Step 2. A guide to techniques and commissioning
Research provides valuable information about your audience and the social, political and environmental context. It can also lead to important insights into your target audience.
You can use research to support planning activities, to help determine policy and carry out marketing and communication strategies. But it cannot provide the answers for you - you'll need to apply judgement and experience to analyse and interpret the data.
So what's the difference between quantitative and qualitative research?
- involves talking to a large number of the target audience using a structured questionnaire
- measures how many, or what proportion of, people hold certain opinions or beliefs.
- involves talking to a small number of individuals in the target audience in order to understand how they think, feel and act
- gives you an in-depth feel for the issues that concern the target audience, in their own words
- reveals particular opinions, and gives you a rough idea of how common these opinions are
- is particularly useful for strategy or creative development research.
The choice of qualitative or quantitative research will depend on
- the objectives of the research
- the types of people you need to talk to.
Why is communication research important?
- Gives you valuable information about your target audience.
- Helps inform decisions.
- Reduces uncertainty, by being able to check reactions, opinions and beliefs of the target audience.
- Can lead to important insights into your target audience.
- Provides a solid evidence base for policy-making or communications planning.
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