Warning: Don’t Overlook These 6 Research Fundamentals
As technology advances, marketing researchers continually look for ways to adapt new technology to the practice of research.
However, researchers must never forget that research basics cannot be overlooked. Rather, what must be done is to adapt the new techniques and technologies to these basics.
All studies must address the following basic issues (Anderson, Berdie, & Liestman, 1984):
1 – Ask the right questions.
This is the essence of project design and the heart of proper planning. Every project is unique, and as such must be tailored to the user’s needs.
2 – Ask the right people.
The goal of sample design should be that only those people who are of interest to the researcher are contacted, and that those contacted are representative of the group of interest
3 – Ask questions the right way.
It is not enough to be able to ask the right questions; they must be asked the right way. This is the essence of questionnaire design. If the wording of the questions is not clear to the respondents, the results will be useless.
Pretesting the questionnaire is crucial for ensuring that responses are the ones that are needed.
4 – Obtain answers to questions.
Data collection is central to all marketing research. The techniques used should minimize non-response while maximizing response.
5 – Relate answers to the needs of the research user/client.
Data seldom speaks for itself. Proper data analysis is needed if a study is to have any value to the user. Here there is a risk of letting advanced techniques become the master of the researcher rather than the opposite.
Common sense is a valuable tool for the researcher when considering alternative analysis approaches for any project.
6 – Communicate effectively and in a way that the client understands.
Many good projects are ruined because the information that is reported to the user is in a form that is not understandable. Reports must tell the user what information is relevant, and how it is relevant to the issues at hand.
Anderson, J.F., Berdie, D.R., and Liestman, R. 1984. “Hi-Tech Techniques OK, but Don’t Forget Re- search Basics,” Marketing News, 18 (January 16, Sec. 2), 12.