The most important step in the market research process is defining the goals of the project. At the core of this is understanding the root question that needs to be informed by market research.

There is typically a key business problem (or opportunity) that needs to be acted upon, but there is a lack of information to make that decision comfortably; the job of the market research is to inform that decision with solid data. Examples of "Patients are denied high-cost drugs by NHS trusts Family doctors are being prevented from prescribing drugs for conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis as NHS managers attempt to make drastic budget cuts, an investigation has found." A recent study has found that over half of the English PCTs are adding drugs to their ‘Red lists’ of products that can only be prescribed by a Consultant in secondary care.

Now that we know our research objective, it is time to plan out the type of research that will best obtain the necessary data. In this step, we will first determine our market research method (will it be a survey, focus group, face to face interviews, etc). We will also think through specifics about how we will identify and choose our sample. This is also the time to plan how we will conduct our research (telephone, in-person, mail, the internet, etc.). Our choice of research instrument will be based on the nature of the data we are trying to collect.  

In this step of the market research process, it’s time to define the research tool. If a survey is the most appropriate tool (as determined in step 2), we’ll begin by writing the questions and designing your questionnaire. If a focus group is your instrument of choice, we’ll start preparing questions and materials for the moderator. One of the most important parts of the work is to ask the right questions so that the objectives of the project are met, but getting the wording of the questions right is absolutely essential to obtain the right data. Asking the right questions in an unambiguous, logical and interesting manner is a key factor distinguishing good research from bad. MedixGlobal is particularly good and experienced at getting this right. We usually test the survey/ research instrument with a small group prior to broad deployment. Take your sample data and get it into a spreadsheet; are there any issues with the data structure? This will allow us to catch potential problems early, and there are often problems, so we can prevent them impeding the research project.

This is the core of the project; the time when we are administering the survey, running our focus groups, conducting our interviews, implementing our field test, etc. The answers, choices, and observations are all being collected and recorded, usually in spreadsheet form. Each nugget of information is precious and will be part of the masterful conclusions we will soon draw.

Data collection has drawn to a close and we have heaps of raw data . It’s time to make sure we’ve got it structured properly. Once that’s all done, we can summaries with the tools provided in our software package (i.e. Excel, SPSS, Stata, SAS), build tables and graphs, segment our results by groups that make sense (i.e. age, gender, etc.), and look for the major trends in our data, start to formulate the story we will tell. 

This is often the most important part of the research project. We have carried out the research and got the data, but what does it all mean?

In some cases, just looking at the raw data in a chart or table can give the obvious conclusion, but more often thinking has to be done to interpret the findings and really understand what it all means. Stemming from this will be recommendations of actions to achieve the objectives set out at the beginning of the project.

The final report that is presented will tell the story in terms that are understandable and relating to the business and commercial objectives.

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