Let’s start with the beginning…
- What is the Study (and Stakeholders’) Objectives?
- What business problem is the study trying to address?
- How do the stakeholders of the study think the research will help them address their needs?
- Will the research provide recommendations that are actionable?
- Are the benefits of the research recommendations quantifiable?
- What decisions will the results of this study influence?
- What are the client or stakeholder’s expectations?
- How research-savvy are they?
Continuing with some research basics…
- If this project goes perfectly, what will the client be able to do that they can’t do today?
- Do the stakeholders need results for an event, budget cycle, or strategic planning process?
- Who will use this research (sales department, customer care, advertising team?)
- Is there existing data from past research or other sources, such as web analytics?
- What is the context of the research? The context stems directly from the reason the research is being funded, in most cases, client decisions.
This is an opportunity…or is it?
- If this is a new client, is this a competitive RFP?
- Why did this new client seek you out?
- Who else is competing for this research? How will they respond?
- Is your contact the decision-maker for this project?
- How committed is the decision-maker to actually acting on the results?
- How much budget does the client have to spend? For planning, rather than reworking the study later.
- Are the client’s expectations reasonable and attainable given the budget and timing?
Don’t get into trouble…
- What are the legal limitations for doing research in this country and state? This includes laws about using auto-dialer, privacy, intellectual property rights, unsolicited email and/or phone calls, etc.
- Are there any ethical issues to be addressed while designing the study.
- Are there any MR code of conduct issues to be addressed before considering this project?
Keeping it real…
Is there a geographical context and/or requirement?
What is the extent you or the client can generalize the research findings (i.e. population of interest).
Is the target audience for the study feasible?
Once the above questions are discussed, the study should start to form regarding tactical project parameters. Below are some parameters to discuss if you haven’t already…
- Research Approach
- Qualitative or Quantitative?
- Specific Exercises needed (Conjoint, Maxdiff, etc.)
- Length of Interview
- What kind of sample will suit this study best?
- Type of respondent (e.g., CxO, consumers, Developers). This needs to have as much clarity as possible.
- Number of market segments (e.g., company sizes, industries, adoption criteria).
- If possible, any understanding of the incidence of this audience
- What is the targeted timeframe for completing the project? (i.e., # of days, weeks, or months)