Choose Your Methodology

Quality research can ensure business decisions that will strengthen the bottom line through smart marketing.

Below are some of the approaches I have adapted and the proprietary techniques and data interpretation methods I have created to provide the best quality research at a good value.

You can read more about best approaches in my book Qualitative Marketing Research: An Interactive Approach (2014). Available for download from and Amazon Kindle. It's both user-friendly and comprehensive.

"Barbara Rugen understands different respondent types and handles the unique challenges of each. She has a good tool box and knows which tool to use for the respondent types and the subject you're probing."

Vice President of Qualitative Research,
Burke Marketing Research

Sample Formats

  • One-on-Ones, Dyads - for sensitive issues, detailed probing, step-by-step decision making
  • Mini-Groups, Focus Groups - for in-depth probing, defining and clarifying perceptions, generating ideas, using group dynamics of homogeneous respondents
  • On-site - for observational studies, for studies where personal environment jumpstarts ideas and associations
  • Telephone and On-Line Focus Groups - for bringing together hard-to-reach people
  • On-Line Bulletin Boards - when you want insights through "community" communication and discussion over a period of time
  • Learning Labs - daylong interaction between different respondent segments and clients to achieve the fullest implications around brand and product on a continuously iterative basis
  • Maxi-Groups, Several-on-Several, Enterprise - for clarifying and evaluating perceptions
  • Integrated - quantitative and qualitative research

"She shines. She is the first one to call."

Assistance In Marketing

Sample Techniques

For when you've developed prototypes or are entering a new category and want a first-hand knowledge of the consumers, their buying behavior and product needs. For when you want to get at the heart of the problem by probing concrete, individual experiences:

  • Phenomenon Interviews - to experience what the respondent experiences
  • Step-by-Step Flow - to guide respondents to increasingly specific answers
  • Situational Drawings - to uncover underlying emotions or learn more about the details of a situation or event
  • Scripting - to guide respondents through their decision-making processes
  • Re-enactment - to reconstruct habits and routines
  • Nominal - to ensure coverage of divergent opinions
  • Sensory Immersion - to better define position or concept
  • Sorting - to identify key features
  • Perceptual mapping - to show brands/attributes in relation to each other
  • Spatial Relationships™ - to understand environmental relationships in order to turn retail/service industry space into places that motivate purchase and consumer/brand relationships
  • Modified Delphi - to identify and forecast trends

For exploring ways of sensitizing consumers to new or existing products, for brainstorming, for acclimating your staff or stakeholders to changes:

  • Brainstorming Interviews - to stimulate creative thinking
  • Sentence Completion - to gain top-of-mind reactions
  • Image Profiles - to explore respondents' image of a product
  • Metaphors - to prompt thinking outside of normal thinking patterns
  • Semantic Conversions - to develop positive or negative alternatives to perceptions
  • Collage - to contemporize brand equity

For competitive positioning, brand identification, concept testing:

  • Imaging - to explore respondents' perception of the target audience
  • Chits™ - to capture awareness of competitive brand attributes
  • Layering of Projective Techniques, Story Telling, and Laddering - to understand consumers at a deeper than normal level in order to relate personal values to brand attributes
  • Respondent Given Circumstances™ - for exploring the full context of product need and usage
  • Lifechoice Motivations™ - for exploring the relation between emotional drivers and product improvements
  • Improvisation - to reconstruct emotions and behavior
  • Picture Sorts - to dimensionalize emotional responses in concrete images
  • Archetypal Imagery™ - for discerning brand archetypes

For interpreting the data:

  • Textual Analysis - analysis of what respondents say (includes verbatims)
  • Pattern Analysis™ - analysis of emotional and behavioral patterns to capture the emotional logic driving purchase

"We appreciate your hard work and especially the fact that you were part of 'our team.' Thatís really what we were looking for and you absolutely provided that with your insights and dedication."

Research Manager
Parker Marketing Research

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