With Partners, Structure Quantitative Research
In certain scenarios, qualitative research has to be supplemented with quantitative research that uses representative statistical data. Qualitative research is very useful to get nuanced answers to conceptual questions or to outline options; quantitative research tests the output of qualitative research in a robust manner.
What percentage of oncologists in Malaysia agree with a particular policy decision?
How many doctors polled in Tanzania believe adequate money is being spent by the government on health research and how many do not?
At what price will a new intervention be affordable?
What percentage of global opinion leaders need to endorse an idea before it becomes accepted wisdom?
There are important caveats: quantitative research can be very misleading about future scenarios because respondents have no chance to explore or become familiar with ideas. Remember, McKinsey confidently told a client in the 1990s that the mobile telephony market in Africa would never exceed $300 million a year — they had hard numbers and good methodology to back up the prediction. It was just the wrong way to try to get an answer.
Quantitative research is also dangerous in areas that respondents have not thought about much or do not find compelling: they may give almost random answers. A European professional society once commissioned one of the largest market research companies in the world to ask questions about cardiology. The resulting data appeared to show that 47 percent of Europeans thought that left ventricular function tests should be more widely used in a clinical setting. It was, of course, nonsense and the company should have refused to ask such silly questions.
The data and answers gleaned from quantitative market research exercises can be implemented in your messaging strategy to further strengthen your message. Baird’s CMC has a long history of conducting research assignments using the strengths of both qualitative and quantitative research with partners such as Barometer Research in India and RAND Europe.
What we’ve done
- A 48-country market research exercise looking at the state of clinical trial funding in sub-Saharan Africa for a major international foundation. Baird’s CMC conducted the qualitative and policy research part of the engagement while partner RAND Europe looked at hard data and literature reviews to supplement their findings on health research funding and cross country collaborations in these countries
- Baird’s CMC was a key partner in the multi-national Mapping Pathways project, which provided a community-led, research-driven, multi-layered synthesis about the use of antiretroviral-based prevention strategies. Project partners included RAND, AIDS Foundation of Chicago, AIDS United, Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation and Naz India. Baird’s CMC helped conduct key stakeholder interviews, draft messaging strategies, wrote original blog posts and coordinated social media outreach. After two years of data collection and analysis in the United States, South Africa and India, RAND published a synthesis in a report titled Mapping Pathways: Developing Evidence-Based, People-Centred Strategies for the Use of Antiretrovirals as Prevention