Business Research: Definition, Methods, Types & Examples

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Ever wondered what it takes to build a flourishing business? Aiming to provide maximum sales and profit, business research helps you to gather comprehensive information pertaining to your business and accordingly making relevant changes if required. So, in this process of being successful, we gather all types of data in order to better define our strategies and understand what products or services customers really want. And in case, you’re planning to expand your business, research can help you determine your odds of positive results. In this blog, we’ll help you understand the basics of research and analysis.

“Whoever gets closer to the customer, wins.” – Bernadette Jiwa

What is Business Research?

Business Research can be simply defined as a process of gather comprehensive data and information of all the areas of business and incorporating this information for sales and profit maximization. If you are wondering what is Business Research, it is a systematic management activity helping companies to determine which product will be most profitable for companies to produce. Also, there are multiple steps in conducting research, with each thoroughly reviewed to ensure that the best decision is made for the company as a whole.

Also Read: Scope of MBA in International Business

Business Research Example

Let say there’s an automobile company that is planning to launch a car that runs on CNG. In order to promote cleaner fuel, the company will be involved in developing different plans and strategies to identify the demand for the car they are intending to launch. Other than this, the company will also look for competitors, the target audience, keeping in mind the distribution of CNG in India. Hence the researches are conducted on various ideas to formulate a sustainable and more efficient design. 

Importance of Business Research

When it comes to the question why Business Research is important, it has an essential role to play in varied areas of business. Here are some of the reasons describing the importance of Business Research:

  • It helps businesses gain better insights about their target customer’s preferences, buying patterns, pain points, as well as demographics.
  • Business Research also provides businesses with a detailed overview of their target markets, what’s in trend, as well as market demand.
  • By studying consumers’ buying patterns and preferences as well as market trends and demands with the help of business research, businesses can effectively and efficiently curate the best possible plans and strategies accordingly.
  • The importance of business research also lies in highlighting the areas where unnecessary costs can be minimized and those areas in a business which need more attention and can bring in more customers and hence boost profits.
  • Businesses can constantly innovate as per their customers’ preferences and interests and keep their attention towards the brand.
  • Business Research also plays the role of a catalyst as it helps business thrive in their markets by capturing all the available opportunities and also meeting the needs and preferences of their customers.

Also Read: Business Analyst vs Data Analyst

Types & Methods

Business research plays an important role in the business intelligence process. This is usually conducted to determine if a company can succeed in a new region through competitive analyses and better marketing approach. Due to this, this broad field has been distinguished into two types namely, Qualitative Research and Quantitative Research Method.

Credits: Studyvids

Here are the most important types of Business Research:

Qualitative Research Methods 

It involves putting open-ended questions to the audience through different channels of communication to understand why researchers think in a particular manner. Stress is laid on understanding the intent, attitude, and beliefs to figure out the behavior and response of the customers. Moreover, the goal of Qualitative Business Research is to get in-depth knowledge about the subjects of the research. Moreover, qualitative research enables us to put the perspective of the consumer in front of the researcher, so that we can understand and see the alignment of the ideas between the market and the business. 

The data is collected in this type of business research is by the following methods: 

  • Interviews 
  • Case Study 
  • Focus Groups 
  • Ethnographic Research 
  • Website Visitor Profiling 
  • Content Analysis 

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Let us take a detailed look at some of the ways-

Interview

Interviews and surveys are similar in nature. The only difference lies in the fact that the responder can put a question in an interview whilst it is not possible during a survey. Through interviews, it is easier to understand a detailed perspective of the person with respect to the subject of research. A mobile brand conducted research to understand why certain colours are preferred by male and female customers. The research revealed that since red is assumed to be a feminine colour, it is more preferred to females than males. 

Focus Groups 

Focus groups are a type of business research that involves only a set of individuals. Each selected individual represents a particular category of the target market. The major difference between interviews and focus groups is the number of people that it involves. With an intention to launch a new product for a particular group of society, focus groups prove out to be the best way to understand the needs of the local audience. 

For example, Tesla decides to launch their latest car model in India. The company, therefore, will require feedback from the Indian audience only.

Did you know? Amazon, the internet giant changed its payment strategy to enter the Indian market. Since the Indian economy was not entirely ready for online modes of payment, amazon introduced a new payment method and came up with ‘cash on delivery’ to gain consumer’s trust.

Case Study Research 

One of the most effective ways for business research is conducting case studies. With the motive to understand customer satisfaction, challenges that usually the customers face while using the product and hence, providing them with the right solution can be achieved by analysing data secured through data secured by case studies. Case study researchers are conducted in many fields of business that ultimately aid organisations in improving their product or service. 

Ethnographic Research

Ethnographic Research refers to understanding people as a whole. One must be able to grok their consumers or target audience which will help identify patterns, flaws, etc. Ethnography is a branch of anthropology that is a study of what elements or features make us humans. How did people live? What aspect made us so dependent on smartphones and technology. Why would people buy one product over the other? It refers to asking questions about lifestyle, communities, etc., and trying to gain insight into consumer behaviour and buying patterns.

For example, consider a random product. Are people really looking for that product? Do they need it? Is it a necessity or a luxury? Which class of people are most likely to buy it? People often cannot comprehend what they are looking for. Gaining different perceptions can help us tailor our products accordingly to the consumers. Who would have thought that the majority of humans will need face masks for survival?

Also Read: How to Become a Research Analyst?

Quantitative Research Methods 

With the employment of mathematical, statistical and computational techniques, quantitative research is carried out to deal with numbers. This systematical empirical investigation starts with the acquisition of the data and then moving on to analyzing it with the help of different tools. The goal is to identify clientele and then meet the targets of the audience. As the method of business research employs a questionnaire to determine the audience response, the questions are built around the idea that the audience knows about the product or the services that the firm offers. Some of the key questions answered in quantitative research methods include, who is connected with your network, how do they qualify the ‘product’ or how regularly they visit your website.

The data is collected based on the following research:

  • Correlational
  • Survey 
  • Online 
  • Literature
  • Casual Comparative 
  • Experimental 

Let us take a detailed look at some of the ways-

Survey 

It is the most common method under quantitative research via which a huge amount of data can be collected with respect to a product or service. A common set of questions are asked to the people and they are asked to provide their inputs. To understand the nature of the market in-depth, this method is massively used by leading organisations all across the globe. Analysing data recorded through service helps organisations in taking suitable decisions.

Correlation Research 

Under this research, usually two entities are put together to examine the impact they create over each other. As suggested by the name it is the best process to understand patterns, relationships and trends.the data grasped through correlation research is generally combined with other tools as one cannot achieve a firm conclusion using this type of business research.  

Experimental Research 

Experimental research is purely based on proving a particular theory that is pre-assumed. True experimental research companies can understand varied behavioural traits of the customers that further assist them in generating more revenue. Exposing a set of audience to common parameters, their behaviour is recorded and hence analysed. This can be understood as the main basis of the experimental research. 

Also Read: Scope of Operation Research

Credits: GreggU

Advantages and Disadvantages of Business Research

There are certain pros and cons of business research that you must know about. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of Business Research.

Advantages of Business Research

  • Business Research plays the role of a catalyst in identifying potential threats, issues as well as opportunities.
  • It provides a detailed analysis of customers and the target audience, thus helping in building better relationships with one’s audience and capturing the areas which we might be missing out on.
  • It also anticipates future problems thus the enterprise is able to tackle those uncertainties and prepare for them beforehand.
  • It keeps a continuous track of competition in the market and gives businesses the scope to come up with better strategies to tackle their competitors.
  • Business Research also conducts a thorough cost analysis thus helping the company efficiently manage resources and allocate them in an optimal manner.
  • It keeps you updated with the latest trends and competitor analysis.

Disadvantages of Business Research

  • Business Research can be expensive and time-consuming.
  • It also has the danger of being assumptive and imprecise at times, because the focus groups might be small or can be highly based on assumptions.
  • The market is ever-changing and ever-evolving and capturing the right trends or anticipating them can constitute a complicated process for business research.

Also Read: Types of Research Design

Process

The process of business research can be as comprehensive and as detailed as a business wants it to be. Generally, a company takes up research with a certain aim or hypothesis in order to figure out the issues, opportunities and trends and how they can be leveraged in the best way.

Here is the step-by-step process of Business Research:

  1. Identifying the Opportunity or Problem– To begin with the research, we first need to know what is the problem or the opportunity we would be leveraging on. It can be a popular trend or a common problem that a business is facing and can potentially become the headstart for the research process. Once you know the problem or the opportunity, go ahead with giving an understandable statement of what it’s about, what the hypothesis of the research will be as well as its objectives.
  2. Decide and Plan the Research Design– The next step in the business research process to find the right research design which suits the objectives and overall plan of the research. The most popular research designs are Quantitative and Qualitative Research.
  3. Determining the Research Method– The research design is closely connected to the research method since both qualitative and quantitative research designs have different methods for data collection, analysis, amongst others. So, once you have put a finger on what the right research design will be, go ahead with finding the right research method as per the plan, types of data collection, objective, costs involved, and other determining factors.
  4. Collect Data– Utilizing the research method and design, the next step in the business research process is to collect data and assimilate it.
  5. Data Analysis and Evaluation– After assimilating the data required, the data analysis will take place to gather all the observations and findings.
  6. Communicate Results– The presentation of the business research report is the concluding step of this procedure after which the higher management works upon the best techniques and strategies to leverage the opportunity or tackle the issue.
Credits: Manager Sahab

Also Read: MBA in Business Analytics

Scope of Business Research

The scope of Business Research is multifarious and reaches out to many specialisations and areas. Let’s take a look the scope of business research across various specialisations:

  • Marketing Management
    When it comes to business research, it becomes an important part of marketing management that analyses consumer behaviour, target audiences, competition, price policy, promotional plans and much more.
  • Financial Management
    It also plays an essential role in budgeting, financial planning, cost allocation, capital raising, tackling fluctuations with international currency as well as taking finance-related decisions.
  • Production Management
    Production Management also includes business research as it helps in product development, planning out for a newer one, finalising the right technologies for the production, and so on.
  • Materials Management
    Business Research is an important aspect of checking the best materials and carrying out its production, supply chain management, logistics, as well as shortlisting negotiation strategies.

Also Read: Scope of MBA in International Business

Role of Business Research

There is an incremental role of business research as it’s importance is across every aspect of the business. Let’s take a look at the role of business research in an enterprise:

  • The most primary role of business research is that it helps across every decision in the business, from product innovation to marketing and promotional planning.
  • Business Research also helps in forecasting for a business, whether in terms of competition or any other types of problems it will be facing.
  • Another key area where this plays a bigger role is ensuring consumer satisfaction as through research, we can carry out research and highlight areas where we can efficiently serve our target audience.
  • Business research also helps in implementing cost-effectiveness in a business as it can assist in cutting costs wherever needed and investing more in those areas, where profit is coming from.

Business Research Books

Want to understand and learn more about business research? Here are some of the books that will make you a pro in this field. Check out the list of business research books:

Business Research Methods by Emma Bell Buy Here
Business Research Methods by Donald R. Cooper Buy Here
Essentials of Business Research Methods by Joseph F. Hair Jr Buy Here
Management and Business Research by SAGE Publications Buy Here
Data Analysis in Business Research by D Isarel Buy Here

Also Read: Is It Possible to Study MBA in Europe Without GMAT?

Business Research Report

The purpose of a report is to inform the other members, junior and subordinates of the team to provide information on the specific topic. There is a specific format of a business report which makes it look more professional and presentable. There should be a title with the date and nature. The second section includes the introduction, body, and then conclusion. Reports help to identify the issues and helps in resolving them at earlier stages. It can include graphs, surveys, interviews, flow, and piecharts also.

Business Report Sample
Credits: Venngage

Objectives

Are you wondering why is there a need to do business research? Business is not stable and it is vital to stay up to date with all the data and developments. It is also important to make business-related decisions, keep track of competitors, customer feedback, and market changes. The basic objective of business research is to identify the issues and evaluate a plan to resolve them for better managerial functioning.

Top 10 Tools for Business Reseach

Now that you are familiar with the objective, importance, advantages the next important step is to know how to conduct research. There are numerous tools available for free while for some advanced tools there is a membership. Check out the list of top 10 tools:

  1. Google Keyword Tools
  2. Questback
  3. Klout
  4. Ked
  5. Peerindex
  6. Google Analytics
  7. KeySurvey
  8. FreeLunch
  9. Google Trends
  10. Soovle

Business Research Partners

The one thing constant in a business is market changes. A new trend or change comes every time you blink an eye. To keep a track of everything externally and internally a research partner comes helpful. There are few things to keep in mind that will help you in choosing the right business partner. The first thing to keep in mind is that the person should have relevant work experience and expertise in that particular field. An experienced partner can help businesses reach new heights. Look for a partner that can provide well-curated solutions and not the generic ideas that every enterprise follows. Last but not least is that your business research partner should have knowledge of the latest tools and techniques.

Also Read: MBA in Sustainable Development: Courses & Universities

Top 10 Business Research Topics

Is your big presentation coming up or your report is due on Monday but you still haven’t finalized your business research topic? Here are some of the trendiest research topics for you:

  1. How advertisement influences consumer behavior?
  2. Does incentive motivate increase employee productivity?
  3. How to handle crises in the business?
  4. How to create a work-life balance in the organization?
  5. What are the things a small business owner has to face?
  6. How to expand the company globally?
  7. How is digital marketing helping every business type?
  8. How to maintain the quality and quantity of products?
  9. What are the struggles entrepreneurs of a start-up faces?
  10. How to create a budget and maintain company finances?

Career Prospects 

In order to build a career in Research, you can simply grab a degree in the field of Management, Business or Administration. So, students with an understanding of the core concepts of business and an inclination for research can consider it as a go-to option. Other suitable programs can be Master in Management, MBA Business Analytics, MBA Data Analytics, to name a few.

To know more, check out Qualitative Research Methods!

FAQs

What is meant by business research?

It can simply mean researching about every area of a business and using the provided information and data to ensure profit maximization.

What are the types of business research?

There are different types of business research such as interviews, surveys, focus groups, correlational research, ethnographic research, case study research and quantitative research methods, amongst others.

What is the importance of business research?

It is essentially important for various aspects of a business such as profit maximization, cost-cutting, financial management, personnel management, consumer behaviour, etc.

What is the process of business research?

The process of research depends upon the type of research design you are opting for. To start with, we first need to determine the aim or objective of research, then plan out the whole process which includes the types of methods we will be using, then the actual research takes place followed by the data found that helps in understanding the key observations and how they can be implemented to actualise research hypothesis.

If you’re thinking to start a product line in your existing business or planning a startup, business research is a fundamental process that help you to navigate the opportunities and obstacles in the marketplace. Knowing your strengths and weakness can help you come up with advance and powerful research techniques that will make it easier to manage. Are you planning to take your higher education abroad? Then, you can quickly book a counselling session with the experts at Leverage Edu and we can help you build the right platform for you to grow in the corporate world.

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