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Planning Research

Problem Formulation: One of the most valuable roles marketing research can perform is helping to define the problem to be solved. Only when the problem is carefully and precisely defined can research be designed to provide pertinent information. Part of the process of problem definition includes specifying the objective so the specific research project.

Problem formulation requires good communication between decision marker and marketing researcher. The decision marker needs to understand what research can and cannot accomplish. The researcher needs to understand what the decision managers hope to learn from research i.e., the project objectives.

Research Objective: The research objective is a statement, in as precise terminology as possible, of what information needed. The research purpose motivates the development of research objectives. Research objectives have three components. The first is the research question: It specifies the information needed by the decision maker. The second element is the development of hypotheses that are basically alternative answers to the research question. The third is the scope or boundaries of the research.

Research Proposal: A proposal describes a plan for conducting and controlling research project. Administratively, it is the basis for a written agreement or contract between the manager and researcher, as well as a record of what was agreed. As such it provides a vehicle for reviewing important decision. This helps ensure that all parties are still in agreement on the scope and purpose of the research, and it reduces later misunderstandings. Frequently the decision to fund the proposed study. For these reasons, proposal should be viewed as a persuasive device that demonstrates the researcher’s grasp of the problem and ability to conduct the research and also highlight the benefits of the study.

Basic Contents of a Proposal

1.    Executive Summary: A brief overview of the contents of the proposal. It may be the only part read by some people, so it should be sufficient to give them a basic understanding of the proposal.

2.    Purpose and Scope: A description of the management problem the possible reasons for the problem and the decision alternatives being studied.

3.    Objectives: Defines the information to be obtained in terms of research questions to be answered. This information must be related explicitly to the management problem.

4.    Research Approach: Presents the important features of the research methods to be used. All aspects of the research that might be elements of a contract should be discussed, such as sample size, data collection method, sample selection procedures.

5.    Time and Cost Estimates: This encompasses all negoteiated aspects, including total fees, payment, provision, treatment of contingencies and the schedule for submission of interim, draft and final reports.

6.    Appendices: Any technical matter of interest, statistical information etc. Should be part of the back end of the proposal.

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