Why Empathy is Replacing Insight in Qualitative Research Agencies

October 1, 2016

For some time now marketing research has been moving more and more towards the consumer ‘experience’. The human motivation has always been a qualitative research-eras ball game, but now we not only want to hear what our users think, we also want to walk in their shoes.

Till last year this would come under the spectrum of consumer insight. But now we have made it a bit more specific and difficult at the same time. Insight has now become em pa-thy and it is billed to the hottest emerging trends in qualitative research today. It seems to be gaining ground in India as well with many Indian Qualitative Research Agencies now focusing on empathizing with their respondents rather than merely looking for an insight.

The Difference

The two may seem interchangeable for some, but in reality there is one stark difference between insight and empathy. In case of insight, a researcher uses data, interviews and other research tools to understand the user mindset.

When we stress on empathy this role of the researcher becomes different. The researcher does not just observe and record, she must also put herself in the shoes of the respond-nest. The researcher has to not only identify with her sample group, she must think of herself as one!

Pros Vs Cons

The argument against empathy is often that it takes away the impartiality of researcher. When she identifies too deeply with the respondent, she may become biased and fail to see the results in an impersonal light.

But the truth is that a Qualitative Research Agency must essentially deal with human experienc-es. Putting herself in the place of the respondents gives her the closest possible under-standing of their experiences. It gives us answers for the most essential question in any qualitative — why is user behaving so?

For a quality research agency with overseas clients from countries like UK and Singa-pore, empathy lets us see how our respondents actually see such companies and their product, how their own bias colours their view of a foreign company.

One of the most important emerging trends in qualitative research today is the short to empathy from mere insight. It is a trend that Indian Qualitative Research Agencies cannot ignore.

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