Qualitative Research

We help to formulate more successful customer-centric brand strategies with the application of innovative and proprietary qualitative research methodologies, overlaid by behavioural science, and integrated with quantitative approaches to support your business needs across the brand life cycle

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Qualitative Excellence

How do you succeed in understanding the true drivers of behaviour in an industry as complex as the healthcare space?

We understand that finding out ‘what’ is happening is only truly valuable if we also know ‘why’. At every step of the research process, we seek to go further. We provide you with the answers to the ‘so what?’ by understanding your entire ecosystem through a validated toolbox to deliver fresh, different perspectives. 

Via a suite of qualitative techniques, combination behavioural science expertise in behaviour change; and seamless integration with quantitative approaches, we deliver you more evidence-based and action-focused strategies.

The result? Data that is not only valuable for bigger picture decision-making, but also immediately applicable for communications and marketing teams.

HRW market researchers doing qualitative research in healthcare.

We'll help you with clear insights for strategic decision-making in scenarios like these where you need to: 

• Deeply explore the market landscape for an asset or brand

• Access the emotional experience and journeys of HCPs and patients and understand what that means for your brand

• Identify customer and patient personas and bring them to life

• Get closer to the true triggers and barriers of decision making

• Develop engaging and resonant communications campaigns which truly ‘stick’ with your audience

• Formulate tangible strategies for shifting and changing behaviours

Members of the HRW qualitative market research team.

Market Understanding

  • White paper TPP/opportunity assessment
  • Landscape assessment
  • Patient journey
  • Treatment/buying process pathways
  • Ecosystem (patients, HCPs, payers etc)
  • Drivers and barriers
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Patient Specialists

  • HRW Spotlight
  • Bringing pts together (Soulmate, online bulletin boards)
  • Adapted ethnography
  • In the moment
  • Patient support programs
  • User experience
  • Patient testimonials
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Product/Brand Development

  • TPP testing
  • COVID-19 market understanding
  • Competitor understanding
  • Drivers and barriers
  • Packaging/design evaluation
  • Device evaluation/usability test
  • Product testing/in-home use testing
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Communication Optimisation

  • Positioning 
  • Message/narrative/claims testing
  • Concept testing
  • CA/detail aid testing
  • Logo testing/name branding
  • LRI – sticking
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Marketing Effectiveness

  • Qualitative segmentation/personas
  • Sales force effectiveness
  • Message recall/DFU
  • Qualitative insights (add-on to ATU)
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How are we different? We are:

Qual/Quant Agnostic
As a company, we will take a multidisciplinary approach to finding the most useful output for your business problem, with no distinct or separate qual/quant specialist teams- but rather a large group of experts with a passion for both fields. Your project may require a qual or a quant methodology, or a mix of services, and we’ll ensure a seamless transition every time. Our approach is to tailor our work to provide the information you need to make the best decisions to take your brand forward.
Our blend of approaches is customised to the research you need. These include adapted ethnography, co-creation workshopping, innovative digital techniques and ‘in-the-moment’ methods. Other techniques – many proprietary – include online communities, Soulmate™ duos, Ecosystem interviews and longitudinal studies across the product lifecycle.
To embed your research, we use innovative and engaging digital outputs, brought to life by multimedia techniques. To compliment that research, we run workshops to embed results and design snapshots and films to share with your wider business and associated agencies.


  • Conducted successful ethnographic research in COPD


    The client sought to dig-in and understand the daily impact of COPD on patients’ lives via ethnographic research. Our approach included: 

    • 16 immersive ethnographic case studies globally (in the US, Germany, Spain, Japan and China) using a ‘behavior under scrutiny’ approach 
    • Interviews included a combination of film and researcher observation over 7-10 days which also captured respondent diaries and photography  

    Ethnography explored patients emotional, physical and environmental state and impact of disease

    Workshop Review Session
    • Following completion of the research globally, a two-day immersion workshop was held on-campus, with 14 cross-functional stakeholders in attendance. Workshop included: 
    •  “Cinema” screening sessions, where each individual patient’s case study comprised of edited footage was presented (with popcorn!) 

    Breakout tasks followed to explore the patient experience, common themes and key insights

    • A final thematic report detailed the overall patient journey, including how patients achieved balance (detailing living rituals, self-care and sleep routines); personal goals and ‘wish lists’ for the life with COPD, and their medication experience (including where they would live to ‘feel better’)
  • Drivers and Barriers Research

    • Unpick motivations and beliefs impacting usage of biologics with a particular focus on reasons for persistent prescribing of older, less efficacious medications
    • Examine perceptions of the newer biologics now and in the future including perceived strengths and weaknesses

    Explore differentiation for our clients’ newer biologic, and what data can be utilised to stand it apart from key competitors within its class in order to translate intent to use into actual use

    • HRW Shift behavioural science Mini Fathom Review of previous research to identify behavioural biases
    • Pre work: fast associations exercise to understand top of mind associations with biologic brands 
    • HCP duos and IDIs to deep dive into customer views

    HRW Shift Radar materials audit to provide guidance to leverage behavioural nudges in sales materials

    • Six key barriers were identified to uptake of our clients’ product: familiarity/habit, saving the best till last, dosing/administration, efficacy, cost and promotion
    • Research provided in-depth explanation of all barriers, with validated behavioural science solutions for how to counteract and overcome each one

    Integrated Radar audit outputs revealed how nudges could be utilised in a detail aid

  • Developing an Integrated Patient Journey


    Our client wanted to develop a detailed patient journey for patients across two related disease lifecycles, identifying moments of meaning, pain points and key points of interaction, and areas of difference. In addition, they wanted to build patient typologies, focusing on emotional and clinical aspects for kidney disease patients at different stages of the journey


    We incorporated a mixed methodology including IDIs, as well as bringing key HCP stakeholders together in Fusion Groups. For patients, we conducted a mix of IDIs, and duos with our SoulmateTM technique to provide real depth and access to unknown unknowns.  HRW Shift provided insight into behavioural biases and opportunities for optimizing the patient experience along the journey.

    • Brought all insights together across rational and emotional patient journeys from both the HCP and patient perspective to provide clear direction on priorities for the client
    • Applied behavioural analysis from HRW Shift ensured development of meaningful solutions that addressed key identified behavioural biases
    • Provided the client with a key foundational piece of research that significantly contributed to the strategic direction of the asset, and has continued to be an important ongoing reference point

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