From finance to healthcare to education, every business has at least one thing in common: they are all looking for ways to improve their processes and serve their customers more effectively. Therein lies the value of embracing ratings and benchmarking in your business enterprise. By recognising the power of these types of data, you can measure your brand against other businesses or organisations in your industry. These measurements tell you whether your brand is doing well, but more importantly, what it could be doing better. Identifying areas for improvement in this fashion can pave the way for the next chapter of your enterprise.
Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research
The good news is that we live in an era where businesses use data for almost everything. When thinking about launching a new product, a company might collect data to assess market need and interest. When trying to find ways to improve curriculums and offer a better student experience, college and universities might conduct surveys of the student body. There are so many ways of mining data, and different brands across countless industries are continually finding new ways to make data work for them.
When it comes to using data for your bottom line, though, it’s important to think about qualitative vs. quantitative research. Can you benefit more from qualitative research methods or from pulling together as many quantitative data sets as possible? To get to the bottom of the debate, let’s start by looking at qualitative vs. quantitative research based on definitions. Said another way, what do these terms mean, in a practical sense?
Qualitative research is about exploration and insight. This type of analysis is typically less structured than a survey. Instead, qualitative research methods include focus groups, interviews and the like. They use in-depth conversations and topic explorations to get meaningful thoughts and opinions about problems. For instance, say a university wants to learn about general student opinions on curriculum, student life or other similar topics. The institution has no specific hypotheses or theories it is trying to prove: it is just doing exploratory research to uncover trends in thought or opinion. In this situation, the school might use qualitative research to gather insight from a relatively small sample of students.
Now, say that the university wants to test the findings of its qualitative research to see if they hold true across the entire student body. Qualitative research methods are effective for building these hypotheses, but they aren’t ideal for scaling it up to a larger sample size. That’s where Quantitative research comes into the equation. Using surveying, the university can take the trends it saw in its qualitative research settings and quantify those patterns across the entire student body.
Quantitative Research, Benchmarking and Process Improvement
Clearly, both qualitative research and quantitative research are useful. One is used for far-reaching exploration, while the other is used for narrower but more exact measurements. As you can probably see, though, only quantitative research has a direct line to ratings and benchmarking.
What percentage of customers, students or patients are satisfied? For those who were dissatisfied, which problems were to blame? These questions can be answered with quantitative research, but only after doing qualitative research to find trends and generalise results. You can then give your business or institution ratings in numerous categories, benchmark yourself against contemporaries or competitors and identify areas for improvement.
Ultimately, process improvement should always be the goal of benchmarking and ratings—and by extension, of qualitative and quantitative research. By finding trends and quantifying them, you can learn where your enterprise is excelling and where it could still improve. This data is extremely valuable for building a better tomorrow for your business.
At Achievability, we bring the power of qualitative and quantitative research methods to the higher education sector. Our powerful survey tools that make data easy to collect and handle. To learn more, contact us today.
To find out more, visit us at http://www.achievability.co.uk/