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:
As we will see, these methods differ in terms what each hopes to learn and how information is acquired.