Teaching Qualitative Market Research: Multi-Perspectival Evaluation of a Curriculum Innovation
The principal goal of teaching qualitative market research in a business degree programme at a university of applied sciences is to provide students with methodological skills that prove applicable in practice and are, at the same time, compliant with prevailing standards of academic research. Creating an appropriate curriculum that includes the methods of conducting expert interviews and carrying out focus groups poses challenges to instructors and students, both full-time and part-time. Designed as a "research workshop," the course we designed turned out to be most effective for teaching future graduates of business administration how to use relevant and practical qualitative market research methods. Students had to implement independently both research techniques 1. within their group and 2. in teams. They were thereby enabled to draw on synergies with respect to the recruitment of interview partners, implementation of analysis methods, and the visualization of results. At the same time, they gathered experiences in the triangulation of methods and data. Concurrently, a critical examination of quality criteria in the field of qualitative market research—as opposed to commonly used quantitative approaches—was ensured. Referring to the organization and communication efforts required by instructors and students, the integration of blended learning in this project-oriented course design made the implementation of this programme highly complex. The experiences reported here provide a solid basis for future programs that intend to teach qualitative market research techniques to prospective graduates of business administration in a blended learning framework.
expert interview; focus group; group discussion; qualitative content analysis; blended learning; didactics; research workshop; market research