Data collection for marketing research is a detailed process where a planned search for all relevant data is made by a researcher. The success of marketing research is contingent on the integrity and relevance of the data. And to a high degree, the quality of the data depends on the methods of data collection used. The selection and use of methods for conducting marketing research require a great deal of experience and expertise in order to correctly gage suitability.
These methods fall into two types of research categories, which are Qualitative Research and Quantitative Research. Qualitative Research is generally used to develop an initial understanding of the problem. It is non-statistical in nature and the answers are derived from the data itself. It is used in exploratory and descriptive research designs. Qualitative data can be procured through a variety of forms like interview transcripts; documents, diaries, and notes made while observing. Quantitative Research, on the other hand, quantifies the data and generalizes the results from the sample to the population.
There are two types of data:
- Primary Data – Data that is collected first hand by the researcher. This data is specifically collected for the purpose of the study and addresses the current problem. This is original data that is collected by the researcher first hand.
- Secondary Data – Data from other sources that has been already collected and is readily available. This data is less expensive and more quickly attainable from various published sources. Secondary data is extremely useful when primary data cannot be obtained at all.
The challenge lies in the case of method selection for collecting primary data. The method has to be relevant and appropriate. This will be the most important decision prior to beginning market research.
The market research process consists of 6 distinct steps:
- Step 1 – Determine the research problem and objectives
- Step 2 – Cultivate the overall research plan
- Step 3 – Collect the data
- Step 4 – Analyze the data
- Step 5 – Present or publish the findings
- Step 6 – Use the findings to make an informed decision
To further explore Step 3, here a few effective methods of data collection:
1. Telephone interviews
The biggest advantage of telephone interviews is that saves cost and time. Today, accessing people via telephone is so much easier because almost everyone has one. Another advantage is fewer interviewers are required in order to conduct telephone interviews than face-to-face interviews.
2. Online surveys
Given the current myriad of technological developments, the use of online surveys has rapidly increased although it is still a bit limited for Cambodia market. It may well be the least expensive way to reach the greatest amount of people – all over the world. Once an online survey has been designed, it can be stored easily, revised and reused as needed from time to time. The key is in the design and layout of the survey so that respondents don’t overlook a survey in their crowded inboxes. The response time is quick so online surveys have become the preferred method of data collection for many consumer satisfaction surveys and product and service feedback. It is easy to track respondents, non-respondents, and results through the data collection process. Electronic reminders can be sent easily at a very low cost. Respondents have the option to begin the survey, stop, save the responses at a later more convenient time. Research shows that respondents tend to answer questions more truthfully than when engaged through other methods.
3. Face to face interviews
This method is one of the most flexible ways to gather data and gain trust and cooperation from the respondents. Besides that, interviewing respondents in person means their non-verbal language can be observed as well. It is especially useful to detect discomfort when respondents are discussing sensitive issues. Respondents have more time to consider their answers and the interviewer can gain a deeper understanding of the validity of a response. It is also easier to maintain their interest and focus for a longer period. Focus Group Interviews entail more respondents at one time.
Face to face interviews can also take place via Intercept Interviews as well. These interviews can take place on the spot at shopping malls, street corners or even at the threshold of people’s homes. It is understandable why these types of interviews must be brief, to the point and free of from distasteful questions as there is a strong risk of the potential respondent leaving.
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