Behavioural intention, such as going to the gym, losing weight and staying healthy, does not always translate into actual behaviour; and strong, personal brand preferences do not always translate into actual brand choices.

Qualitative research offers the greatest opportunity to understand why – but its ability to deliver the correct explanation depends on where it looks for the answers.

This feature explores how qualitative research must look beyond traditional Freudian questions, focused on asking respondents to consider their deeper motivations and desires, and examine the internal and external contextual factors that can exert an equal influence over decision-making:

  • How the adaptive unconscious can be best understood
  • Techniques for reconstructing past events and behaviour in context, including diary formats and cognitive interviewing
  • The specific, expert interpretative skills required to peel back layers of explanation, and reveal the real drivers of behaviour.
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