A Comprehensive Guide to Conducting Good Research

by Elizabeth Chen 19 October 2022

Whether you are launching a new product, wanting to identify new business opportunities or trying to better understand your customers, research is an important step that should not be overlooked. 

You might be thinking – I can just do a quick Google search. You’re not wrong, doing a high-level search can help give you a quick idea of your research topic, but you should never rely solely on top Google search results. 

Comprehensive research can help you achieve your business goals with data-supported insights. However, biased research and unverified sources can misguide your decisions, and do more harm than good for your business. 

Why is good research important for your business?

Good business research is designed to help organizations inform understanding about customers, enhance decision making and identify opportunities and threats. 

Regardless of your objectives, research is an important part of business and vital to achieving success. The process can enable your team to:

  • Develop products that fulfil the needs of your customers
  • Determine the viability of a new venture; or
  • Gather the information you need to avoid making fatal mistakes.

Good research is based on unbiased data. However, it is easy to take shortcuts or make assumptions based on what you want the research to uncover. Here are 6 steps that can guide you and your team to conduct good research.

6 Steps to conducting good research 

Step 1: Set clear objectives 

Good research starts with clear objectives. Carrying out research without clear goals is like going on a journey without a destination. 

Objectives describe what your research project intends to accomplish. They act as guidelines to ensure the data and insights you collect are relevant and useful. Begin with outlining the primary focus – clearly describe what you want to achieve through your research. Then you can break it down into more specific research objectives. 

Step 2: Formulate your hypothesis 

What is a hypothesis? You should have some assumptions about your research topic, or your quick Google search has given you some ideas. A hypothesis is a logical prediction of what you think will be discovered from your research – it’s an educated guess based on what you already know. 

Hypotheses are important because they help frame the design of the research and the expected results. Hypotheses act as guides to collect the relevant data related to the research objectives. Good hypotheses should be clear, relevant, testable and grounded in prior knowledge. 

Step 3: Develop a research plan

This is the last step in the planning phase before you dive deep into the research. Now that you have your objectives and hypotheses clearly defined, it’s time to determine how you will conduct the research.

This is a crucial step as it sets the foundation for the entire research process and helps ensure that the objectives and hypotheses are met.

It’s important to carefully consider some key factors before proceeding with the research to make sure that the data collected is relevant and useful. Some questions to consider include:

  • What data is needed and is this data already available?
  • What research methods will be used to collect the data? 
  • How will you recruit participants if necessary? 
  • Who will be responsible for each part of the data collection?
  • How much time do you have to collect the data? 

Step 4: Collect and analyse data 

Data serves as the foundation for transforming intuition or gut instincts into factual information. Without data, you cannot be unbiased with your findings and decisions.

This step involves carrying out the methods outlined in your research plan to gather the information you need to test your hypotheses. The methods used will depend on the research objectives and hypotheses, but common methods include surveys, interviews, focus groups and experiments.

It is important to note that the way you collect data can lead to biases in your research. Hypotheses are set to guide your research, but avoid seeking data that only serve to confirm your hypotheses. 

Some things to consider collecting data to avoid bias: 

  • If you’re taking findings from a research study, you’ll want to look at who funded the research, and what was the sample size. Another thing to look out for is when the article, study or book was published. You’ll want to be looking for recent studies, as information can change over time.  
  • If you are running your own study, be aware of selection and sampling bias. Avoid convenience sampling and use random sampling where possible. 
  • Avoid leading questions – researchers can unknowingly skew interviews towards a specific research outcome. Asking questions that prompt or suggest the desired answer can reduce the accuracy of the data collected. 

Step 5: Analyse, interpret and report findings 

Once data has been collected, the next step is to analyse it. The goal of data analysis is to identify patterns and insights that can help answer the research objectives and test the hypotheses. 

Data analysis allows you to turn raw data into something meaningful, and it doesn’t have to be complicated. Connect and organise all the data and information you gathered from your research.

  • There are many data analysis tools that can help you with this process, like Excel and Google Sheets.
  • Data visualisation tools like Looker Studio and Databox can also help summarise your data so you can easily recognise relationships and patterns between data, hence finding meaningful insights. 

You can then interpret the findings from the data analysis and report them. This involves making sense of the data and identifying any patterns or insights that can help to answer the research objectives and test the hypotheses. The findings should be presented in a clear and concise manner so that they can be easily understood by others.

Step 6: Draw conclusions 

The final step is to draw conclusions from the research and make recommendations. This step involves taking the findings and using them to answer the research objectives and test the hypotheses.

It also involves making recommendations for how the findings can be used to inform business decisions or guide future research. The conclusions and recommendations should be clearly presented and supported by the data collected and analyzed in the previous steps.

Good research is vital to business success, but it also takes time. We’re here to help.  Visit our website at www.rumblr.com.au, or drop us a line: hello@rumblr.com.au

by Elizabeth Chen