How To Plan A Market Research Assignment
Market research is a vital part of any B-school curriculum. Students often have to write research-based assignments and reports as part of their semester syllabus. Now, conducting a market research assessment is no piece of cake. You need meticulous planning, a reliable database, and some killer analyzing skills.
Read on to know all about how to plan market research assignments for your next project.
Types of market research
With market research, students get a holistic picture of the industry and the different brands that contribute to it. Also, the study is then narrowed down to one company/service, giving you deeper insights into its functioning and overall performance
However, before we move on to discuss the various steps of preparing a marketing research project, there’s something else to know. There are two main types of market research
Quantitative research: quantitative analysis collects data on a massive scale as the name suggests. The crux of qualitative research is to collect data from the ground level. This would involve customer surveys, feedback, and questionnaire.
Qualitative research: qualitative research has more nuance and niche when compared to its counterpart. But qualitative research depends on the data collected from the former. This research model is more exploratory in nature. It focuses on smaller groups and is usually conducted after the quantitative research is done.
Steps involve in market research
Market research is not an overnight process. Multiple steps consist in getting this study right- 7 to be precise. Here, I will try to expand upon these steps and provide simple tips and tricks for your convenience.
- Identifying your core issues
- Preparing the research statement
- Structuring your research assignment
- Planning a sample layout
- Data collection
- Data processing and analysis
- Conclusion and referencing
- Problem identification
Identify the reasons to conduct this market research
The first thing that you need to do is to identify the reasons to conduct this market research. Every assessment, at its core, deals with an issue or problem that the company faces. The purpose of the market research assignment is to find a solution for the said problem
The problem statement is usually mentioned in the abstract of the research report. Keep this section as clear and concise as you can. You must define the essential pointers and research methodology here as well.
The research statement comes next, where you state the intent and purpose of the research. Note that the research statement is different from the above problem statement. The problem statement highlights the key issues you cover in the paper. The research statement discusses the educational value of your research.
Students can also mention the critical hypothesis, which the market research builds upon. A hypothesis is not a question but a logical statement. The entire point of your paper is then to prove or disprove the theory based on the facts presented.
Market research structure
The structure of a market research assignment is quite simple. It follows the standard template of a beginning, middle and an ending. Note that the abstract, research methodology and hypothesis statement come before the introduction.
The introduction is where you set the background and context of your paper. It tells the reader all about the industry you will elaborate on later in the article. The body of the paper is where you discuss facts and use infographics to substantiate them.
The conclusion comes, at last, giving the student the space to tie all the loose ends together. It is not mandatory to have a definitive resolution. You can end your research assignment with a section outlining the future prospects of the sector.
The sample layout is the part where you design a blueprint for market research. Here are some questions you can address in this section
- Who is your target reader/audience base?
- What is your core industry?
- What do you plan to achieve from the research?
- What are your tools of analysis?
- What is your target demographic for the study?
Up until this point, all your plans were on paper. Marketing students also have a lot of practical exercises and activities. This is the part where you conduct surveys, prepare stat-based reports, and conduct detailed studies.
Customer surveys, questionnaires, interviews etc. are some research tools encouraged in most universities. Also, read up and refer to other market research programs and studies. This gives you better insight into the subject and also reduces the risk of accidental plagiarism
Data processing is the section where you analyze the data collected from surveys and studies. Here, the student has to sort through the raw data and arrange it logically. Data processing is perhaps one of the most critical aspects of your paper.
For, with data processing, you can put forth your critical points in a constructive way. It also gives you the space to provide your insights and take on the topic.
Keep the language academic and easy to comprehend
This is the section where you try to tie the loose ends of your market research and remind the reader of the critical points of the paper. It also allows you to explore the future prospects and potential of the market you write about
Ensure that you add a section citing all your sources. I usually recommend students to follow the APA or Harvard in-text referencing style. Here you can mention the sources in the body of the paper and then expand upon it in a Reference List towards the end.
In-text referencing is excellent for scientific journals, stat-based studies, and market research reports. Consult your peers and professors about the citation style before proceeding, though.
Additional tips for creating market research
Market research is an extensive process that involves several elements and steps. We have already talked about the steps above. Let us now elaborate on the aspects of a market research study. Here are some other simple tips that you can follow to make your market research assignment foolproof.
Keep the user-persona simple
Most market research assignments you complete in B-schools are on a fictional user-base. You don’t actually have to go out a conducted survey but create your own customer demographic. For the sake of convenience, keep the user-personal uncomplicated and straightforward.
Conduct individual interviews
There are multiple ways to present the data and sort it. Personal interviews, hypothetical scenarios, observations, survey questions are but some of how you can tackle the market research. Do not include a great question set, about 5-10 items per survey is more than enough for a market research paper.
Personal interviews are the best and easiest ways because they focus on fewer people and hence is better manageable. Also, it gives you market research a more personalized touch.
Keep the user-personal uncomplicated and straightforward
The language and formatting
The style must always be professional and in the third person. Of course, when you are recording the responses of the user-base, you have to use first-person pronouns. Other than that, keep the language academic and easy to comprehend. Follow the standard structure of beginning, middle and an ending as discussed above.
Data analysis models
There are different ways to graphically present the information. With infographics, you can visually appeal to the reader and transmit data in a more natural, more comprehensive form. Data analysis models make your work a lot simpler. And instead of having to write lengthy paragraphs, you can just have a flowchart or a diagram, do all the explanation.
Here are some basic data analysis models that you can apply to your paper.
The flow model is when the student uses a flowchart to depict the flow of information from one section to another. The model is used to track the communication channel between the buyer and the seller. It can also be used to outline the communication between the different departments within the organization.
The flow model in this market research assignment can be used for a visual representation of how the brand interacts with the user and vice versa.
The affinity diagram is often used to graph out vast volumes of data and make it simpler to understand. Here, you can use it for quantitative market research. It also helps you show the market leanings and customer buying tendencies prevalent to your inquiry.
The affinity diagram is useful for your paper because it helps in categorizing the data into different logical sections. You can divide the customer-base, for instance, into multiple categories based on their age, gender, or profession. This makes market research more niche and quicker.