Qualitative (discovery) research
Three reasons to use qualitative research
Qualitative research stops you falling into the 'assumptions' trap. It helps you see the world through the eyes of your users, customers and stakeholders, rather than assuming you know what they think.
One on one interviews give your users, customers and stakeholders the opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings. That means so much more than observing their behaviour. It means listening - or reading - and then using empathy to actively infer what people mean beyond the words they use.
While behavioural science provides many general frameworks that will help predict some user behaviour - especially the mistakes that people make - unless you talk to people you will not understand what they are thinking and feeling.
Qualitative research reveals behaviour in social context. Surveys are by their very nature individualistic and context-free. In contrast, qualitative research is all about the context in which people live their lives and the people they live it with. People are social; they copy other people.
Qualitative research teaches you the language that your users, customers and stakeholders use. If you know the words and phrases that your users use, you can create content that talks to and about your users in a way that shows you understand them.