Hybrid Research Explained: What It Is & How to Use It

Kimberly Surico |
 06/16/22 |
6 min read

Hybrid Research Explained: What It Is & How to Use It

Picture it: A business has spent a vast amount of resources developing a product that isn’t moving as expected. It offers significant cost savings for the buyer and still falls short. To solve this puzzle, the business should find answers in its research – something that just isn’t connecting as planned. If their hybrid research is solid, they will be able to pivot and capture the market. Here’s how – and why it’s a must have capability.

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The process to sort this problem out requires referring back to your market research to narrow down the challeenges. When relying on traditional research methods, this would take two phases of market research and different strategies to arrive at an actionable conclusion. With the new, dynamic approach, every timeline is accelerated. Moreover, the process is cheaper, and it yields deeper insights. This is the hybrid research approach.

What is Hybrid Market Research?

Hybrid research is the market research approach that combines different strategies to find information relevant to the solution of a marketing problem. To better understand what this means, let us recap what we know about market research.

We know that the purpose of market research is to alleviate (not eliminate) uncertainties in business decision making through information. We know that it starts with identification of a particular problem. This problem (known as “research problem”) leads to the generation of a hypothesis which determines the type of framework for the study.

We know there are three frameworks used in contemporary market research: Exploratory, descriptive, and causal research framework.

  • The exploratory framework is used to gain a better understanding of the problem
  • The descriptive framework uncovers information on the market characteristics/variables
  • The causal framework sorts out the relationship between different variables in the market.

Useful information can come from two types of data within these frameworks: Quantitative and qualitative data. There are business decisions that are based on what happens (quantitative research) and others on why something happens (qualitative research). Thus, a descriptive framework is adopted for quantitative research, while a causal framework is used for qualitative research.

Now, hybrid research is used when the research problem requires an understanding of both what happens in the market, as well as why it happens, relying on both quantitative and qualitative strategies. And this is where we find businesses today – with researchers employing different approaches simultaneously, with hybrid research as the natural evolution of the field.

How Hybrid Market Research Overcomes the Limitations of Single-Method Approaches

As it is aimed at both describing and explaining the market, hybrid research is uniquely designed to accommodate methods that are used in both quantitative and qualitative research strategies. One obvious strength of this strategy is that it reduces the amount of time required to solve research problems that require quantitative and qualitative data. However, we would say the main strength is that it is designed to transcend the limitations of single-method approaches. Let’s examine this in detail.

Timely results

Hybrid research helps reduce the amount of time a study takes to yield results. It merges the benefits of different approaches by performing disparate tasks simultaneously. Take surveys for example – capturing those responses happens faster, and it can be analyzed along with other collected data, with information relayed to relevant stakeholders and departments immediately.

But, it’s important to note that the real-time nature of hybrid research is not a given – it only happens when the research is facilitated by a dynamic AI-powered tool that continuously feeds the topic updated insight. This is in stark contrast to traditional research approaches:

traditional vs dynamic research

Cost-effective projects

In a similar way to timeliness, hybrid research allows organizations to save money on research projects. Instead of having multiple phases of the same project, hybrid research can merge all the necessary frameworks and strategies to deliver results at one go. This can result in significant cost reductions allowing the business to conduct more impactful, quality studies, or use the funds in other ways.

Again, it’s important to note that this impactful, cost-effective insight is created when the tool analyzing the insight offers best-in-class accuracy. This is a clear differentiator in the analytics space, so be sure to ask providers about it.

Hybrid Market Research Design

Not all research problems require a hybrid research design. However, modern business management understands the need to be customer-centric rather than product-oriented, so data from consumer actions is more actionable and increasingly finding a seat at the strategic planning table.

Problem definition

If you are designing a hybrid research study, you want to start with a well-defined problem. A hybrid research problem often requires the input of more than one leader within the organization, so prepare to pitch your framework to the c suite. Other ways of coming up with the objectives of the research include brainstorming, reviewing related studies, performing a competitor analysis, and, of course, exploratory research.


Data collection

The next step in hybrid research design involves choosing the most suitable data collection tools and methods for the kind of information you need. For the descriptive aspect of the study, you need to tally numbers, amounts, and other forms of magnitude. The strategies to employ include online surveys using a tool like SurveyMonkey or through your email service provider, social listening using a tool like NetBase Quid, and online polls. These methods reveal the information you need to understand the state of the market in terms of size, trends, and associations between different variables.

In the causal aspect, your research requires tools that can reveal deeper insight beyond surface appearances. Here the focus of the study shifts from the masses, for instance, to individuals. Strategies to incorporate in your design include focus groups moderated by skilled professionals, in-depth interviews with a few key people, netnographies and sentiment analysis, customer intercepts, and experimentation. These techniques reveal information about the reasons behind what is observed in the quantitative studies.

Data analysis

After data collection, hybrid research design features a data analysis plan. Expert researchers will develop a data analysis plan beforehand while others will wait till the data is collected. There are benefits to developing an analysis plan before the research begins. First, it helps avoid confusion as to the methods of interpreting the data. Second, it ensures the researcher has both the capacity and means to draw insights from the data. And with the variety of data sources available, having a way to aggregate and analyze it all is a must.


Before you direct budget and working hours toward collecting data, make sure your hybrid research data analysis design is solid.

Also, know that hybrid research is not an infallible approach. There are challenges which modern researchers have to contend with before they can deliver a successful outcome.

Challenges in Hybrid Market Research

The challenges experienced in hybrid research have to do with proper data management and right choice in research platforms.

Data management

Data management is the Achilles heel of modern research. For starters, consumer data collection over the internet is now heavily guarded by regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). And then the sheer volume of data available for analysis creates a storage issue for the business. And finally, the rise of cyber-crime means organizations have to remain on guard in case attackers want to access stored data.

Recognizing these risks, the modern research respondent demands guarantees that their information will be safe. Failure to provide these guarantees is a hurdle that can hamper a project.

Choice of technology

Thanks to advances in technology and freedom in creativity, there are more than enough options when it comes to research platforms. Unfortunately, this poses a challenge for the researcher trying to pick the most suitable tool for a project.

In fact, choosing the wrong technology may be the only thing wrong with a study but it can render the whole process useless. It could compromise the data collection or come up short during analysis. It’s important to find a solution that has a track record in the industry. You can ascertain this by reviewing how long it has been live, testimonials from clients, as well as how it has been used in the past.

If you’d like to get a fuller picture of capabilities and a standard to measure other options against, reach out for a demo today and we’ll be happy to show you!

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