Qualitative research provides an understanding of how or why things are as they are. For example, a Market Researcher may stop a consumer who has purchased a particular type of bread and ask him or her why that type of bread was chosen. Unlike quantitative research there are no fixed set of questions but, instead, a topic guide (or discussion guide) is used to explore various issues in-depth. The discussion between the interviewer (or moderator) and the respondent is largely determined by the respondents' own thoughts and feelings.
In addition, qualitative research can also be conducted on a ‘one on one’ basis i.e. an in-depth interview with a trained executive interviewer and one respondent, a paired depth (two respondents), a triad (three respondents) and a mini group discussion (4-5 respondents).