Designing a research study starts with deciding the method of research that will best answer the questions posed. Before beginning the process of collecting information, marketers and researchers need to define the type of information requested, and then choose whether they want respondents to answer the who, what, where, when, why, or how questions.
In marketing research, there are 3 all-encompassing methods used to design studies: Exploratory, Descriptive, and Casual. No matter how demanding or complicated your research is, one of these methods will help you elicit the answers you need from respondents.
Formulate a Hypothesis using Exploratory Design
If your problem hasn’t been clearly defined, exploratory research can help create a hypothesis for further investigation. The goal is to learn what is causing a specific problem – answering the who, where, when, why, and how comes later.
For example, a marketing manager may notice a decline in product sales. Because they don’t know what caused the decrease, they can’t create a plan to increase sales to normal levels.
Exploratory research gathers this preliminary information, but doesn’t draw an ultimate conclusion. In general, these types of research studies are followed-up with secondary research methods or a redesigned descriptive or casual study.
Ask Specific Questions using Descriptive Design
In many cases, marketers and researchers know what their problem is, and they’ve set specific questions that need to be answered. Descriptive research studies collect data that is factual and accurate, answering who, what, where, when, and how.
Because descriptive design gives the researchers a view of a subject, population, or market segment, using this method is popular when the goal is to create a report that gives a breakdown of a specific user group, like people who own sports cars.
Descriptive research is especially useful in longitudinal and cross-sectional studies because it allows researchers to gain insights into changes that happen over time.
Conduct an Experiment using Casual Design
Casual research design helps answers the remaining question: why? These studies let researchers uncover cause and affect relationships through field experiments. In this type of design, a researcher is often trying to determine if changing an independent variable affects a dependent variable.
For instance, a researcher might choose a casual research design if they need to know what will happen to sales if a product’s packaging or messaging is altered.
When using a casual design method, the research must be highly structured so that only the variables being studied are altered. The results of these studies are most often used to forecast what might happen if XYZ changes in your product.
Need help deciding what method is best for your study? Click the button below to schedule a consultation with one of the experts at Focus Pointe Global.
If you’d like future Focus Pointe Global blog posts sent directly to your inbox, simply enter your email address in the field to the right to subscribe.