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The Research Process and Problem Formulation

Dr. John T. Drea Professor of Marketing Western Illinois University

Steps in the Marketing Research Process (Churchill and Iacobucci)

Formulate the Problem Determine the Research Design Design the Data Collection Method and Forms Design the Sample and Collect Data Analyze and Interpret the Data Prepare the Research Report

Question to ask in the research process

Why should we do research? (helps establish research purpose) What is the real problem?

Example: Compton Corporation Advertising Example: When Citrus Hill left the market To make sure you and the decision maker are in agreement, write a statement of the research problem.

Problem Definition

Actions: What actions will be considered on the basis of the research? Origin: How did we get in this position? Information: What questions does the decision maker need answered? Use: How will each piece of information be used? Targets and subgroups: From whom will we collect this information? Logistics: What will it cost to do this?

Question to ask in the research process

What are the alternatives currently considered? That is, what actions would the organization be willing to take to solve the problem? What research should be done? Specify the research question: the information the decision maker needs. Specify the hypotheses: alternative answers to the research question.

Writing Hypotheses

Hypotheses can be developed using information from three sources:


Theory Management experience Exploratory research

Question to ask in the research process

Is it worth doing the research? Bayesian analysis can help here How should the research be done to achieve the research objectives? primary vs. secondary data problem specification techniques survey vs. experiment data collection methodology What will we do with the results?

International Issues in Business Research

Issue #1: Different and diverse environmental contexts


e.g., mature, sophisticated markets (US, Western Europe) Rapidly changing markets (Hong Kong, South Korea) Developing markets (India, Brazil) Transforming markets (Eastern Europe, Russia) Less developed markets (Africa)

International Issues in Business Research

Issue #2: Self-Reference Criterion

Incorrectly assuming that the same variables which are relevant in once nation are relevant in others. It is the underlying factors - cultural, social, governmental

International Issues in Business Research


Issue #3: Foreign Market Opportunity Analysis Questions that can be asked:

Do opportunities exist in foreign markets for our products and services Which foreign markets warrant investigation? What are the major economic, political, legal and environmental factors and trends in each of the potential countries? (CIA World Factbook) What mode of entry would be used to enter the market? What is the market potential in these countries? What is the nature of competition in foreign markets?