Definition of market research
The Australian Market & Social Research Society (AMSRS) defines market research as the systematic investigation of the behaviour, needs, attitudes, opinions, motivations or other characteristics of a whole population or a particular part of a population, in order to provide objective, accurate and timely information to clients (government, commercial and not-for-profit organisations) about issues relevant to their activities, to support their decision-making processes.
Purposes of market research
For (market) research most researchers agree there are three possible purposes, or accomplishments, exploring, describing and explaining (Singleton & Straits, 1999).
- Exploring Market Research
This type of market research investigates an area or issue on which little previous work has been carried out. Possible questions to be answered by the research are if a problem exists, which factors play a role, who are key players, what are motivations of the target group. To gather answers to these kinds of questions one uses various sources. Most of the time this type of market research is carried out through desk research or qualitative research.
- Descriptive Market Research
Descriptive research, also known as statistical research, aims to gather data and characteristics about the population or phenomenon being studied. Descriptive research answers the questions who, what, where, when and how. Although the data description is factual, accurate and systematic, the research cannot describe what caused a situation. Examples of subjects that are researched in descriptive market research are often about estimating the size of the market, market share, etc. This type of research is often conducted through quantative research.
- Explaining Market Research
Explanatory research aims to show why relationships, patterns and links occur. A researcher investigates which factors can influence the market. Explanations are sought for movements and developments in the market. The type of market research is often carried out through experimental research with a small target group. It is a collection of research designs which use manipulation and controlled testing to understand causal processes. Generally one or more variables are manipulated to determine their effect on a dependent variable.