1.1 Market Research and Survey

What is Research?

Research is the systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions.

(Oxford Dictionaries)

Research is the searching for and gathering of information and ideas in response to a specific question.

(Unknown author)


Survey Research

Survey – The most popular technique for gathering primary data in which a researcher interacts with people to obtain facts, opinions, and attitudes.



Practical Application of Surveys

Who Why

Sociology and Political Science


Public opinion research, identification of population’s attitudes towards socially important phenomena, events, and facts…




Personality tests, intelligence tests, identification of individual strengths and weaknesses psychological stability, cognitive disorders, social influence…


Human Resources


Measurement of employee satisfaction, loyalty, potential, personality traits and leadership skills, productivity and quality of work, professional fit, resistance to stress, social intelligence, work-life balance…




Market and consumer research, measurement of perception of image, preferences, attitudes, satisfaction with product and/or service, loyalty, willingness to pay; segmentation, positioning, new product development, evaluation of market potentials, pricing and price setting, advertising tests, ease of web-site navigation, user feedback, willingness to recommend…


Science (in general)


Study of relationships between two or more variables, factors, phenomena; development of scales and survey techniques for practical use…




Knowledge tests (quizzes, exams), evaluation of students and/or teachers…

Market Research Process

Define the Research problem  – identify and clarify information needs

– define research problem and questions

– specify research objectives

– confirm information value

If a problem is vaguely defined, the results can have little bearing on the key issues

Develop the research plan  

Decide on

– budget

– data sources

– research approaches

– sampling plan

– contact methods

– methods of data analysis

The plan needs to be decided upfront but flexible enough to incorporate changes or iterations

Collect data  

– collect data according to the plan or

– employ an external firm

This phase is the most costly and the most liable to error

Analyze data  

Analyze data

– statistically or

– subjectively

and infer answers and implications

Type of data analysis depends on type of research

Report findings  

– Formulate conclusions and implications from data analysis

– prepare finalized research report

Overall conclusions to be presented rather than overwhelming statistical methodologies


When NOT to Conduct Market Research



Vague objectives When managers cannot agree on what they need to know to make a decision. Market research cannot be helpful unless it is probing a particular issue.

Closed mindset


When decision has already been made. Research is used only as a rubber stamp of a preconceived idea.


Late timing


When research results come too late to influence the decision.


Poor timing


If a product is in a “decline” phase there is little point in researching new product varieties.


Lack of resources


If quantitative research is needed, it is not worth doing unless a statistically significant sample can be used.  When funds are insufficient to implement any decisions resulting from the research.


Costs outweigh benefits


The expected value of information should outweigh the costs of gathering an analyzing the data..


Results not actionable


Where, e.g., psychographic data is used which will not help he company form firm decisions.

1.2 Types of Market Research

Types of Market Research:

By Objectives

  • Exploratory
    (a.k.a. diagnostic)
  • Descriptive
  • Causal
    (a.k.a. predictive, experimental)

By Data Source

  • Primary
  • Secondary

By Methodology

  • Qualitative
  • Quantitative


Market Research by Objectives

a.k.a. diagnostic

  • Explaining data or actions to help define the problem
  • What was the impact on sales after change in the package design?
  • Do promotions at POS influence brand awareness?
  • Survey

of a small sample, focus groups, depth interviews,,…


  • Gathering and presenting factual statements:
    who, what, when, where, how
  • What is historic sales trend in the industry?
  • What are consumer attitudes toward our product?
  • Survey

of a large representative sample, observation, …

a.k.a. predictive, experimental

  • Probing cause-and-effect relationships; “What if?”
  • Specification of how to use the research to predict
  • the results of planned marketing decisions
  • Does level of advertising determine level of sales?
  • Experiments, A&B tests, consumer panels, …

Market Research by Data Source

Primary – Original research to collect new raw data for a specific reason. This data is then analyzed and may be published by the researcher (Survey, Interviews, observation, experiments,…)

Secondary – Research data that has been previously collected, analyzed and published in the form of books, articles, etc (Literature review, library, web, database, archive,…)


Market Research by Methodology


  • Involves collecting and measuring data
  • Often requires large data sets. For example, large number of people.
  • Uses statistical methods to analyze data
  • Aims to achieve objective/scientific view of the subject

(Survey of a large representative sample, observation, …)


  • Involves understanding human behavior and the reasons behind it
  • Focus is on individuals and small groups
  • Objectivity is not the goal, the aim is to understand one point of view, not all points of view.
  • Usually not representative

(Survey of a small sample, focus groups, depth interviews,…)



Triangulation — The combination of methods in the study of the same topic

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