8.6.1 Step 1 Identify the Managerial Problem and Establish Research Objectives



  1. ^ Primary data are data collected from individual research subjects
  2. ^ Secondary data already exists – on the Internet, in government documents, in the business press, in company files, or wherever
  3. ^ First, it’s usually quicker to find the data somewhere than to collect information from scratch.

  4. ^ First, it’s usually quicker to find the data somewhere than to collect information from scratch.

  5. ^ Example : Tanzania Mobile Phones Market
  6. ^ Most secondary research studies require both qualitative and quantitative data.
  7. ^ Never generalise from qualitative research.
  8. ^ Always follow up with a quantitative study to test the hunches developed in the qualitative study.
  9. ^ ====**

    Qualitative Research Techniques

  10. ^ focus groups
  11. ^ interviews of various kinds
  12. ^
          • Focus groups have significant limitations


8.6.2 Step 2: Determine the Data Sources and Types of Data Required

This step is critical in determining the cost effectiveness and timeliness of the research effort. The researcher must answer two key questions at this stage:
  • Should I gather data from primary or secondary sources?
  • Whichever type of data sources are called for, do I need qualitative or quantitative research to satisfy my research objectives, or both?

== Primary or Secondary Sources?
[1] Primary data are data collected from individual research subjects using observation, a survey, interviews, or whatever.

The data are then gathered and interpreted for the particular research objective at hand.

[2] Secondary data already exists – on the Internet, in government documents, in the business press, in company files, or wherever. Someone has already done the primary data collection and placed the data where others can access it, whether easily or with difficulty, whether free or at some cost.

Which is better – primary or secondary data?

If (and it’s an important if) a research objective can be met using secondary data, that’s usually the best course to follow. Why?

  • [3] First, it’s usually quicker to find the data somewhere than to collect information from scratch.

Imagine having to collect demographic data about Tanzania without the Tanzanian census!

  • [4] Second, it’s usually less costly to simply find existing secondary data than to collect the information as primary data all over again.

Third, secondary data are typically based on what people actuallydo, or how they actually behave.

Surveys, a common form of primary data, are based on what people say. The two are not the same, as we saw earlier in the forecasting portion of this module.

[5] Example : Tanzania Mobile Phones Market

For Maddy and Laguë, secondary data, if it is available, should answer several of their research questions, such as those on market and industry attractiveness, if Tanzania’s government has made gathering and reporting such data a priority. Often, the availability and quality of a country’s secondary data, from government as well as other sources, correlates closely with its degree of economic development. See Exhibit 8.8 for a list of some commonly used websites for market and industry analysis in the United States and Europe. Similar sources are available in most developed countries. To explore consumers’ willingness to use the innovative system of pay phones and calling cards that Maddy and Laguë proposed to develop, primary data were necessary. It is unlikely that a study to evaluate the attractiveness of such a system to consumers had already been conducted.
Exhibit 8.8 Some information sources for market and industry analysis

Type of information
Library sources
Internet sources
To find trade associations and trade magazines
Gale Directory of Publications; Encyclopedia of Associations; UK Trade Assocation Forum; European Trade Associations

Information on specific companies
Hoover’s Handbook of American Business; Ward’s Business Directory; Dun and Bradstreet Million Dollar Directory; Moody’s Industrial Manual

US demographic and lifestyle data
Lifestyle Market Analyst
Demographic data on a specific region or local trade area in the United States
Sourcebook of County Demographics; Sourcebook of Zip Code Demographics;Survey of Buying Power in Sales and Marketing Management; National Decision Systems, 1-800-866-6520 (fee); Urban Decision Systems, 1-800-364-4837 (fee)

International demographics and world trade
Predicasts F&S Index United States, Europe and International (EU) (Asia)

Macro trends
Statistical Abstract of the United States; Business Periodicals Index
Red Herring magazine

Proprietary providers of research reports

Market share

Market Share Reporter

Average financial statements by industry
Annual Statement Studies, Robert Morris and Associates
Given the rate of change on the web, some Internet addresses may change, and some print sources may add websites.

Source: Robert I. Berkman, Find it Fast: How to Uncover Expert Information on Any Subject in Print or Online (New York: HarperCollins, 1997); various web addresses as listed above.
====---- Qualitative or Quantitative Data and Research Approaches?====

Where secondary data are to be collected, the researcher needs to decide whether qualitative data, such as that concerning sociocultural trends in Tanzania, or quantitative data, such as the number of households in a particular income group in Dar es Salaam, are required.

[6] Most secondary research studies require both qualitative and quantitative data.

If primary data are necessary, a decision must be made about whether to collect that data using qualitative or quantitative research approaches.

Qualitative research usually involves small samples of subjects and produces information that is not easily quantifiable.

Qualitative data may yield deeper insights into consumer behaviour than are available from quantitative research.

For this reason, qualitative research is often conducted first and used to guide subsequent quantitative research.

An important drawback of qualitative research, however, is that its generally small samples may not fairly represent the larger population.

Most experienced marketing researchers would say,[7]Never generalise from qualitative research.

[8] Always follow up with a quantitative study to test the hunches developed in the qualitative study.’

Such statements presume, however, that adequate research resources are available to conduct additional studies.

Often, and particularly in entrepreneurial settings, such is not the case, and decision makers are forced to rely, albeit tenuously, on small-scale qualitative studies.

Quantitative research collects data that are amenable to statistical analysis, usually from large enough samples so that inferences may be drawn with some confidence to the population from which the subjects in the sample are drawn.

The principal benefit of quantitative research lies in its measurement of a population’s attitudes toward or likely response to products or marketing programmes.

Because of their larger sample sizes and quantitative metrics, greater confidence can be placed in quantitative studies, when conducted properly, using appropriate sampling procedures and statistical techniques. We address these issues in more detail in subsequent sections of this module.

====**---- [9] Qualitative Research Techniques There are seemingly as many qualitative research techniques as there are stars in the sky.[24]The most common ones, however, are

  • [10] focus groups and
  • [11] interviews of various kinds.[25]
  • A focus group typically consists of 8 to 12 consumers from the marketer’s target market brought together at a research facility to discuss a particular marketing problem,

    • such as attitudes toward a proposed new product and various possible features.
    • A skilled moderator conducts the focus group, records the conversation on audio and/or videotape, and writes a report of the findings.
    • Typically two or more groups are conducted for a single research project.
    • [12] Focus groups have significant limitations:

                  • They are subject to data distortion caused by a dominant person in the group,
                  • their results are difficult to interpret, and
                  • they are neither representative of nor generalizable to a larger population, due to their small sample size and convenience samples.
                  • They are a good way, however, to begin a research inquiry or to gather at least some information when research budgets are tigh

    • ---- Quantitative Research Techniques

In most quantitative research, questionnaires are used that enable the researcher to measure the subjects’ responses on quantitative scales.

These scales enable the researcher to compare product attributes, the responses of demographically different consumers, and other differences in order to better understand what consumers prefer, how satisfied they are with one product compared to others, and so on.

Where statistically significant differences are found, managers can be relatively certain at some known level of confidence that the differences uncovered in the research reflect those actually found in the whole population.

Examples of several kinds of quantitative scales commonly used in such research are shown in Exhibit 8.9.

Novice researchers, or those whose budgets are limited, can sometimes obtain useful market knowledge from small-scale research that begins with some qualitative research, perhaps several interviews, and concludes with a quantitative study using measures such as those shown in Exhibit 8.9.

Gaining experience with such research, even in a class project setting, provides future managers with some appreciation for the conduct of marketing research and the limitations to its interpretation.