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What is Qualitative Data?

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

According to the Qualitative Research Consultants Association, qualitative data “uses in-depth studies of small groups of people to guide and support the construction of hypotheses.” While qualitative research methodologies are based in social and behavioral sciences like anthropology and psychology, many approaches and techniques can be applied to market research.

Qualitative data differs from quantitative data in numerous ways. Conceptually, qualitative data helps to:

  • Uncover the values and beliefs of individual life experiences,
  • Share how reality depends on a person’s point of view, and
  • Understand the nuances of individual experiences.

This differs from quantitative data, which aims to:

  • Measure values and beliefs of a population of people,
  • Make relative and absolute comparisons between groups, and
  • Reveal broad patterns among large groups of individuals.

Qualitative data is anecdotal; this means it is based in stories and responses to questions that are analyzed for underlying themes. Alternatively, quantitative data is closed-ended and has only specific response options for participants to choose from, which enables numerical and statistical analysis. When people think of quantitative data, they typically think of closed-ended survey questions. In comparison, qualitative data often bring focus groups and interviews to mind.

How does Corona use qualitative data?

A researcher’s use of qualitative data depends on the overall research question. As with quantitative data, an individual must make sure that he or she is collecting data that aims to answer a specific question. As discussed in a previous blog, researchers at Corona Insights ask whether anecdotal data will help us explore a concept, clarify a trend we already know, or narrate a more complete picture of a given situation or context before choosing a specific research methodology. Once the purpose of the qualitative data is identified, we then pick a qualitative research approach that best fits the needs and goals of a specific project.  

Beyond focus groups and one-on one interviews, Corona Insights has many qualitative data methodologies in our research toolbox. A few of our favorites for creatively meeting the specific needs of our individual clients, projects, and research goals are visualized below.


What is data storytelling?

Photo by Nong Vang on Unsplash

While researchers hope that everyone is as fascinated with their research findings as they are, most people do not have time to read through long reports with dense paragraphs of  complex findings, graphs, and charts. Leaders and executives need to know the most important research findings so they can implement data informed and strategic next steps. Here is where effective data storytelling comes into play. Data storytelling is another way of saying data visualization. However, data storytelling is a step beyond data visualization because it involves taking research findings and transforming them into a visually appealing summary sheet that paints a picture of what the findings are, why they are important, and what they can be used for. You might have heard of the dashboard, one common and effective data storytelling style of report.

A data story typically involves a visual presentation of data that can easily be created with visualization tools like those available with the simple Microsoft Office package or with a more advanced tool like Tableau. Overall, data storytellers are often charged with the task of revealing useful and hard-hitting data in a manner that is cohesive and captivating. Quality data visualizations that effectively tell a story do so by removing the noise, making sense of the data in a coherent way, and highlighting trends.

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What is a Push-to-Web Survey?

I attended the American Association of Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) annual conference a few weeks ago, and I was happy to see that many sessions delved into the details of the push-to-web survey approach. Presentations described how many large and long-running surveys have transitioned from traditional phone modes to address-based push-to-web modes.

Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

Potentially, push-to-web surveys have a lot of advantages, including saving time, saving money, and even reducing bias. However, this survey approach requires planning and nuance to execute correctly.  Without careful tending, a push-to-web survey can turn sour and result in inferior data at a greater cost, something we all want to avoid.

This blog will discuss push-to-web surveys by exploring a few questions:

  1. What is a push-to-web (P2W) survey? 
  2. When should you consider a P2W? and
  3. What are P2W best practices?
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What is Statistical Significance?

You may have recently seen the phrase “statistically significant” in an article to note that an occasional glass of red wine can increase life expectancy (let’s hope so) or that your daily coffee intake is causing some kind of malady (worth it). Statistical significance is critical for how we understand important differences in groups and determine whether interventions had effects, but what does it actually mean? How is it determined? When should it be calculated in market research? Whether you haven’t thought about statistical significance since high school stats or see it on a daily basis and just want to make sure you are interpreting it correctly, here is a quick overview of the concept and the tale of the lady tasting tea.

What Does “Statistically Significant” Mean?

In short, statistical significance means that the difference we observe between two groups is unlikely to be attributed to random chance. Note that this tells us nothing about the importance of this difference. In fact, many statistically significant findings are trivial in terms of their actual importance. Why do we compare differences to random chance? How do we determine if a difference is distinct from random chance? Let’s talk tea.

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Happy 20th Anniversary, Karla Raines!

Karla Raines of our company is fond of saying that you have to do something for 10,000 hours to become an expert at it.  We at Corona believe that she’s right, because as she celebrates her 20th year at Corona Insights this week we’ve seen the impact of her 40,000 hours of strategic planning experience.  We can confidently say that she’s an expert four times over.

As consultants, our presence and power tends to be diluted across a large number of clients.  From an individual client’s perspective, we come in, do our thing, and then we glide back out to the periphery until we’re needed again.  But in reality, we’re not just waiting in the wings for the next call – we’re working with other clients.  Over the years, Karla has illuminated strategic paths for hundreds of clients.

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Denver Data Storytellers – Blended Storytelling Strategies

As data storytellers, we’re often charged with the task of revealing useful and hard-hitting data in a manner that is cohesive and captivating. Sharing data in a meaningful way is difficult and blending different types of data together can make it even more challenging.

Great visualization tools for quantitative data have made it easier to share quantitative findings. However, it is important to remember the value that qualitative data bring, and the importance of highlighting participant or customer voice. This event will explore how qualitative and quantitative findings can be effectively blended to tell a more interconnected, nuanced, and comprehensive story. We will highlight real-life examples from research in the private and public sectors. Your presenters include:

  • Kate Darwent – Director, Corona Insights
  • Molly Hagan – Associate, Corona Insights
  • Caitlin McAteer – Associate, Corona Insights

This event will be hosted on July 15th from 12 – 1 pm. Register here.



VOC Research – Not Just for Volatile Organic Compounds Anymore

Photo by SpaceX on Unsplash

As a wannabe astronaut since I was about 5 years old, I’m a big fan of SpaceX.  It’s super cool to see the progress that has been made just in the last decade when a new, energetic startup truly pushes the capabilities of spaceflight.  When I read over discussions about their progress toward manned spaceflight, though, I’m reminded that government agencies (and the organizations that work with them like SpaceX) love acronyms.  For someone not deeply embedded in the industry, it’s easy to become lost in discussions about the F9 launch from LC-39A that was NET May 27th and would launch astronauts to the ISS, which is in LEO, and the booster that would come back and land on the ASDS named OCISLY.

Thankfully, the world of marketing and market research isn’t near that full of jargon.  However, we do have our own blind spots to terminology that is obvious to those of us who work in the industry but may be completely unknown to those who don’t.  For the next month or two, therefore, we’ll be focusing on some of these industry terms and trying to explain what they really mean for our clients.

To start out this discussion, let’s chat about VOC research.  At its core, the concept is simple.  VOC research is intended to bring the “voice of the customer” to the table when leaders are discussing and debating strategies.  The idea is that customers are at the core of nearly any organization’s strategy, so it is vital to make sure that you are constantly listening to what they have to say and considering how you can better meet their needs. 

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Corona’s Commitment

Our communities are hurting. As we reach the 14th day of protests here in Denver against police brutality and systemic racism, the Corona team has been listening, learning, and reflecting.  

Photo by Henry Desro on Unsplash

We mourn with our Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) neighbors and friends at the injustices they face at the hands of systems that oppress them. This is a reckoning moment for our country, as we collectively acknowledge that our country’s history is one characterized by systemic racism and oppression; that we live in a country built by Black bodies through Black oppression and Black death. Children have different opportunities in life simply because of the zip code into which they were born. Data can predict a person’s life span based on his or her ethnic identity—this disparity is one of many symptoms of a system in need of revision.  

In our work, inequity of ethnic and sexual minorities consistently presents stories of worse public health outcomes, access to resources, opportunities for advancement, and the ability to participate in research due to the time and access to technology or transportation that this requires. Like everyone, Corona researchers are imperfect humans with our own blind spots that we have been inspired to recognize and address. Members of our staff have been active in the community, re-educating ourselves on the realities of minority experiences in our own communities, and engaging in honest conversations with our coworkers, friends, family, and neighbors.   

At Corona Insights, our roles as researchers, evaluators, and consultants are vital because we are a window of communication between leaders and the public, and we are an advisor to those leaders.  As a company, we prioritize uncovering the truth for the good of all, and this includes engaging the community, lifting up the voice of the underserved, and identifying structural barriers to equity. 

We do not believe in simply checking boxes: we are getting to work. As an organization, we are deepening our efforts to listening, learning, and acting with equity. We understand that delivering on promises of equity and justice will require ongoing work and steadfast commitment. Earlier this year, our team formed an equity task force. As one result of this initiative, Corona Insights is hiring a Colorado-based diversity consultant to create an actionable plan for how Corona Insights can further embrace and express an equitable perspective in our work.  

We will emphasize the importance of this present moment in history.  

We will take pride in stating clearly that Black Lives Matter.  

We will listen. We will learn. We will grow.  


Community and Research: Making the Case for a Nuanced Understanding

Photo by Park Troopers on Unsplash

What is community? We hear the word thrown about in a multitude of contexts and meanings, but what is it really? The Oxford Dictionary defines community as a “a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.”  But how are we defining and identifying those commonalities? 

When quarantine lockdown began in Colorado in March 2020, I posed a question about community on social media. I asked how people were defining community during coronavirus. It is a rare phenomena for the global “community” to simultaneously share a common experience. I wondered if community was being thought of in a new way during these unprecedented times.  

Somewhat surprisingly, many of the responses provided by personal and professional acquaintances did not speak of a larger, global community. Rather than using expansive terms, many spoke of communities on a hyper-local scale. Their current community was being defined by their family, their coworkers, the local restaurant owners and hospitality workers.

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