One of the most talked about forms of research in recent years, data mining has transformed 21st century life. Data mining by both business and government has raised some questions about how to regulate its use, but the information it provides can’t be ignored. Data mining is here for the foreseeable future, and with regard to market research, can supplement other research methods on the qualitative side to guide the direction of any enterprise.
How Did We Get Here?
Data mining relies on computers to process enormous quantities of data and analyze the results. This allows for accurate projections of potential future data. What has really allowed data mining to take off in recent years is the exponential growth of computing power. In just 3 decades we’ve gone from the introduction of the first clunky personal computer to the internet to massive data storage centers to cloud computing. We are currently in the early research stages of quantum computing, which one day could change the way we process information even further.
How Does Data Mining work with Qualitative Research?
Data mining falls into the category of quantitative research, but is best used in conjunction with qualitative research. Quantitative research can give you the hard numbers, but they can’t explain why something is occurring the way qualitative research does. Only using quantitative research will leave gaps in information, which can lead to missed opportunities and failed executions. Smart organizations use a form of quantitative research, like data mining, and a form of qualitative research, like focus groups, to form a holistic research picture. Together they offer the best path for a company to advance and thrive.
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