Quantitative data collection comes in many forms with the most popular methods being:
This method captures information through the input of responses to a research instrument containing questions (i.e., such as a questionnaire).. Information can be input either by the respondents themselves (e.g., complete online survey) or the researcher can input the data (e.g. phone survey, mall intercept).
The main methods for distributing surveys are via postal mail, phone, website or in person. However, newer technologies are creating additional delivery options including through wireless devices, such as smart phones.
With tracking research marketers are able to monitor the behavior of customers as they engage in regular purchase or information gathering activities. Possibly the most well-known example of tracking research is used by websites as they track customer visits. But tracking research also has offline applications, especially when point-of-purchase scanners are employed, such as tracking product purchases at grocery stores and automated collections on toll roads.
This method of research is expected to grow significantly as more devices are introduced that provide means for tracking. However, as we discussed in the Marketing Research Tutorial, some customers may see tracking devices as intrusive and many privacy advocates have raised concerns about certain tracking methods especially if these are not disclosed to customers.
Marketers often undertake experiments to gauge how the manipulation of one marketing variable affects another (i.e., causal research). The use of experiments has applications for many marketing decision areas including product testing, advertising design, setting price points and creating packaging. For example, a marketing researcher for a retail chain may want to study the effect on sales if a product display is moved to different locations in a store.
Unfortunately, performing highly controlled experiments can be quite costly. Some researchers have found the use of computer simulations can work nearly as well as experiments and may be less expensive, though the number of simulation applications for marketing decisions is still fairly limited.