Market Research Process
What is Market Research? Market research is a process for gathering data/information. Market research plays an integral role in making decisions by providing accurate and timely information. The process for gathering, planning and interpreting information and deciding on the best marketing mix is referred to as a market research process.
The Basic Research Process Stage 1: Defining the problem: The first step for market research is formulating a problem. The problem needs to be identified and understood properly. However, most of the problems are not as easy to research as they may appear. The first step involves translating management problem into a research problem. Stage 2: Method of inquiry (Objective or Subjective) This is a scientific method for investigation. Scientific method is objective where as research process if subjective. It gives a chance to the researcher to begin with accessible knowledge objectively. Objective research is quantitative in nature and depends on facts and unbiased analysis. In contrast, subjective research is qualitative and place emphasis on personal judgment for data collection. Stage 3: Research Methodology The two main types of research methodologies are experimental research and non-experimental research. In experimental research an independent variable is manipulated to see if it affects the dependent variable. In non experimental research there is no such manipulation and it allows observation. Stage 4: Research Design Research design is a strategy/plan to conduct research and define procedures used for gathering information. It involves selecting participants for the research and preparing for data collection. There are three types of research design: Exploratory Research Design- collecting information in 2
an unstructured and informal way. Descriptive Research Design- involves set of methods and procedures that describe marketing variables. Causal Research Design- based on the cause and effect behavior of different variables. Stage 5: Data Collection Techniques This stage involves determining techniques to collect data. Methods of data collection are observation, interviews, surveys and focus groups. Interviews are asking questions and receiving responses. They can either be on the phone, on email or face to face. In a focus group (8 -12) individuals sit together and talk about some topic of interest which is directed by a moderator. Observation is also an effective way of collecting data by observing trends, market and competitors. Past and present behaviors are considered to be very helpful for the research process. Stage 6: Sample Design A sample is small part of a population specifically selected to represent the whole, for research purposes. Two methods to decide on a sample are probability and non probability sampling. In probability method everyone has a chance of being selected. Non- probability sample assumes that there is an even distribution of characteristics within the population. Hence, all of this depends on determining an appropriate sample size. Large sample size may be good with accuracy and minimizing errors but increases cost. Stage 7: Data Collection Companies bear extra ordinary costs for collecting data. It involves collecting data through interviews, observation, focus groups and surveys. Stage 8: Analysis and Interpretation All the raw information gathered is analyzed during this stage to see its usefulness. Several different techniques are used for analyzing data. Data cleansing, coding and tabulation are some of the commonly used techniques. Stage 9: Prepare a final Research Report This report should describe the research process, data collection tools, results, conclusions a nd future course of action. All information must be presented in a way which is easy to understand 3
for the decision makers. Along with a written report, providing presentations, graphics and statistical comparison will help understand all aspects of the project.