There are two main types of User Research methodology: qualitative research and quantitative research. Both of them require different approaches and deliver different results, which means they are more or less advantageous for different types of projects.
Let’s take a closer look at these methods.
Qualitative User Research
Qualitative research is mainly centered around observing and collecting insights from non-numerical data points, like your customers’ opinions or stated preferences.
Qualitative data helps to add a human touch to what we’ve come to know as “big data”. It’s an important part of the User Research process because it helps you to understand the numbers from quantitative User Research through the lens of the end user.
Quantitative User Research
Quantitative research, as you might have already guessed, is the process of gathering data in the form of numbers, stats, and anything else which is definitively measurable.
This ultimately delivers factual information about whether something does or does not happen, or is or is not true, like whether a user has chosen to interact with a certain function of your product.
This is the fact-finding art of User Research, whereas qualitative research, as already mentioned, helps you understand and interpret those facts.
These are two different but equally important pillars in User Research methodology and they go a long way to aligning your business vision with consumer perspectives. Therefore, it isn’t a choice between qualitative OR quantitative methods.
Indeed, it is better to employ both of these research methodologies in your process. They bring distinct insights that together empower brands to act confidently on improving their product design. Think of it like driving — you need one hand to work out the gears, and another to steer the car in the right direction.