Effectively gathering and synthesizing data is paramount for successful product discovery and development. Despite the criticality of these elements, organizations often struggle to determine how to conduct them and whether to give more importance to the quantitative or qualitative information collected.

The Mixed Method approach, a technique combining elements of both qualitative and quantitative research, has proven to be arguably more effective as it presents a deeper, more comprehensive response to hypothesized inquiries. The following piece will dive deeper into the proposed methodology and what makes it so powerful.

But first, before diving too deep into the Mixed Method, it is important to thoroughly understand the two types of research included and the key role each plays in product discovery.

Qualitative Analysis

Qualitative research is defined as the use of subjective judgment to gather insight into non-quantifiable data. The focus of this research centers on understanding people and culture as opposed to numeric values. A common use for qualitative analysis is when there is a need to understand a concept instead of trying to test its validity. Common methods include:

  • Interviews (Open-ended questions)
  • Focus group discussions
  • Participation in a community or group to closely observe culture and behaviour

When conducting product discovery, qualitative research is an effective approach to generating insights surrounding the root cause of urgent and important problems users are experiencing.

Quantitative Analysis

Quantitative research is defined as the use of statistics and mathematical formulas to research and understand behavior. In other words, quantitative analysis is best used to assign a numerical value to answering questions. The most common use for quantitative analysis is when there is a need to test a theory or hypothesis. Common methods include:

  • Surveys (Closed-ended questions or multiple choice)
  • Experiments in which variables can be manipulated to establish cause and effect
  • Observations in a natural environment in which variables cannot be controlled

In terms of product discovery, quantitative research enables us to determine how much value addressing a problem will truly add to the product, in other words, validation.

The Mixed Method

As mentioned, the Mixed Method approach combines elements of both Quantitative and Qualitative methods in order to answer research questions effectively. The benefit is more comprehensive feedback to questions that provide numeric values as well as an objective understanding of non-measurable concepts.

Below we have outlined the most common approaches to the Mix Method:

Convergent Parallel

For this approach, both forms of data are collected simultaneously but are analyzed separately. Once all analysis is finished, the results are compared and insights are derived for overall conclusions.

Explanatory Sequential

Here, quantitative data is collected and analyzed first, followed by the qualitative data set analysis. This design is most useful when the qualitative data collected can help shape and contextualize the quantitative findings.

Exploratory Sequential

The inverse of explanatory, for exploratory the qualitative data is collected and analyzed first, followed by the quantitative. This method is most useful when qualitative data can be collected to develop a hypothesis that can be tested by the quantitative findings.


The Mixed Method provides researchers with a “best of both worlds” approach to understanding and testing research questions. The flexibility of research design combined with the many different approaches presents a case for the Mixed Method to be used in all circumstances of exploratory research.