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Business or Marketing Research (Design)
process consists of a set of steps that define
the tasks to be accomplished in conducting
a business/marketing research study.
These include:
1. Define the problem or opportunity =
Problem Formulation
– Here information need is first felt
– This leads to the development of
research question

2.Define the research objectives
– Specify what information is needed
– Formulate hypothesis

3. Identify the sources of
– Primary & Secondary sources
– Review concepts, theories &
previous research findings

4.Research Design Formulation
– Decide data collection techniques
(research methodology)
←Apply ethics in
5.Field Work or Data Collection
– Design sampling techniques &
survey (Primary research)

6. Data preparation & analysis
– Editing, coding, tabulation &
analytical techniquesing
- Testing hypothesis
Review ethics in
7. Preparation of research report
–Document submitted to
management for decision making.

Step-1 Define Problem/Opportunity =
Problem Formulation
Steps in Problems Formulation
1.Management Dilemma

2.Situation Analysis ( employs ice-

berg principle)

3.Management Questions

4.Research Questions forms basis

for Research Hypothesis

Also specifies:

Unit of analysis
Variables to be
- Time reference
5.Research objectives for focus &
approach to solve research problem
• Only when problem or opportunity is
precisely defined can research be
designed to provide relevant
information. This goes through following
• A) Management Dilemma prompts the
research process

Symptoms of the actual problems
/opportunities leads to
management dilemma
eg – rising costs, declining sales
(Symptoms of problems)
- demand for new std of
performance (symptom of opportunity)
• B) Situation Analysis studies
background information & identifies
events & factors that have led to current
management dilemma .
-employs ice-berg principle that states
that symptoms only represent 10% of
the problem and balance 90% of the
problem are deep rooted requiring in-
depth study and analysis
eg – all factors causing declining sales
of a brand are CONSIDERED

i)poor awareness ii) poor repeat
purchase iii) no brand loyalty
iv) quality problems v) consumer
preference vi) manufacturing
problems vii) distribution problems
• C) Management Questions arise out of
situation analysis
eg – i)what are the possible reasons
that are actually related to poor sales?
ii) what should be done to solve the
problem ?
iii) which of the alternative methods
is better?
• D) Research Questions arise out of
analyzing the management questions.
eg –i) Low sales may be attributed to
poor awareness of the brand

ii) Quality not meeting consumer
iii) No repeat purchase
iv) competing products resulting in
poor brand loyalty etc
may be the possible analytical

So, the Research Question will be:-
What is the awareness level of the
Does the product quality meet
consumer expectation?
What is the frequency of
What is the expected repeat sales
level of the brand ?

Does this product category have
brand loyalty?
Res. Question helps determine:-
- Research Hypothesis i.e,
unproven statement of research
- Unit of analysis i.e., who is the
- Variables to be measured eg
brand awareness
= Suitable time reference i.e.,
period of research.
Step – 2 Define the research objectives
• Research questions form the basis for
research objectives.
• Research objectives help develop a focus
and an approach to the research

Eg – To determine the awareness level
of a particular brand.
- To ascertain whether
there is
- brand loyalty for a
particular category of
- To what extent is brand
loyalty converted to
repeat sales.
• One common pitfall in research is to
specify too many objectives for a single
research project. Sometimes too many
objectives leads to:
- making data collection task
- producing mass data not really

-too many question in the
questionnaire resulting in
respondent losing interest.
• Research objective is sometimes called
research problem as this forms the
basis of research
• It is the best to be focused in research
on a few (4-5) clearly stated objectives.
• Restating hypotheses wrt key variables
is appropriate here to guide the
research process.
Step – 3 Identify Sources of Information
Secondary Data / Secondary Research /
Literature Survey
• These are data collected for some
purpose other than the research
situation at hand.

• These are statistics that already exist
sometimes collected as a matter of –
• The purpose of secondary data differs
from the researcher’s objective.
• Thus a researcher has to assess which
secondary data may be relevant &
useful and evaluate such data in the
light of requirements of the research
eg – II ry data Internal 2ry data – data
within the organization
External 2ry data – data
from outside the orgn.
Data within orgn : books of accounts,
invoices, annual report, MIS, production
records, sales reports, other confidential
information etc

Data outside orgn: census, retail trade
statistics; data from websites, virtual
warehouses, competitive company records,
brochures, reports etc credit cards,
warranty cards, research reports of other
surveys, trade and academic
journals/magazines/bulletins, directories,
newspapers etc.
Primary Data / Primary research
• Data originated by the researcher
specifically for study on hand from the
actual sources such as customers,
consumers, dealers & other entities
involved in the research to address the
research problem.
• It is a systematic collection of
information directly from respondents.
eg – Personal, telephone, mail, internet,

surveys/interviews through proper
research design.
• Experimental Research – The researcher
manipulates one or more variables in a
controlled environment in such a way
that its effect e other variables can be
measured. eg – Laboratory experiments,
Field experiments.
Step – 4 Research Design Formulation

Research Design (primary data)

1.Exploratory Research Design
Conclusive Research Design
eg – Expert Opinion Surveys
Quantitative Research
- Qualitative Research

3. Causal
tive Res

Cross Sec
Design Longl Design

Exploratory Research Design
1.Highly flexible
2.Used to gain insights into the problem
esp., when problem lacks clarity and
requires deep probing
3.Qualitative study that uses
unstructured format
4. Uses smaller samples
5. Forms basis for hypothesis and further
conclusive research

Descriptive Research Design
1.Structured, rigid, formal research design
2. Employs quantitative techniques
3. Used to get descriptive characteristics of
samples esp in mktng Surveys that
serve as inputs for mgmt decision

Causal Research Design
1.Establishes cause and effect relationships
between variables
Eg. Advertising and sales ; price and
2. Employed in experimental designs
3. Helps at arriving definite, quantifiable
conclusions that serve as inputs
for mgmt decision making
4. Affected by extraneous variables in

Cross sectional studies - Study of a
fixed sample of consumers buying habits
during festive seasons or particular

Longitudinal study - Study of fixed
sample of consumers buying habits all thro’
year and record changes to establish a
buying pattern
Step – 5 Field Work or Data Collection

• Field operations such as personal
interviews (at home, mall intecepts, or
computer assisted) or from an office
thro’ telephone, mail, internet etc., or
through observation.

• Some instrument must be designed to
record the data being collected eg.
Questionnaire (Structured)
• Involvesd using appropriate sample
design to collect primary data clearly
specifying who or what units should
provide the needed data.
• The method of choosing individuals
depends on whether or not a probability
or non probability sampling method is
Step-6 Data Preparation & Analysis
• Each questionnaire or observation form
is edited & if necessary corrected.
• Number or letter codes are assigned to
represent each response to each
question in the questionnaire.

• The data from questionnaire are key
punched directly into the computer.
• The data are analyzed to derive
information related to the components
of the business or marketing research
Step – 7 Preparation Research Report
• The entire project should be
documented in a written report that
- the specific research questions
- describes the approach,
- the res. Design
-data collection & analysis
procedures & presents the results &
the major findings

• The mgmt. can readily use them in the
decision making process.

General Question
A problem well defined is half solved
Discuss. – 10 Marks
1.Management Dilemma; 2.Ice Berg
3. Situation Analysis; 4. Management
5. Research Questions– Res. Hypothesis,
Unit of analysis,Relevant
Variables, Suitable time reference
6.Research objectives for focus & approach