The Market Research Process: 6 Steps to Success
The chief advantage of a probability sample over a nonprobability sample is the ability to assess the reliability and the amount of sampling error in the results. For example, if the goal were to estimate the annual household income for a given county, probability sampling would allow an accuracy assessment of the estimate. This could not be accomplished with a nonprobability sample. After the survey has been designed and its reliability and validity assessed, the company must decide the administration method that it will use. Each administration method has its own advantages and disadvantages in terms of cost, information control, sampling control, and administrative control.
Information control refers to the possible variation in responses to questions. Sampling control is the ability to select cooperative respondents. Administrative control refers to factors affecting the efficiency of the survey, including timing, quality control, and standardization. Personal interviews are generally the most expensive means of data collection. In a company, this would mean having researchers meet with employees one-on-one to ask them the survey questions and record their responses. One of the main advantages of the personal interview is the ability to ask any type of question, including an open-ended question, and to adapt to the respondent's answers.
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However, in addition to being expensive and time consuming, this method is not anonymous, and therefore respondents may be reluctant to answer questions that they feel are sensitive or invasive. The mail questionnaire is usually the least expensive method of data collection. Besides cost savings, another advantage of the mail questionnaire is its wide distribution potential. However, mail questionnaires cannot control the speed of responses, and the researcher cannot explain ambiguous questions.
Mail questionnaires are probably best utilized when asking personal or sensitive questions, particularly if the survey can be made anonymous.
Questionnaires can be circulated using various methods, such as post, electronic mail, and fax. The telephone interview is associated with relatively low cost and higher response rates, and is one of the fastest methods of data collection. While there are methods to address the problem, unlisted numbers make it more difficult to obtain representative samples. Establishing rapport is also more difficult in telephone interviewing than in the personal interview. One survey administration method that is growing in popularity is the Internet survey, in which respondents answer items on a survey that is located on a web site.
Newer, specialized software products are making it easier to conduct online surveys, even for those people with little to no computer programming skills. Studies indicate that Internet research can result in faster responses, lower costs, higher response rates, and better flexibility. Additionally, this method aids in data administration, since survey responses can be directly inserted into a data spreadsheet by the web survey software.
One of the main concerns of survey research is the response rate, or the number of people who are asked to complete a survey who actually do. Nonresponse error is a source of bias because of the failure to get answers from some of the sample. While research results are mixed regarding effective means for increasing response rates, the following represent some ideas for increasing response rates:.
Research provides data, and it is the task of the researcher to transform the collected data into useful information for management. The first step in data analysis is preparing the data by editing it for several factors, including:. Once the data is edited it is ready for coding, which is determining how survey responses will be transformed into numerical data. The first step in coding is the development of a codebook.
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The codebook formalizes the coding process by listing answers and their accompanying codes. After the data is coded and entered into a data spreadsheet, statistical analyses can be performed to create useful information for the researchers. If there are hypotheses to be tested, the researcher is in a position to use the gathered data to test the hypotheses. Data analysis could be as simple as reporting descriptive statistics such as averages, measures of variability, and percentages, or if needed, advance statistical techniques could be applied. The research report can be as simple as a short report of a few pages giving the overall findings of the research, or it can be a long report with numerous parts.
The degree of formality required by management dictates the type of report to prepare. Figure 2 presents the order of inclusion of the various parts of a long formal report.
Figure 2 Parts of a Complete Research Report. In this part of the report, first a title fly needs to be prepared. The title fly only includes the title of the report. The title should be carefully worded so it tells the reader exactly what the report is about. Following the title fly is the title page. The title page should include the title of the report, the name and the title of the recipient of the report, and the name and the title of the individual who prepared the report and the date.
The letter that authorized the undertaking of the research project, followed by a letter of transmittal indicating the completion of the research report are the next items included in the report. Include a table of contents followed by an executive summary.
The executive summary, summarizing the report's major findings, should be brief and to the point. This summary should briefly explain the conclusions. This section of the report provides a clear background and statement of the research question and provides information about the objectives of the research.
Included in this section would be a literature review about previous studies with the same or similar problem. If there are hypotheses to be tested, population parameters to be estimated, theories to be considered, they will be incorporated into this section of the report. This section will provide a detailed explanation of research design and will provide answers to many questions. What type of design was used? What instruments were used for the collection of data?
Were there any subjects involved in the study? What did the subjects do? How was the sample selected? What kind of statistical or non-statistical techniques were used for data analysis? Finally, in this section of the report the limitations encountered in the study should be presented. This section is probably one of the most important parts of the research report.
Provided in this section would be the results of the data analyses and explanation of all the findings. At this point, all the raw data have been analyzed and converted to meaningful information for management's use.
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This is the section where the original research question is answered. A concise yet precise summary of major findings will be included in this section, followed by any recommendations that the researcher considers important and meaningful. Statistical tests, large tables of information, copies of measurement instruments, and supporting documents should be included in the appendices. Finally, the report should end by providing a bibliography of all sources of information. Revised by Marcia J.
Babbie, Earl R. The Practice of Social Research. Cooper, Donald R. Business Research Methods. New York: McGraw-Hill, Davis, Duane. Business Research for Decision Making. South-Western College Publishing, The last stage is the report preparation and presentation. The entire project should be documented in a written report and the results and major findings must be presented.
The findings must be in a comprehensible format so that they can be readily used in the decision making process. In addition, an oral presentation should be made to management using tables, figures, and graphs to enhance clarity and impact. For these reasons, interviews with experts are more useful in conducting marketing research for industrial firms and for products of a technical nature, where it is relatively easy to identify and approach the experts.
This method is also helpful in situations where little information is available from other sources, as in the case of radically new products. Primary data is sourced by the researcher for the specific purpose of addressing the research problem. On the other hand, secondary data is collected for some purpose other than the problem at hand.
This data includes information made available by business and government sources, commercial marketing research firms, and computerized databases. Secondary data is an economical and quick source of background information. Information, industry experts, and secondary data may not be sufficient to define the research problem.
How and why you should manage your research data: a guide for researchers
Sometimes qualitative research must be undertaken to gain a qualitative understanding of the problem and its underlying factors. Qualitative research is unstructured, exploratory in nature, based on small samples, and may utilize popular qualitative techniques such as focus groups group interviews , word association asking respondents to indicate their first responses to stimulus words , and depth interviews one-on-one interviews which probe the respondents' thoughts in detail. Other exploratory research techniques, such as pilot surveys with small samples of respondents, may also be undertaken.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article needs more links to other articles to help integrate it into the encyclopedia. Please help improve this article by adding links that are relevant to the context within the existing text. Data may be held locally or in a non-public location, in which case they should be managed by an accountable person or group, who can ensure they are stored and preserved properly. Publications based on data should include a data citation or a statement indicating where and on what terms the data can be accessed.
A data repository will enable discovery of the data in its care by exposing the metadata online, and will provide access to the data when this is permitted. Data may be made publicly available, or restrictions on access may be imposed where data are of a sensitive or confidential nature.
Data held locally or in non-public locations should be managed in such a way that others can discover and apply for access to the data. Data that are available for discovery and access may be re-used by other researchers, either to substantiate the published findings of the original research, or to generate new insights through further interrogation and analysis.
At this stage the data may become raw materials collected within a new cycle of research. The diagram below and the following legend illustrate this lifecyle in terms of an 8-stage process: Plan At the research planning stage a researcher will consider what data will be required to undertake the research, and how they will be managed throughout the research process. Process Data once collected will need to be processed in order to be useable.
Analyse Data analysis is the stage at which the raw materials of research are interrogated to produce the insights that constitute the research findings, which will be written up and published in articles, papers, monographs and other publications.