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Qualitative Marketing Research and Data Analysis


Course objectives

This course will introduce students to the core principles and practice of qualitative marketing research. The course will enable students to

  • understand the difference between qualitative and quantitative marketing research designs and to distinguish between the marketing problems that they are suited to answer
  • compare sampling methods and design a qualitative sampling plan
  • use the most important qualitative marketing research methods (interviews, focus groups, consumer ethnography and discourse analysis)
  • carry out marketing research in on-line and real-life contexts
  • assess the strengths and limitations of different qualitative research methods
  • analyse qualitative data and draw managerial conclusions
  • reflect on issues of validity, reliability and research ethics in the context of qualitative marketing research.



The content of the class follows the key steps of the research process, starting from research design (including the choice of qualitative vs quantitative designs), sampling, data collection, data analysis and presentation of the findings. As part of the course, will we collectively carry out a mini-research project, allowing students to gain hands-on, practical experience with each step of the marketing research process. We will also read state-of-the art texts on research methodology alongside research articles that apply these methods in practice.



Each class contains lecture and workshop elements. The lecture element gives an overview of the particular research step/method. In the workshop element, we will apply the given step/method to our collective mini-research.



The mark consist of two parts: 50% is the final written exam and 50% are individual and group research assignments related to the mini-research project (e.g. a sampling plan, an interview transcript, observation notes, etc.).

Pass is from grade 6.


Textbooks and/or bibliography

Selected chapters of the following handbooks (a detailed reading list will be available on iCorsi):


*Malhotra, N.K., Nunan, D. and Birks, D.F. (2012). Marketing research: An applied approach. Harlow: Pearson Education.

Bryman, A. (2012). Social Research Methods. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Belk, R.W. (2006). Handbook of qualitative research methods in marketing. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Flick, U. (2006). An introduction to qualitative research. London, Thousand Oaks.

Peñaloza,L., Toulouse N. and Visconti, L.M. (2012). Marketing management: A cultural perspective. Abingdon, Oxon; New York: Routledge.

Poynter, R. (2010). The handbook of online and social media research: Tools and techniques for market researchers. Chichester: Wiley.

Seale, C. (2004). Researching Society and Culture. London, Sage.



Pellandini-Simányi L.

Course director

Conte L.


Additional information

Academic year