Aite Group relies primarily on three methodologies to produce different types of reports. Analysts use one or a combination of these techniques to produce their work:
- Qualitative interviews
- Qualitative surveys
- Quantitative surveys
Aite Group analysts use qualitative interviews when exploring market situations that require insights from a range of stakeholders across an ecosystem. Fielded by Aite Group analysts, qualitative interviews involve semistructured questionnaires with mostly open-ended questions. Conducted iteratively, the interviews probe new areas, adding or excluding questions as the discussion evolves, allowing our analysts to get to the crux of the subject at hand.
A series of qualitative interviews generally results in a market overview report that sizes a particular market, describes trends and the competitive landscape, and makes recommendations to stakeholders.
Aite Group analysts use qualitative surveys to confirm or conceive hypotheses that require insights from a specific set of respondents (e.g., respondents with certain area of responsibility at a particular type of firm or institution). In this case, analysts use a structured, fixed questionnaire format that is intended to obtain insights and collect data rather than to stimulate free-flowing discussion. The term "qualitative" used in this context speaks to the sample size (generally 20 to 40 respondents but may include up to several hundred) and not to the level of structure. When the number of participants in these studies is relatively small, the results are understood to be directionally indicative of the market.
A qualitative survey usually results in a series of reports based on the survey data and the analyst's understanding of the marketplace. It makes recommendations to the targeted population and the vendors serving it. Aite Group fields its qualitative surveys using a variety of approaches—online, by phone, and sometimes in-person.
The primary difference between qualitative surveys and quantitative surveys is the number of participants. For quantitative surveys, Aite Group determines the number of participants by balancing budget, time, and desired level of analysis; the number of participants generally ranges from several hundred to thousands, calibrated to provide the smallest margin of error possible. The way we determine the type of individuals who participate and the structured, fixed nature of the questions is similar to these aspects of qualitative surveys. Aite Group's quantitative surveys are generally executed by a third-party fielding service and may occur online, by phone, or sometimes in-person. Bolstered by the programming and data-analysis knowledge of our survey research experts, our domain experts manage the research.
A quantitative survey usually results in a series of reports that include statistical data and recommendations to financial institutions and technology vendors.