Why it’s Important to Consider Research Methodology

Once you’ve decided to conduct a market research project, we recommend you think about how the research will be carried out before you approach an agency. Whichever agency you choose will help you select the exact methodology, but it is worth familiarising yourself with the different methods so you can judge the level of detail (and the costs) appropriate for your project.

There are many different market research methods, which can all have an impact on cost. They are generally split into two main areas:

  • Primary research: this involves personal interviews, either face-to-face, via telephone, or facilitated through focus groups.
  • Secondary research: this involves gathering existing data from a variety of sources and analysing them together to draw conclusions. This is also known as desk research.


Primary research can be further divided into quantitative research with large numbers of respondents and qualitative research, where fewer respondents give more in-depth answers. We find a mix of both types is usually needed in order to gather measurable data that also has a clear context.

The cost of a primary research programme will depend on the number and type of interviews required. In the case of focus groups, you may need to add a few extra weeks to your timeline, since the recruitment of participants and set-up for a focus group may need to take place over a longer period.

It can be tempting to use a basic online survey and send a link to existing email contacts. While this no doubt costs less than hiring a market research agency, it comes with many risks and pitfalls. Unless it is regularly maintained, the quality of your contact database may be poor and emails may bounce or go into the respondents’ junk folder. This type of research typically draws low response rates and, in many cases, there are not enough respondents to be able to draw any valuable conclusions.

It is also easy to subconsciously design a questionnaire that includes bias-generating questions. Similarly, questions that make sense internally can sometimes be confusing or misleading to external respondents. It is common to see multiple choice response questions that exclude or miss out some common choices, and don’t provide an opportunity for the respondent to explain or clarify their answer.

Get in touch with MRA Research on 01453 521621 or email to see how we can help with your research project!

This post is part of our article series 9 tips for commissioning valuable market research.

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