Business Research Methods: Definition and Types

Business Research Methods: Definition and Types

6 mins read167 Views Comment
Chanchal Aggarwal
Senior Executive Content
Updated on Feb 28, 2024 18:55 IST

Business research methods are categorized into quantitative and qualitative approaches. Quantitative research, often numerical, focuses on gathering statistical data to identify patterns and trends. On the other hand, Qualitative research seeks to understand deeper insights and perspectives through methods such as focus groups and in-depth interviews.


Guess what? There’s this one golden rule that all the big-shot brands follow, no matter how different their vibes are. Be it the sporty swag of Nike, the timeless buzz of Coca-Cola, the comforting touch of Britannia, or the futuristic flair of Apple. The secret sauce behind their mega success, the one thing that’s not changing anytime soon, is their all-in bet on “Business Research”. It’s like their backstage pass to staying in the limelight, rocking the market scene for years to come!

In today’s fast-paced market, it’s all about keeping the customers happy and hooked. Tastes are changing at a breakneck speed, and competition is just going through the roof. The only way to keep up and shine is by having a solid game plan built on serious market homework. Jumping in without knowing the ground realities is like setting yourself up for a fall, increasing the chances of a flop show. Businesses also emphasise on Marketing Research, which is a part of Business Research.

This article will help you understand the “Meaning of Business Research” and its importance. Also, we will cover “Business Research Methods”. Let’s explore!

Table of Content

  • What is Business Research?
  • Types of Business Research
    • Qualitative Research
    • Types of Qualitative Research
    • Quantitative Research
    • Types of Quantitative Research

What is Business Research?

Business research is the process of collecting and analysing information related to customers and competitors. This information is necessary to make informed marketing decisions and position their product in the right manner. Additionally, this information assists organizations in recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of their existing marketing strategy and taking appropriate marketing actions accordingly. 

Factors that marketers need to consider before conducting market research. Some of them are:

  • Customers and market competition
  • Awareness and image of the product
  • Usage of the product
  • Undiagnosed issues with the product
  • Customers need and demand for new product development

Types of Business Research

Companies conduct business research based on both primary data and secondary data. It is the compass that guides companies through the ever-changing business landscape. It helps us understand market trends, customer preferences, and competition, enabling informed decisions that lead to growth and long-term success. Qualitative and quantitative are two types of business research. Let’s understand both of them in detail.

Qualitative Research

Qualitative research collects non-numerical data. It collects data based on customers’ attitudes, opinions, beliefs, and intentions regarding the company’s product. The question involved in this type of research includes why, what and how questions. It is primarily exploratory research conducted by business organizations to understand why customers behave in a certain manner or how they may respond to a new product. 

What type of data does Qualitative Research cover:

Questions Example Answers (MCQ Format)
What aspect of our brand appeals to you the most? a) Innovative products b) Customer service c) Brand reputation d) Affordable pricing
How would you describe the quality of our products? a) Excellent b) Good c) Average d) Poor
What motivates you to choose our brand over others? a) Quality b) Brand Image c) Recommendations d) Advertising
How do you perceive the value for money of our products? a) Great value b) Reasonable c) Overpriced d) Not sure
What kind of improvements would you like to see in our services? a) Faster response b) More customization options c) Better after-sales service d) More promotional offers

Types of Qualitative Research

Focus Group

What is it?: A focus group is a discussion session where a small group of participants, usually 6-10 people, share their perspectives on a particular topic or set of topics.
How it works?: A moderator guides the discussion, ensuring that all participants get a chance to speak and that the conversation remains on track. The group setting allows for interaction, with participants often building on each other’s ideas.
When to use?: It’s especially useful when you want to gather diverse opinions on a product, service, or concept and see how people react to others’ viewpoints.

Depth Interview

What is it?: An depth interview is a one-on-one conversation between a researcher and a participant.
How it works?: The researcher asks open-ended questions, allowing the participant to share detailed insights and experiences. The setting is usually informal, encouraging the participant to open up.
When to use?: Depth interviews are great for diving deep into individual experiences or when discussing sensitive topics that participants might not feel comfortable sharing in a group setting.

Observational Research

What is it?: Observational research involves watching and analyzing people’s behaviour in natural settings without direct interaction.
How it works?: The researcher takes on the role of an observer, sometimes as a passive observer (without participating in the activity) and sometimes as a participant observer (while being part of the activity).
When to use?: It’s ideal for understanding real-world behaviours, such as how customers use a product or the dynamics of a workplace.

Quantitative Research

Quantitative research is the systematic empirical investigation of observable phenomena via statistical, mathematical or computational techniques. This type of marketing research is based on larger samples and is, therefore, more statistically valid than qualitative marketing research. Quantitative marketing research is concerned with numeric data and addresses questions, such as ‘how many’, ‘how often’, ‘who?’, ‘when?’ and ‘where’?

Quantitative How would you rate our product on a scale of 1-10? “9”
  How many times have you purchased from us in the past year? “Around 5 times.”
  What percentage of your friends would you recommend our product to? “About 80%.”
  How often do you use our product? (Daily, Weekly, Monthly) “Daily.”
  How long do you typically spend using our product each time? “Approximately 30 minutes.”

Types of Qualitative Research


What is it?: Surveys are structured questionnaires that collect data from many respondents. They can be conducted through various mediums such as online, telephonic, or face-to-face.
How it works?: Surveys consist of closed-ended questions that gather numerical data, which can be analyzed statistically to identify trends and patterns.
When to use?: Surveys are ideal for gathering data on customer satisfaction, market trends, or understanding the preferences and opinions of a target audience.

Correlation Research:

What is it?: Correlation research studies the relationship between two or more variables to identify patterns and trends.
How it works?: In this method, data is collected on multiple variables, and statistical analysis is used to determine if there is a relationship between them. The relationship can be positive, negative, or no correlation.
When to use?: It’s used to determine if changes in one variable are associated with changes in another variable, such as the correlation between advertising spend and sales.

Experimental Research:

What is it?: Experimental research is a method where researchers manipulate one variable to study its effect on another variable.
How it works?: In this method, participants are divided into groups, where one group is exposed to a change (experimental group), and the other is not (control group). The outcomes are then compared to determine the effect of the manipulated variable.
When to use?: It’s used to establish cause-and-effect relationships, often in scientific research to test hypotheses and theories.

About the Author
Chanchal Aggarwal
Senior Executive Content

Chanchal is a creative and enthusiastic content creator who enjoys writing research-driven, audience-specific and engaging content. Her curiosity for learning and exploring makes her a suitable writer for a variety ... Read Full Bio