The research design is a plan or framework for conducting the study and collecting data. It is the specific methods and procedures you use to acquire the information o need (Smith & Album, 2012). Its purpose is to establish a study design that will either test the hypotheses of interest and/or determine possible answers to set research questions, and ultimately provide the information needed for decision making (Malory & Birds, 2006).
At this stage the researcher would have to decide the kind of data type that will support the research. There are two types of data sources: Primary and Secondary. Secondary data source, also known as published data, come from credible and independent sources like Journals, books, articles, company records etc. Secondary sources should be the first line of collecting data, as they are widely available and often inexpensive. If secondary data sources cannot answer the objective, the researcher must collect primary data.
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It is usually collected through questionnaire surveys, interviews, and focus groups etc. Primary data can be gathered in five main ways: through observation, focus groups, surveys, behavioral data, and experiments. After selecting type of data required for research you now decide what medium of data is required. It can be through quantitative or qualitative or both depending on the wish of researcher. Research questionnaire is then designed to collect information from respondents in both ways quantitative and qualitative research.
Step 4: Fieldwork or Data Collection The data collection process introduces another essential element to your research project: the importance of clear and constant communication need (Smith et al, 2012). Before collecting data it is important to “pre-test” the data-collection instruments (observation forms and questionnaires) to gauge its suitability. The quality of the data-collection instrument determines the quality and usefulness of the data. Pre-test participants must complete the instrument in the same manner as actual sample subjects.
For example, if a data-collection instrument requires a telephone survey, the pre-test participants must take the pre-test over the phone. After completion, researchers should ask the test group if there were any questions or instructions that were unclear or unnecessary to determine if a category or question requires revision or removal. After preparing questionnaire or observation form the next Job is to practically get into field and distribute questionnaires among group of respondents. It can also be done through: online surveys, phone conversations, face-to-face interviews, and by post.
Step 5: Data Analysis Data analysis consists of recording and summarizing the responses for each question or observation for every participant. Each questionnaire or observation form is inspected, or edited, and, if necessary, corrected. The researchers now compute averages and measures of dispersion for the major variables and apply some advanced statistical techniques and decision models in the hope of discovering questionnaires have been accurately transcribed, while data analysis, guided by the Lana of data analysis, gives meaning to the data that have been collected.
Step 6: Report preparation and presentation The entire project should be documented in a written report which addresses the specific research questions identified, describes the approach, the research design, data collection, and data analysis procedures adopted, and presents the results and the major findings. 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 (Malory et al, 2006).
CASE STUDY For Land Rover, it is vitally important to regularly measure consumers’ knowledge, image and desirability of the Land Rover brand. Since Europe is the most important region for Land Rover in terms of product sales, this defined the focus of their research. The challenge was how to make the marketing information requirements operational from a research standpoint. Translating this challenge into the development of a research design set the challenge of how to quantify the emotional brand values and those values that are based on the more concrete products.
The data collection methodology adopted used Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAP’). New car buyers were interviewed covering the sectors that Land Rover competes in: ex. sector (Range Rover, Discovery and Defender), Luxury sector (Range Rover), ex. sector (with Discovery and Range Rover). With a clear research design, the most important element to address objectives was to design a workable questionnaire. The most important needs in developing the questionnaire were as follows: 1 . To develop common measures to be adopted across all markets 2. To distinguish between the emotional and rational elements of brand mage 3.
To measure the Land Rover brand in a meaningful context. A great deal of time was allocated to the structure of the reports to ensure that they focused on the most salient findings of Land Rover’s progress in its competitive context. The objective was to transform data along the continuum to information, then knowledge and ultimately wisdom. Land Rover clearly sees the wisdom of being focused and driven by the consumer. Such a focus requires regular, timely and actionable consumer-based research. By being passionate about the brand and the customer, Land Rover survives and indeed thrives in today’s fiercely competitive environment.
The different steps of the process adopted by various authorities ultimately conclude on these key points: Problem identification, Collection of data to solve the problem, organization of data, interpretation of data and finally presentation of findings. One critical observation is that there is no fast and hard way of approaching these steps. Even the six-steps in this assignment has different renditions in other books. Marketing research provides an essential support to marketing decision-makers. The marketing research process ultimately helps you to know more about your nonusers, competitors and the market environment as a whole.