Set your research objectives
The scope of your research is determined by what you want to achieve (your objectives) and the types of decisions it needs to help you make.
Before you get started it is essential to define your objectives. This is the most important part of the process and will avoid wasting time and effort in later stages. Ask yourself these three questions:
- What is the purpose of the research?
- What information is being sought?
- How will the information be used?
Four stages of research study
Conducting a successful research study involves four separate stages:
- checking if the same or similar research has been carried out in the past;
- reviewing any existing relevant data;
- determining when the information is needed and how much you can spend to obtain it; and
- deciding how the data will be used, and by whom.
If your research will help you to make a significant decision (for example, introducing a new product or starting a business), then it’s a good idea to think about employing a professional market research organisation or consultant. A research expert will have the knowledge and experience to get information which is reliable.
If the cost is prohibitive you should buy at least a few hours of professional research time to get advice in conducting your own market research. This could help you avoid obtaining flawed data which will produce misleading and potentially costly conclusions.