Exploratory research: The chief purpose of exploratory research is to reach a better understanding of the research problem. This includes helping to identify the variables which should be measured within the study. When there is little understanding of the topic it is impossible to formulate hypotheses without some exploratory studies. For example, crop residues such a straw are high in lignin (a wood-like substance) and low in nutrients. This makes them a poor animal feed since the lignin acts against digestibility and the low nutrient content means poor food value. However, if treated in a strong alkali, plus a little heat, the lignin breaks down and the nutrient content increases. A ...view middle of the document...
Exploratory research is intended to help researchers formulate a problem in such a way that it can be researched and suggest testable hypotheses.
Descriptive research: As the name suggests, descriptive research is concerned with describing market characteristics and/or marketing mix characteristics. Typically, a descriptive study specifies the number and size of market segments, the alternative ways in which products are currently distributed, listing and comparison of the attributes and features of competitive products, etc.
This type of study can involve the description of the extent of association between variables. For example, the researcher may observe that there is an association between the geographical location of consumers and their tendency to consume red meat. Note that the researcher is able to describe the relationship rather than explain it. Nonetheless if the relationship between the two is fairly stable this descriptive information may be sufficient for the purposes of prediction. The researcher may, for example, be able to predict how fast the per capita consumption of red meat is likely to rise over a given time period.
The principal difference between exploratory and descriptive research is that, in the case of the latter, specific research questions have been formulated before the research is undertaken. When descriptive research is conducted the researcher must already know a great deal about the research problem, perhaps because of a prior exploratory study, and is in a position to clearly define what he/she wants to measure and how to do it.
Causal research: Causal research deals with the "why" questions. That is, there are occasions when the researcher will want to know why a change in one variable brings about a change in another. If he/she can understand the causes of the effects observed then our ability to predict and control such events is increased.
In summary then there are three distinct types of marketing research study: exploratory, descriptive and causal. The purpose of each is summarised in figure 1.4. In some cases, a research programme will be of one kind or another, but in other instances these three typologies will represent phases within a single marketing research investigation.
The research design is a comprehensive master plan of the research study to be undertaken, giving a general statement of the methods to be used. The function of a research design is to ensure that requisite data in accordance with the problem at hand is collected accurately and economically. Simply stated, it is the framework, a blueprint for the research study which guides the collection and analysis of data. The research design, depending upon the needs of the researcher may be a very detailed statement or only furnish the minimum information required for planning the research project. To be effective, a research design should furnish at least the following details.
a) A statement of objectives of the study...