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Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research

We recently lost an employee who used to craft our students' online surveys using as a tool to measure learning outcomes. As a result, and until we backfill the position, we are now only conducting Focus Group discussions. We use to do both; Focus Groups and online surveys.

I'm trying to reassure my boss that Focus Group data (Qualitative) will work until we can get our online survey process (Quantitative) back online.

Are surveys used to measure learning outcomes that much more reliable than Focus Group interviews? Again, until we backfill the position for the person who will craft our online student surveys, my position is for conducting Focus Groups. Granted, our Focus Group will consist of just 10 students; small sample. However, the total population for this particular course is only fifty students. Any idea how I should go about defending my position?

One important variable to consider before you answer this question is the students' demographics. Most of the students in this course are Latin-American officers from their countries Army, police etc. Culture is definitely a factor!

Solution Preview

In my research, I have found an overwhelming push toward focus group type marketing for Latin-Americans over survey type marketing. In addition to being more personal and possibly being more valid, focus group studies bring people together which is important in Latin-American culture, according to this article.

http://www.allied-media.com/Hispanic%20Market/hispanic_american_market.html

"Relationship marketing is also key. Hispanics respond well to people who, "make them feel part of the family," and who extend themselves to provide excellent customer service."

"As demonstrated through its strong family and community ties, this group is relationship-oriented and personal contact is important not only in attracting business, but also in maintaining customer loyalty. This feeling of "inclusion" and "belonging" could be reinforced by highlighting culturally relevant themes in promotions. In Los Angeles, for example, special programs could be developed around the Mexican holiday, Cinco de Mayo."

Hispanics feel the need to make a connection with what they are doing ...

Solution Summary

Pros of focus group studies as they pertain to surveys. Most of the research centers around Latin-Americans.

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