You never know who’s going to read a market research report. Perhaps it’s your client’s insights team, or it may be folks who work in finance or marketing who will be reading it. If you’re not sure, it’s probably all of them, and not everyone will understand the purpose of the report if they were not looped into the initial project launch meetings.
One of the most important phases of the project launch is the methodology brief, because, not only does it lay out the structure of the research project, but it also explains the motivating factors behind the research itself.
The methodology brief pulls all of the key stakeholders onto the same level, because it explains how and why the research is being conducted.
Defining the Research Objectives
The first part of the methodology brief focuses on the big picture: Why are we doing research?
The reasons might be found right in the RFP, but we also work together with the client early-on to learn the motivating factors behind the research to develop actionable objectives. We present the research objectives at the beginning of the brief so that everyone is on the same page with what the research iobjectives. An example of a research objective may be…
Determine awareness and impact of pre-event brand advertising on consumer behavior
That objective provides clear direction for both PortMA and the client team on a specific area on which to focus.
Proposing data collection methods
This is a good lead-in to the second part of the methodology brief, which is the proposed data collection method(s).
Here we define the types of respondents we’re planning to sample, which may or may not include quotas, if we’re doing quantitative research.
We also define the key segments to be used in analysis. Using the example above, one segment would be consumers who saw brand advertisements prior to attending the event. This provides a foundation for the research report and links back to the objectives.
Presenting the data collection tool
The third step is including a proposed draft of the data collection method, whether it’s a survey, a discussion guide, or both. The ability to receive client feedback before launch is invaluable, because it demonstrates our commitment to quality data collection.
The teams can work together to fine tune the draft to be a final product, so the research is ready to launch at a moment’s notice.
Laying out the measurement timeline
Finally, we provide next steps with a proposed project calendar so that everyone has a chance to review whether or not the delivery schedule fits their timeline. Again, with multiple stakeholders involved in the research, it’s crucial to ensure that our work meets everyone’s expectations.
Now if only there was a methodology brief for writing blogs…
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