Qualitative research

Qualitative methods are well suited to explore and create deeper insights of a target group's habits, actions, attitudes, unspoken needs and underlying motives

At Epinion we offer a wide range of qualitative methods, adapt methodology to each case, and are always looking to stay ahead in terms of latest methods and approaches.

We tailor our market research solution to ensure an optimal set-up for retrieving the key insight, that our customers request – and the solutions often include using qualitative methods.

With more than 200 projects conducted annually involving qualitative market research elements, we are experts in qualitative market research. Our team possess a heavy experience within the qualitative market research field and masters a wide range of qualitative data-collection and analytical methods originating from their academic backgrounds like e.g. sociology, anthropology, psychology and linguistics.

Understand why, not just how

Where quantitative market research provides broad explanations on how a target group relate to a certain issue - the core focus of the qualitative market research is to provide understanding rather than explanation. Qualitative market research uncovers the why, not just how a specific audience relate to a particular issue.  

The qualitative market research approach explores and gives you the deeper understanding of behavior, attitudes, feelings, needs or motives of a specific target group – a knowledge which often lacks despite the fact that we live in an age where the availability of consumer (big) data has never been vaster. There are numerous ways of retrieving qualitative data, but the qualitative methods have some common denominators:

  • Interaction and dynamic – the dialogue between the interviewer and respondent provides opportunities for a deeper understanding of the subject the respondent talks about
  • Open and flexible - the interview or observational framework are to a varied degree loosely structured providing options of exploring and following themes and questions not thought of upfront.

The Tool Box - Qualitative research methods for collecting data 

Epinion have extensive experience with a wide range of qualitative interview methods. Depending on the specific insight needs of our customers, Epinion will tailor the qualitative market research solution most suitable for the task at hand.  

Epinions’ tool box of qualitative methods consists of both traditional qualitative methods, which are typically focused on the psycho-dynamic perspectives of human behavior as well as more recent included methods based on traditional and newer ethnographical methods, as they have evolved in parallel with the digital world becoming an essential part of human behavior and life.

The qualitative tool box at Epinion consist of:

  • Focus groups (physical and online)
  • In-depth interviews (individual, duo, family)
  • Workshops
  • In-Situ interviews
  • Observations
  • Go- A-Long interviews
  • In-home interviews
  • Day-in-the-life
  • Digital & Mobile Ethnography

Focus groups: In Epinion we have several trained moderators with solid experience in facilitating focus groups.

The focus group allows interviewing a target group on specific topics, and at the same time observe and analyze the social interaction the topic causes. This group dynamic inspires participants to further reflections and clarification on their views and thereby allows participants to express a wide range of attitudes and opinions, which provides a large amount of data within a short timeframe.

The focus group interview is suitable for a wide range of issues (e.g. test of marketing and communication material, brand and positioning tests; product and service evaluations; concept and new product tests) and is most often used within B-t-C research. 

At Epinion we conduct focus groups physical as well as online.

In-depth interviews:In depth interviews are interviews with one person or one unit (couples, friends, a family), and focus on a more extensive exploration of the individual experiences, practices and feelings related to a specific topic, than the focus group allows.

In-depth interview is especially relevant, if:

  • The research subject is perceived as sensitive by the consumer
  • The research subject is of a confidential nature
  • The individual response to the topic is of main interest/relevance to the study

Furthermore, In-depth interviews are often used in B-t-B research, in which it can be difficult to get participants (decision makers) to prioritize the necessary time to participate in a focus group.

At Epinion, we do a number of different types of in-depth interviews: e.g. duo-interviews (e.g. friends, parent/child, spouses) and family-interviews. Interviews are most often conducted face-to-face, but can also be conducted by telephone if suitable for the task.

Workshops:The workshop is often a half- or hole day/evening session. The workshop requires time to include different types of exercises which ensures an active involvement of the participants, “firing up” their imagination and ability to “think out of the box”.

Workshops are suitable when the primary purpose is to explore and generate new ideas and perspectives within a given challenge. A workshop process can help bring out new perspectives or challenge assumptions within a given issue.

Workshops are often the right choice in e.g. projects regarding innovation & concept development, brand & value positioning development and segmentation studies.

In-Situ interviews: In situ interviews can be both In-depth interviews as well as focus groups. The main difference is that they are conducted in the situation or context of the actual usage/choice of the research item. It could be” in the store”, “at the workplace”, “at the station”, “in the car” etc. -  depending on the product/service you offer your customers to choose or use in a specific situation. 

It is Epinions’ experience that by conducting the interviews in the settings, where the research subject is actually purchased/consumed/utilized stimulates the respondent’s ability to remember and reflect on behavior and emotions related to the research subject.

We recommend In-situ interviews if the key insight need is to understand the influence of the context on consumer behavior – or if we have reason to believe consumers are highly unaware of what influences their behavior in the situation.

Observation: Observation is an ethnographic qualitative approach focusing on people's everyday behavior. By observing customer behavior, insights on behavioral patterns, preferences and social context can be achieved.

At Epinion we recommend observation if the inquiry is to uncover how a target audience actually behave and 'see the world', how a service or product is included in a particular context or function in a particular course of action.

Furthermore, combining observation with other interview techniques has proven to be a strong analytical approach to partly make respondents articulate behavior they are not necessarily conscious about, partly to overcome contradiction between what consumers say they do, and what they actually do.  

Go-a-long interviews: Go-A-Long interviews combines observation and interview. As the name implies the interview is conducted in motion – it could e.g. be on the shopping tour or on the travel. The researcher follows the consumer along a certain course of action, observing his/her behavior as well as facilitating a dialogue in which some of the observations can be subject for questions and reflections. 

This type of interview is relevant if we want to understand how the interaction between the consumer and the surrounding impacts behavior and consumer experience.

In-home interviews: In-home interviews are conducted in the private home of the consumer. It can be combined with observations – e.g. of how a research item is planned to be purchased or is utilized in the home. 

The in-home interview is relevant if the subject is sensitive, because it eases the ability of creating an intimate and safe atmosphere between the interviewer and the consumer, when the interview is conducted in the familiar setting of the consumers’ home.

Furthermore, the In-home interview allows for a more ethnographic understanding of the consumer and the consumption – it provides insights on the socio-cultural background of the consumer as well as the practices surrounding the consumption of a product/service. It delivers another layer of understanding of who your customer is – not just as a consumer of your product, but as a person whose actions and behavior are guided by systems of beliefs and values that gets more visible when getting closer to who your customer is as a private person.

Day-in-the-life: Day-in-the-life studies combines participant observations and other interview techniques and have a broader focus, since they typical will span over a longer period of time – from a day to several of weeks. The combination of data collection techniques and timeframe will always be tailored to the specific research project. 

An example could be: Epinions’ researcher meets with a consumer in his home and participate when a shopping list for the week is made, follow along on the shopping tour and home again, participate in the preparation of the evening meal and dine with the family. The rest of the week the consumer will register - with visuals and text - which other meals are prepared, with whom/how meals are consumed, and additional shopping done (which shops, products purchased, etc.).

The “Day-in-the-life” study though gives even broader AND deeper ethnographic understanding of the socio-cultural background of your customer, and the socio-cultural context and framework for how your product or service is chosen and utilized.

Digital & Mobile Ethnography: Digital Ethnography covers different ethnographical methods for collecting qualitative data digitally:

Online platform: is a closed web forum in which we can have conversations and dialogue with recruited participants via messages and exercises send by us – and where participants can upload and share written, visual and audio material with us and each other.

Live-foto: Through an app we can push out notifications and urge participants to take photos and document their experience – e.g. when they are in specific geographical spot relevant to the research item (when entering a specific store, are at a specific station, etc.)

Netnographi: Collection of and analyzing online data (e.g. on Social Sites) – both texts and visuals. Online channels like social sites, blogs etc. holds a vast amount of consumer data. What is really interesting - seen from an ethnographic point of view – is this is a field of human behavior to be observed in a context that is not fabricated by the researcher.

Talk to a specialist 

We combine more than 17 years of brand research experiencein industry-leading companies with an in-depth understanding of theory and practice. We combine both quantitativequalitative methods or even Mixed methods with market leading data Intelligence in order to provide actionable results.

At Epinion, the people who you meet initially are the people who will actually run your projects.


If you are interested in hearing more about Qualitative research, feel free to give our specialist a call, we are more than happy to share our knowledge.

Our partnerships

Epinion has forged business partnerships with best-in-class companies to provide customers with market-leading Integrated Insights Solutions.

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Commercial Intelligence

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Public Intelligence

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Polls and Political Intelligence

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    ”We are delighted with the highly professional and efficient way Epinion has transitioned our core surveys and introduced new and more efficient field management processes. We look forward to a successful long term contractual relationship."

    David Ellis, Head of Research and Insight, Heathrow Airport

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    “The research that is becoming more and more important to us is the research that is forward thinking because attitudes change rapidly and it is therefore important to be ahead of the consumer all the time. The insights that Epinion provide are very useful as they establish a clear link between analysis, insights and action. This is a very innovative and time saving approach to research that we are very fond of and really helped us in understanding the key priorities.”

    Marianne Gregersen, Consumer Economist, Landbrug & Fødevarer

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    “It is of great value for us that the customer segmentation is done thoroughly and professionally. By combining methods, we are able to create a segmentation which is based on both attitudes and needs. This means that the results are reliable and recognizable for people across the organization”

    Lars Richard Rasmussen, product manager, DSB

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E: contact@epinionglobal.com 

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