To get answers to the issues raised in Step 2 the researcher lays out a design for obtaining the information. Of course many marketers do not produce a formal design plan when conducting research. For example, a small retailer who asks a returning customer how she liked the product she purchased the previous week is engaged in research and doing so without the need to produce a formal plan. But for marketers looking to undertake formal research, a written research design plan is important.
The first part of the research design is to decide on the type of research that will work best for the purpose (i.e., explain, predict, monitor, discover, hypothesis test) and information that is sought. Research method choices can be broadly categorized as:
- Descriptive Market Research
- Exploratory Market Research
- Causal Market Research
As we will see, these methods differ in terms what each hopes to learn and how information is acquired.