Custom Qualitative Research


You can’t always see change coming.

Data - measurement, tracking, testing - can provide strong indicators of what is and isn’t working today. Where they often struggle is in telling you what’s new, what’s different, what’s changing right now.

Our clients come to us when they need information that’s not easily observed on a dashboard, or that might not fit with established patterns.

Qualitative research can be used not only to stimulate new thinking, new hypotheses, and new ideas - but also to develop new metrics and tools that can help size the market, scope the incidence of problems, and evaluate new products, concepts or messaging.


We help you figure out where to look.

We start with developing hypotheses. We do this to avoid the three fatal errors of research:

  • We already knew that”: we look for questions you don’t already have the answers to.

  • Streetlight effect”: we look for answers where they’re most likely to be, not where it’s easiest to look.

  • Garbage in, garbage out”: we question assumptions and challenge pre-existing beliefs.

We dig into the information and data you already have, looking for outliers and unexplained patterns, and then we talk to people - your stakeholders, subject matter experts, key partners, best and worst customers, most likely prospects and longest-shots.


We tailor the method to the objective and audience.

We have an established and evolving toolkit of qualitative methods, but we customize our approach to your project’s objectives and audience.

What’s that mean?

  • Observation: We conduct in-home or in-office interviews, shop-alongs, service safaris, and think-aloud user testing interviews so we can see people in action.

  • Diary studies: We ask participants to video and audio record themselves completing a series of tasks and reflect on those ‘missions’ over the course of several days.

  • In-person or remote interviews: We talk to people one-on-one about their context, customer journey, how they think and talk about their choices and behavior, and their feedback on concepts, prototypes and messaging.

  • Discussion groups (or focus groups): We gather small group discussions or creative workshops when social dynamics are a strong influence on choices and preferences, and when ideas are still in development and pliable.


Let’s talk.

To get a sense of these methods in practice, check out our case studies.

Want to hear more about how these methods could work for you? Get in touch!