Marketing research can be defined as that aspect of application of various scientific methods in search for truth regarding a given marketing phenomena. Research in marketing is very important as it help marketers to improve their marketing activities by understanding a given phenomenon for instance, understanding consumer buying behaviors and coming up with strategies to win the customers. There are various forms of marketing research that are carried out with an aim of achieving different objectives, (Marder, 1997).
One form of marketing research that is commonly used is applied marketing research. This form of marketing research is conducted by various organizations with an aim of addressing a given marketing decision that is affecting the specific aspect of the firm. The outcomes of this form of research are aimed at helping the firm to resolve the problem at hand so that it can improve it efficiency and increase it sales volume. For example, applied market research can be applied in determining whether a firm should introduce a given product in the market. For instance, Mc Donald restaurant can carry out a research to determine what will be the implication of it removing one of it diet on its menu on its overall sales, (Young, 2005).
Secondly, another form of market research is basic marketing research. This form of marketing research is usually conducted without any specific decision that needs to be addressed by conducting the research. The basic marketing research is carried out with an aim of expanding the existing marketing knowledge within the organization. An example of basic marketing research is the one that is aimed at determining how consumer income influences their buying behaviors both in the long and short run?
Scientific methods are widely used in marketing research. Scientific methods can be defined as the various ways in which researchers uses the knowledge as well as evidence to reach at an objective inferences relating to a given situation in the real world.
The first is step in scientific method is having a prior knowledge about a given phenomenon. For example, if as a marketer you want to study consumer behavior you should have existing information in relation to the subject of consumer behavior that you intend to study. The second, step involves observing the results that you intend to get after carrying out an experiment. For instance, if you are experimenting on how income influences consumer behavior as marketer you will observe how consumer behaves when they have money and when they do not have money, (Bauer, 1992).
The third step involves developing research hypothesis which you intend to achieve. In this step the researcher identifies the independent and dependent variable which will be used in the research. After developing the research hypothesis the next step in scientific method involves testing the hypothesis. In this step the research test the validity of his or her research hypothesis by collecting data through various data collection techniques. These techniques include questionnaires, interviews among others. After the data is collected the researcher analysis the data collected in order to test the validity of his or her hypothesis. The final step while carrying out marketing research using scientific method is drawing conclusions for the study. In this step the researcher is expected to draw inferences of the overall study depending on the findings of the study. It is here where the researcher gives recommendations on what the organization should do according to the findings of the study in order to deal with a problem at hand.
Scientific method is of great importance when conducting marketing research as it helps the researcher to organize his or her work in a systematic manner and in a way that is easy to test carry out the study effectively on time, (Beveridge, 1950).
There are numerous challenges that a market researcher encounters as he conducts his or her research. These challenges hinder the research process and at times they affect the outcome of the study. The problems during market research may either internal or external.
One of the major problems that market researchers are faced with is financial constraint problem. In order to successful complete a market research a lot of financial resources are needed to cater for various expenses such as data collection expenses, data analysis expenses among others. In most cases the researchers have inadequate financial resources thus hindering their work. Time is another major problem that market researchers are faced with. Most of the market research which is financed by organizations involves completing the research within tight schedules. Therefore, in most cases the researchers are faced with time constraint in terms of collecting data, analyzing the data and finally making the final report, (Kotler, 2007).
Lack of cooperation among the respondents is another major challenge that is faced by market researchers. In order to successfully completing a given research you need to have cooperative respondents. Some of the respondents tend to be uncooperative and others tend to give false information thereby, affecting the outcomes of the research in a negative way. Finally, another problem that market researcher’s faces are legal constrains. In order to carry out a given research with any jurisdiction there are a set of rules and procedures that as a researcher you are expected to follow. These rules and procedures sometimes do hinder the progress of market research whereby; they restrict the research in terms of data collection thus, affecting the overall accuracy of the data collected, (Berghoff, 2011).
Exploratory research is a form of research that is carried out in order to address a certain problem that has not been defined clearly. Exploratory research is conducted with an aim of determining research design which is best to deal with the subject of the study, identifying method of collecting data and it also aids in the process of selecting the subject of the study. This form of research usually draws perfect inferences only with some sort of great caution. Going by the fundamental nature of this form of research, it assumes that there is no problem that actually exists, (Babbie, 1989).
Descriptive research on the other hand is a form of research that describes data as well as characteristics about a phenomenon or population that is being studied. This form of research is usually used to carry out research that are descriptive in nature and is not concerned with determine the cause of a given phenomenon but it is more concerned with describing the characteristics of the phenomenon been studied. It can be useful I n carrying out market research involving statistical data.
Finally, causal research is a form of research that is carried out with an aim of determining the variable that is responsible for causing a given behavior. This research is useful in determining the cause as well as the effect of various variables in a given situation. This form of research can be helpful while carrying out market research affecting people’s motivations and attitudes. Therefore, causal research can be carried out to determine the causes of a given situation in the market. For instance, a market researcher can conduct a causal research to determine the causes of poor negative attitude of the customers toward a given product, (Shields, 2006).
Ethics in research are the guiding principles that a research should follow when carrying out his or her research. On the other hand, morals are set standards which determine what is good or right. While carrying out marketing research a researcher is faced with a number of moral and ethical issues. First, he if faced with the problem of whether to force the respondents to take part in his research or to apply the research principle that requires the respondents to voluntarily participates in the research. In most cases the research has a dilemma of determining whether to uphold ethics and morals in choosing the respondents of the study. Another ethical issue that arises during marketing research is on the issue of ensuring that the respondents have an informed consent while participating in the study, (Hubert, 2007).
In most cases the researcher does not inform the respondents about their rights and they usually tend to participate in research without informed consent. They are usually not fully informed about the risks and the procedures involved in the entire research process. Another major ethical and moral issue that researchers face in market research is the issue of confidentiality. A researcher is expected to ensure the details of the research do not get public before the sponsor gets the research report. This is a challenge because in most cases the researcher fails to keep the findings of the research confidential thereby, giving the competitors a competitive edge when they get the findings of the research before the sponsor.
A research has moral obligation to ensure that he follows the ethical principles when carrying out his research. He should enhance the confidentiality of the findings of the research, ensure that the participants have an informed consent before participating in the research, ensuring that the results of the research fully reflects the findings of the study and finally, he does not force the participants to take part in his study, (Mavinic, 2006).
Quantitative data is concerned with numbers and data that can be calculated. Quantitative data is concerned with determining variables such as height, area, volume, length, speed, temperature, speed, humidity among other quantitative variables. It is therefore, very crucial to understand that quantitative data is more concerned with the quantity of the data rather than the quality of the data. For example, in case of a given paint quantitative data will be concerned with weight of the paint, cost of the paint, the surface area, the length of the paint among other quantitative variables in the paint, (Briffa, 2001).
On the other hand qualitative data usually deals with various descriptions in a variable. It is concerned with forms of data that can only be observed but cannot be measured. For instance, the data is concerned with issues such as smell, tastes, colors or textures. Qualitative data is more concerned with quality of the data rather than quantity of the data. For example, in the case of an oil paint qualitative data will be concerned with describing the colors in the paint.
Quantitative data is the most valuable data when it comes to carrying out research. It can be easily be verified through further studies unlike qualitative data which is hard to verify. In my case I can choose qualitative data to when conducting market research because it is more concerned with describing certain phenomenon, (Diriwächter, 2006).