Researchers have many options when it comes to communicating with their research audience. Qualitative research methods like in-depth interviews and focus groups allow participants to express their thoughts and opinions verbally. While quantitative research methods like surveys allow participants to express themselves in written form.

The choice of research method often comes down to how the researcher intends to use and analyze the resulting data. However, at Branded, we were curious if one approach is better than another when communicating with specific audience segments.

We conducted a poll to ask our users if they feel most comfortable expressing themselves in writing as they would when participating in quantitative research or verbally as they would participating in qualitative research. Our poll was conducted on September 2, 2018 and 16,989 users responded.

Overall, 55 percent of users say they are most comfortable expressing themselves verbally, while 45 percent say they are most comfortable expressing themselves in writing. Digging into the data, we observed key insights by audience segments.

Surprisingly, older users tend to be more comfortable expressing themselves verbally than younger users. Younger generations are framed as constantly communicating and connecting via technology. However, with the rise of texting, these younger consumers have become more accustomed to communicating in written form.

  • Among the Silent Generation (age 70+), 63 percent are most comfortable expressing themselves in verbally versus 37 percent who are most comfortable expressing themselves in writing
  • Among the Baby Boomer (age 51-69) generation, 59 percent say they are most comfortable with verbal communication versus 41 percent who are most comfortable with written communication
  • Among the Gen X (age 39-50) generation, 52 percent are most comfortable with verbal communication and 48 percent are most comfortable with written communication
  • Among the Millennial (age 22-38) generation, 53 percent are most comfortable with verbal communication and 47 percent are most comfortable with written communication
  • Among the Gen Z (age 13-21) generation, 49 percent are most comfortable with verbal communication versus 51 percent who are most comfortable with written communication

Our analysis of the poll results also revealed interesting trends by level of education. Users with lower levels of education reported being more comfortable with verbal communication than those with higher levels of education.

  • Among those with a high school education, 56 percent say they are most comfortable with verbal communication versus 44 percent who prefer written communication
  • Among those with some college education, 54 percent prefer verbal communication versus 46 percent who prefer written communication
  • Among those with a college education or higher, 49 percent are most comfortable with verbal communication versus 51 percent who prefer written communication