Both qualitative and quantitative research offers valuable information to a business. Quantitative offers more of the data and numbers side of the research while qualitative focuses more about the market, demographics, and business plan. Both play an important role to find out your business’s potential and current position.
In more recent years, companies have turned to a secondary source for research: social media. Research tools have been greatly impacted by social media. Some qualitative research tools have even taken to using interfaces like Facebook or Twitter have. As social media grows, so does its analytics. Research is now being done through social media's analytics. You have to be careful with people’s information though. It reminds me a lot of Facebook’s new graph search where you can search your friend’s information. You can search what your friends, co-workers or people on Facebook like to do, or where they like to eat and hang out. It’s in its beta phase right now and is excited to release their new search. I’m curious to see if this catches on in the Facebook world, because this could become an amazing business tool. I have the feeling though that graph search will start up and die very quickly. They are smart to use internal search tools, but people don’t really update their profiles. Social media is more about the here and now.
It’s important to take everything with a grain of salt and do other research aside from someone’s social media. Most people will be opinionated on social media, weighing results. I know the things I have “liked” on Facebook don’t make a great representation of whom I really am. Just for kicks and giggles I went to my Facebook and looked at my profile. It said I “liked” watching paint dry and dancing in the rain. These were things I posted on my Facebook when I was 14 because I thought I was being funny. Social media can be a great outlet for qualitative and quantitative research though if it’s used as a secondary tool. I think social media can be great tool to businesses if used with care and caution.