What Is Triangulation in Qualitative Research?

What Is Triangulation in Qualitative Research?

There are several approaches to qualitative research, with each method focusing on a different characteristic of consumer behavior. Sometimes, researchers will choose to use a combination of these techniques – rather than just one – to gain a more comprehensive data set.

Triangulation is an approach that uses multiple qualitative research methods in conjunction to develop a thorough understanding of a product. A single research method might reveal some aspects of consumer responses, but one or more methods – utilized in conjunction – can reveal a rounder, robust, and more accurate portrait of consumer behavior.

Monadic testing can supply information on how people view a single product in isolation, sequential monadic testing can provide comparative analysis, and a focus group might give you an idea of what kinds of discussions are had about that certain product. A study that is designed with the intent to employ all three techniques can take the results from one into account, shaping the approaches of the others.

Example
A team of market researchers is studying audience responses to an advertising campaign run by a mattress company. Their monadic and sequential monadic testing of the ads show them that participants had mixed feelings about the ads, and had stronger negative feelings towards Ad B, a more humorous version of Ad A. The researchers hypothesize that Ad B wasn’t funny enough.

Through a focus group, the researchers decide to hone in on the critical responses towards Ad B, and question what exactly about the advertisement was so unappealing. The discussion opens up and participants disclose that the humor in Ad B trivializes lower back issues, whereas Ad A is more effective at conveying information about the company’s mattresses and how they can diminish back pain.

Without the prior knowledge of how participants rated the ads in the monadic/sequential monadic testing, the focus group conversation might have gone in a different direction. And without the candid discussion in the focus group, the researchers wouldn’t have reached an accurate conclusion. The results from these three different qualitative research methods reveal insights that just one wouldn’t be able to.

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Dushyant Naresh About the author
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