Qualitative Research Consultants Association (QRCA) - QRCA Views Magazine, Fall 2020

However, there remains one hugely important question that is largely outside the reach of big data approaches: the question, “Why?” Why do people behave in a certain way, buy a certain product or service, or hold a certain belief? As we all know, this is where the “thick data” that qualitative research generates still has a very important role to play from an insight and decision- making perspective. Having said that, qualitative research naturally comes with its own set of strengths and weaknesses. Among the latter, the most important is perhaps the lack of width or scale. There is, after all, a limit to how much you can safely generalize about the wider target group based on ten to fifteen in-depth interviews, two to three focus groups, or even an online community. For that reason, the best research designs have always sought to integrate qualitative and quantitative sources and perspectives, either sequentially or in a mixed-method design. One such mixed-method approach that we think deserves much more B ecause we are living so much of our lives online, it’s never been easier for companies to access real behav- ioral data about what people do, when they do it, how they do it, and how often they do it. Big, quantitative data can answer these questions in real time based on observed (not interview-based) data and has revolutionized market research in the past decade. Active Sensemaking: A Mixed Method to Leverage the Power of Stories By Barrett W. Horne n Organizational Development Consultant n Onfoot Consulting n Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada n linkedin.com/in/barrett-w-horne-9b07b81 By Henrik Nielsen n Founder n Fabula Agency n The Hague, Netherlands n linkedin.com/in/henrikjbs n SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT n 50 QRCA VIEWS FALL 2020 www.qrca.org