Program Management

5 Steps in the Research Process

The five (5) steps in the research process are: [1]

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 creating 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.

The research design involves the following steps:

  1. Secondary data analysis
  2. Qualitative research
  3. Methods of collecting quantitative data (survey, observation, and experimentation)
  4. Definition of the information needed
  5. Measurement and scaling procedures
  6. Questionnaire design
  7. Sampling process and sample size
  8. 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 the mail (traditional mail and mail panel surveys with recruited households).

Date collection techniques can include:

  • Interviews: Asking people questions about their known information
  • Observations: collecting data without asking questions.
  • Questionnaires: Ask questions among a group of people
  • Focus Groups: Interviewing and observing a group of people
  • Documents and Records: old fashion research

Step 4 – Interpreting Research Data

Interpreting research data: This step is focused on examining the data and coming up with a conclusion that solves the problem.

Start by organizing your finding and the information you have collected from Step 3. Then create a rough draft of your finding, recommendations, and conclusion. The rough draft will help you get your thoughts organized. The final step is to polish the draft into your final research finding. You will most likely revise the draft as many times before the final product is ready for Step 5.

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.

Research Reporting Formats:

  • Formal Paper
  • Published Article
  • PowerPoint Presentation
  • Audio or Video
  • Spreadsheet

AcqTips:

  • 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. [2]

AcqLinks and References:

  • [1] Pride, Ferel (2010). Marketing. South-Western Cengage Learning

Updated: 6/15/2021

Rank: G1

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