Scoping studies exist to enable marketing professionals to improve their understanding of consumer behaviour and their underlying attitudes. The research aims to shed light on consumer expectations that have been met, as well as those that haven’t, within the market.
Benefitting from the rich complementarity that exists between the qualitative and quantitative approaches, scoping studies provide you with a full panorama of customer attitudes (what they want, what they’re thinking) and behaviour (what they do).
For these reasons, a scoping study is composed of two distinct phases:
- An exploratory qualitative phase. First of all we will examine as a whole the very diversity of perceptions, representations, habits and opinions that implicitly make up consumer behaviour and attitudes. This phase enables you to broaden your knowledge of the various themes in relation to your relevant issues by both bringing you up to date with certain points and highlighting new elements.
To this end we identify the key behaviours and the logic behind them together, particularly to reveal needs and desires of which you are as yet unaware. Depending on the nature of the study, we usually carry out individual interviews or organise focus groups but could also use other techniques such as observation in the participant’s home or ‘live’ in the place where the participant uses the particular good or service.
- A phase of quantitative measures. Secondly we bring a quantitative dimension to the results that have been obtained during the first phase of the study. This allows us to validate the hypotheses that have been formulated, measure the extent of certain trends or indeed the importance of certain behaviour, and therefore guarantee the reliability and the exactitude of the data collected.
The correct understanding of the behaviour that has been highlighted during the qualitative phase facilitates the construction of an optimal questionnaire, as it will be totally in phase with the reality of the fieldwork. In order to ensure the contextualisation of the interviews, the quantitative fieldwork of scoping studies often takes place at the participant’s home, by face-to-face interviews, or online. Moreover, when the consumption frequency or the type of product warrants it, we suggest that it could be useful to equip interviewees with a usage diary.
This data collection technique is valuable in two main ways: firstly it works with the declarative questionnaire to obtain data that is more factual and reliable than that based only the interviewee’s declarations ‘from memory’. Secondly, this technique enables the participants to put their own attitudes into perspective and to be more aware of their usage and attitudes, thereby giving a further depth to the research study.