Qualitative research is a part of Market Research whose aim is to gather an in-depth understanding of human behavior and the reasons that govern such behavior. Traditionally, when introducing new products or ideas, researchers have adopted various techniques such as observing participant behavior in a specially simulated environment, using focus groups and cognitive testing. Researchers are constantly working on new methodologies to better understand their audiences.
But when it comes to online qualitative analysis, there seems to be a fundamental lack of meaning or quality of the data being gathered. There is a ways to go before we have fine tuned ways to reliably understand respondents and their external impressions they present of themselves.
This post talks about some of the issues resulting from traditional researchers not understanding the shifting online landscape and their resistance to adopting newer methodologies to better understand online behavior.