Chapter 2 looks at the basics of exploratory research design, chiefly characterized by qualitative data, small samples, and the search for new insights. Standard approaches through existing data, observation and communication are reviewed as are familiar techniques such as focus groups, depth interviews, ethnographic studies and projective techniques. With this background, contemporary research from qualitative research providers such as ReD Associates is examined, stressing both the similarities and differences in current practice. In particular, new initiatives enabled by big data and analytics are highlighted, showing the impact even on qualitative studies. The blending of observation and communication, longer or repeated data-gathering opportunities, and gamification are all discussed in the context of traditional exploratory designs.
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