Book Title
Basic Marketing Research: Using Microsoft Excel Data Analysis 3rd Edition

978-0135078228 Chapter 3 Lecture Note

June 7, 2019
The Marketing Research Process—Defining
the Problem and the Research Objectives
To gain insights into marketing research by learning the steps in the marketing research
To understand when marketing research is not needed
To understand the difference between the “problem” and the “research objective”
To know the importance of properly defining the problem
To appreciate a process for defining the problem and research objectives including
knowing the varied sources of problems
To understand the role of symptoms in problem recognition
To realize that problems occur when management must make a decision and that
decisions are statements of decision alternatives
To understand the researcher’s role in problem definition
To understand that marketing research is needed when managers are uncertain of their
assumptions needed to specify consequences of decision alternatives
To know the criteria for properly wording a research objective
To know what an action standard is and why it is needed
To know common impediments to properly defining the problem
To learn what is contained in the marketing research proposal
The Marketing Research Process
The Process: Eleven Steps
Step-by-Step Process: Words of Caution
Why Eleven Steps?
Not All Studies Use Every Step
Steps Are Not Sequential
Introducing “Where We Are”
Step 1: Establish the Need for Marketing Research
Company Policy Regarding the Use of Marketing Research
When Is Marketing Research Not Needed
The Information Is Already Available
The Timing Is Wrong
Funds Are Not Available
Costs Outweigh the Value
Step 2: Define the Problem
Step 3: Establish Research Objectives
Step 4: Determine Research Design
Step 5: Identify Information Types and Sources
Step 6: Determine Methods of Accessing Data
Step 7: Design Data-Collection Forms
Step 8: Determine Sample Plan and Size
Step 9: Collect Data
Step 10: Analyze Data
Step 11: Prepare and Present the Final Research Report
Defining the Problem
What Is the “Problem” and the “Research Objective”?
The Problem
The Research Objective
The Importance of Properly Defining the Problem
A Process for Defining the Problem and the Research Objectives
Problem Sources
Failure to Meet an Objective
Recognizing the Problem
Systems Needed to Recognize Problem Sources
Control System
Opportunity Identification System
The Role of Symptoms in Problem Recognition
Problem Definition
The Role of the Researcher in Problem Definition
When Management Defines the Problem in Terms of a Decision to Be Made
The Role of ITBs and RFPs
When Management Does Not Define the Problem in Terms of a Decision to Be Made
Conduct a Situation Analysis
Validate Symptoms of the Problem
Determine Probable Cause of the Symptom
Specification of the Decision
Specify Decision Alternatives to Alleviate the Symptom
Consequences of the Alternatives
Identify the Manager’s Assumptions About the Consequences of the Alternatives
Assess the Adequacy of Information on Hand to Specify Research Objectives
Research Objectives
Defining Research Objectives
From Whom Are We Gathering Information?
What Construct Do We Wish to Measure?
What Is the Unit of Measurement?
Word the Information Requested in the Respondents’ Frame of Reference
Completing the Process
Action Standards
Impediments to Problem Definition
Failure to Change Behavior for Problem Definition Situations
Differences Between Managers and Researchers
Formulate the Marketing Research Proposal
Action standard
Causal research
Market opportunity analysis (MOA)
Marketing opportunity
Marketing research proposal
Operational definition
Criteria for research objectives
Data analysis
Decision alternatives
Descriptive research
Eleven steps
Exploratory research
Failure to meet an objective
Information gaps
Information state
Opportunity Identification
Possible causes
Primary information
Probable causes
Research objectives
Sample plans
Sample size
Secondary information
Situation analysis
1. This chapter is an overview of the steps in the marketing research process. One effective
method of teaching these steps is to describe a real marketing research project. Possible
approaches are: instructors using applied research they have done themselves, class projects
done in prior classes, or some other real-world marketing research example with which they
are familiar. Use the example to describe how each step was accomplished. Reading excerpts
from final reports is an effective method. Plus, if you have a team project-based class, it will
show students what the final product will look like.
2. If you have former students available, who have participated in a marketing research
project in a previous semester, consider inviting the team or members of the team to
represent their project (assuming that they did a presentation previously). If the team used
PowerPoint or some other presentation software, consider obtaining the file(s) at the end of
the term either for the former students to use or for your use if the former students are not
available in the present term.
3. Because the chapter is an overview of, basically, the rest of the textbook, it is important to
avoid the temptation to go into detail on any one step. Use Figure 3.1 and present it as a flow
chart of the steps in the marketing research process. Indicate that the steps are arranged in
logical order (define the problem, set objectives, decide the method, collect the data, analyze,
and write up). However, sometimes you will need to iterate back to previous steps in the
process as discoveries are made in later steps. Also, the decisions made in each step will
impact what will or will not be done in subsequent steps.
4. Here is a “Research Phase” scheme that might help students better understand the various
Phase: Figure out what to research
Step 1: Establish Need
Step 2: Define Problem
Step 3: Determine Research Objectives
Phase: Design the mechanics of the research
Step 4: Determine Design
Step 5: Information Source
Step 6: Data Collection Method
Step 7: Questionnaire Design
Step 8: Sample Size and Plan
Phase: Gather data from respondents
Step 9: Collect Data
Phase: Generate findings and interpret them
Step 10: Analyze Data
Step 11: Write and Present Report
5. Connecting the marketing research process with the course syllabus and material
coverage schedule is useful. One approach is to note the step and then indicate the chapters
that will be covered and the weeks in the course schedule where those chapters are assigned.
If you are using a team project-based approach to teaching the course, indicate when students
will be taking up each step in the process as they work through their research projects.
6. If available, a marketing research practitioner is an effective guest at this point in the
course. One approach is to have him/her describe the services of his company, slanted toward
a full-service operation, and if possible the speaker will be able to comment specifically on
all steps in the marketing research process. Another approach is to have him/her describe a
typical day or week worth of activities.
7. Several items are new in this chapter for the 3rd edition, Figure 3.2, Recognizing the
Problem, the researcher’s role in problem definition, situation analysis, validation of the
symptoms, and action standards. Plus, defining the research objectives has been expanded.
The chapter is much more realistic and useful as a result of Ron Bush’s close association and
work with Ron Tatham who is featured in the chapter.