“Data fraud is a $1 billion a year problem.”
So said an executive from one of the leading sample providers during this year’s annual panel company confab, SampleCon. Practitioners commonly report that between 15% and 30% of their consumer sample consists of fraudulent data. The problem is growing and casting doubt on the reliability and validity of the data that drives expensive and important business decisions.
What to do?
Obviously, diligence in acquiring and reviewing sample and the resulting data is key. But, is it enough? Clients tell us that even after suppliers have “scrubbed” the data, their investigations find an additional 10% to 15% of unusable data.
To combat this, many practitioners are turning to qualitative research as a check on their quantitative studies. Because qualitative research is based on individual or very small groups, each respondent is individually verified during the recruiting and interview process. Being a fraudulent qualitative respondent is much more difficult than being a fraudulent quantitative participant. Therefore, respondent validity in a qualitative interviews is extremely high in comparison to quantitative interviews.
Qualitative methods are also narrowing the gap between qual and quant.
- We are better able to scale qualitative so that even qualitative research can have the needed quantitative component some decision-makers require.
- Hybrid quant-qual methods and other techniques have virtually eliminated time as a barrier. Today qualitative research can be conducted as fast, or faster, than quantitative research.
- Digital qual has also improved dramatically, providing researchers with rich platforms that work well with digital quant methods.
Qualitative research will not replace quantitative research. But it can provide great assurance and verifiable alternatives in this era of uncertainty surrounding quantitative sampling.