Qualitative research is about finding out not just what people think but why they think it. It is about getting people to talk about their opinions so you can understand their motivations and feelings.Face-to-face interviews and group discussions are the best way to get this kind of in-depth feedback. Qualitative research can be valuable when you are developing new products or coming up with new marketing initiatives and you want to test reactions and refine your approach.For instance, if you run a restaurant and you want to introduce a new lunch menu, you could invite a small group of local people to come and taste the food and give you feedback on your service and proposed pricing. This kind of exercise might only take a few hours and would not cost you much but it could provide you with important feedback and increase your chances of success.Alternatively, perhaps you are launching a new product. Before you go into production, it is vital to get your product into the hands of some members of your target market. Is it easy to use, does it do what it is supposed to, is the design appealing? Does it look as if it will compare to existing competitive products in-store? Is the packaging working? Is the price right? This type of customer research almost always throws up one or two important issues that can then be ironed out before you launch your product.