.

Traditional Method: This is typically a manual blueprint sculpted created by looking through past research to determine what we need to discover this time around.

Generative AI’s Role: With AI, you can scan vast amounts of literature, past research, and global conversations, presenting a rich tapestry of potential topics and themes. Researchers can then weave these suggestions into their personalized discussion guides.

4. Recruiting Respondents

Respondent recruitment is the next step in any qualitative market research project. Reaching out to and getting people to participate in a study is a key step in ensuring you get the results you’re looking for.

Traditional Method: Traditionally, recruiting respondents follows a mix of outreach methods, often lengthy. From social media outreach or cold calling to online advertising or word of mouth, respondent recruitment can be a tough process.

Generative AI’s Role: With its ability to analyze behavioral patterns, demographics, and preferences, AI can identify the ideal respondents, making the recruitment phase both efficient and targeted.

5. Online Interviewing and Question Probing

AI can even assist in the interview part of your qualitative research. If you’re conducting an interview online, consider bringing a generative AI tool into the fold.

Traditional Method: This stage typically consists of manual interviewing with potential inconsistencies.

Generative AI’s Role: While the researcher holds the reins of the interview, AI can assist in real-time, suggesting deeper probing questions or reminding of key themes. It’s like having an intelligent assistant whispering insights in your ear.

6. Text Analysis

Text analysis is done after qualitative interviews or for open-ended questions in surveys. This ensures that responses are real, make sense, and follow the protocol of the overall project.

Traditional Method: Traditionally, this requires a whole lot of manually sifting through responses—a herculean task.

Generative AI’s Role: Through advanced Natural Language Processing (NLP), AI is able to highlight patterns, sentiments, and emerging themes, ensuring no nuance is overlooked.

7. Extracting Key Insights

Lastly, you need to extract key insights from your survey to be able to read and understand your findings. AI can also be a huge help in this final step, essentially making the entire project a much more streamlined and efficient undertaking.

Traditional Method: While most assuredly there is an art of intuition required at this stage, it also takes analysis, expertise, and experience.

Generative AI’s Role: While the final interpretation lies with the researcher, AI can help by flagging potential insights, cross-referencing with global data, and suggesting possible implications.


Incorporate Generative AI Into Your Next Qualitative Research Project


Generative AI isn’t here to overshadow, but to illuminate processes. In this age of technology and information, it’s not about AI vs. humans, but AI for humans. Learn how generative AI—and other AI tools—can impact your future market research projects. To discover how we can help, get in touch with someone from our team.


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