The five (5) steps in the marketing research process are: 
Step 1 – Locating and Defining Issues or Problems
This step focuses on uncovering the nature and boundaries of a situation or question related to marketing strategy or implementation. In defining the issues or problems, the researcher should take into account the purpose of the study, the relevant background information, what information is needed, and how it will be used in decision making.
Step 2 – Designing the Research Project
This step is focused on created a research plan or overall approach on how you are going to solve the issue or problem identified. A research plan or approach is a framework or blueprint for conducting the marketing research project. It details the procedures necessary for obtaining the required information, and its purpose is to design a study that will test the hypotheses of interest, determine possible answers to the research questions, and provide the information needed for decision making.
Research design involves the following steps: 
- Secondary data analysis
- Qualitative research
- Methods of collecting quantitative data (survey, observation, and experimentation)
- Definition of the information needed
- Measurement and scaling procedures
- Questionnaire design
- Sampling process and sample size
- Plan of data analysis
Step 3 – Collecting Data
This step revolved around obtaining the information that you will need to solve the issue or problem identified. Data collection involves a field force or staff that operates either in the field, as in the case of personal interviewing (in-home, mall intercept, or computer-assisted personal interviewing), from an office by telephone (telephone or computer-assisted telephone interviewing), or through mail (traditional mail and mail panel surveys with prerecruited households).
Step 4 – Interpreting Research Data
Interpreting research data: This step is focuses on examining the data and coming up with a conclusion that solves the problem.
Step 5 – Report Research Findings
The final step is to report the research findings to those who need the data to make decisions. The findings should be presented 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.
- Qualitative Research: Information, industry experts, and secondary data may not be sufficient to define the research problem. 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. 
AcqLinks and References:
-  Pride, Ferel (2010). Marketing. South-Western Cengage Learning
-  Wikipedia – Marketing Research Process