Hybrid Research: Combining Qualitative and Quantitative Methods… and More

Researchers have been conducting hybrid marketing research for years. And yet, it is still all the rage these days.

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Market Research » Hybrid Research: Combining Qualitative and Quantitative Methods… and More

So, what is hybrid research?


Hybrid research combines two market research techniques whether it be qualitative and quantitative, or a mixture of qualitative or quantitative methods, to deliver the perfect solution. Originally, most research experts defined it as a combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods. Now, hybrid research (also known as mixed-mode research) can be a combination of two or more research methodologies—regardless of whether they are qualitative or quantitative. Additionally, hybrid research can sometimes be conducted using the same research tool or platform. Further, the methods can be conducted either iteratively or at the same time.



Why Hybrid Research?


In general, quantitative research methods allow you to narrow your focus so you can make smarter decisions, using multiple data types/points, and focus your development or optimization efforts to have the most impact. Quantitative research is weakest at determining the underlying cause or why numbers result in a particular way. Utilizing qualitative research in combination with quantitative provides the researcher an understanding of both the “what?” and the “why?.”

Or as someone once said, “Quant helps you count the beans… qual tells you which beans are worth counting.”

Combining the richness of qualitative information with the directional measurement of quantitative research in the same project can save time and resources in developing quality insights for marketing. Relatable insights can be tied from one question or phase of research to the next, creating more meaningful connections that can also inform future research and optimize product/messaging. Additionally, a more engaging and impactful story can be created, as more data sources supplement answers and give additional layers of consumer experiences and understanding.


hybrid research

Hybrid Research How-To’s


As with any market research project, project objectives should drive your choice of methodologies. However, researchers often have multiple goals requiring different qualitative or quantitative methods. Perhaps you have a range of target audiences best reached through various media outlets, or you are looking for individual and group feedback. In cases like these, a hybrid research approach can optimize your research.

Broadly speaking, objectives about attitudes, product usage, prioritizing concepts or claims, prioritizing features for a product, evaluating prices, potential line optimizations, and competitive analysis call for quantitative research. Qualitative objectives are more likely to be found in exploratory research, refining concepts or claims, refining messaging/creative, and defining the customer experience.

Once we define the objectives and determine the methodologies, we can specify the order of the research or type of execution. In other words, should both phases be executed together or one before the other? There is no hard and fast rule about this. Again, the information you seek should determine how you apply the methodologies.

Consistency is critical in hybrid research to apply findings across the different research phases. Because the methodologies are different, researchers must carefully plan the characteristics of the qualified respondents, the specific questions to be asked in each stage, and how they will tie together. Whenever possible, conduct both qualitative and quantitative phases with the same research vendor, as the operationalization of the methods and interpretation of the results can vary and impact results



The Future of Hybrid Research


Hybrid research is widely used and will continue growing as researchers find value in the added emotion and insight they garner from hybrid approaches. Beyond hybrid’s clearly valuable ability to add greater insight to a study, another key factor in its anticipated growth is related to the fact that it is both time and cost-efficient. Indeed, some researchers believe that hybrid research will be so ubiquitous that the term “hybrid” will disappear in the future. What we now think of as an innovative approach will become used so widely that there will be no need for the label hybrid.

The greatest strength of the hybrid approach is that it allows researchers to garner deeper and more comprehensive insight and hear the consumers in a way that no existing single-mode research approach offers. With the added attraction of more efficient time and resource use, the argument for using hybrid research becomes even stronger.


Contact OvationMR about your next hybrid research project! 



Alex Sutter

Alex Sutter


Alex is Sr. Director of Qualitative Insights Solutions at OvationMR and is responsible for overseeing everything from solution development to delivery of all things qualitative. He also consults clients on sampling requirements for various online research campaigns and political polling. You can reach Alex at Alex.Sutter@ovationmr.com

To learn more about Hybrid Marketing Research Solutions, and Online Methodologies for ensuring your success, you can visit Panel Quality & Recruitment or Download 2022 PanelBook, or contact us at info@ovationmr.com

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