Do we need techniques while we still have feelings?

Date of publication: February 1, 1970

Author: Leslie Collins


In this session, we are concerned to consider the relative merits of qualitative and quantitative work. In theory, I am sure we would all agree that these two forms of work are not by any means mutually exclusive, but are complementary. I certainly hold that view. However, there is much room for discussion as to the relative contribution each kind of approach may make. It is here we may disagree. My own view - and I speak as one, admittedly, who specialises in qualitative work - is clear; it is, that quantitative methods are entirely inadequate of themselves, and that without the qualitative approach, most market research is sterile, if not misleading. In order to sustain this point of view, I want to spend a little time in reviewing with you, first the nature of market research, and next something of the nature of scientific work in general, and of social science in particular with which market research has much affinity. I shall then return to make what I regard as the proper evaluation of the qualitative approach.

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