The Research Objective Recipe
What is a research objective?
Simply put, your research objective is the goal of your research project or what you’re attempting to discover or understand. Therefore, your research objective should answer your research question, the methods you will use to get there, and how you will measure success.
Let’s think of our research objective as a recipe, and to get to our final product, we will need our research tool, a research audience, the construct (the main idea of the research), and the types of questions we’re going to ask. Let’s take a look at the recipe and the breakdown.
The Recipe: Conduct a(n) ________ among __________ to learn about ________ as measured by _________ (Step 2 in Marketing Research Process, Tanenbaum, Slide 5).
(1) Research Tools: The research tool is the research method that you will use to conduct your research and answer your research question. Methods for conducting the research include surveys, interviews, and focus groups. Here, you want to pick the process that is best suited to answer your research question.
(2) Research Audience: The research audience is who you’re going to recruit to conduct your research; the people you will distribute your surveys to and interview. Your sampling plan should include the types of people you want to use in your research and how many people you want to ask. When determining the research audience, you want to consider who will be the best group to answer your question? Again, this will come back to your research question. For example, if you’re trying to improve retention at your gym, you likely want to talk to your current customers. Whereas, if you are trying to determine what makes the neighboring gym more attractive than your gym, you might want to speak to the competition and their customers.
(3) The Construct: The construct refers to what we’re trying to learn or understand. The construct is the main idea or goal of what we’re trying to get out of the research. Let’s consider the example about membership retention again. In this case, our construct could be something like “to learn about why gym member retention has dropped over the last three months.”
(4) Types of Questions: The questions we ask will help us get at and answer our research question. The questions we ask are important because they will help us determine how we will measure success. So let’s look at the types of questions section of the objective recipe. For example, “measured by gym member’s current satisfaction and likelihood to stay with the gym.” You can think of this section as to how you’re going to measure your campaign results.
Your research objective recipe is an essential part of designing your research because it provides a clear-cut vision of what you’re trying to achieve through your research project. Without an objective, things can get messy. An objective allows a research team to stay aligned and work towards a common goal. When you have a clear-cut vision for your project that all stakeholders agree upon, you’re setting our project up for success.
Check out last week’s post about why market research is important here.