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The Problem Definition Process
Can the problem
become opportunity?
Any suspect motives?
Recognize the problem or opportunity
Find out why the information is sought
Examine cultural &
bureaucracy issues
Understand the decision making environment
Determine cause &
effect relationships
Use the symptoms to help clarify the problem
Mgt. support is key
Have you researched
other research?
Are the objectives
doable / realistic?
Include timetable and
responsible party
Translate mgt. problem to marketing research problem
Determine whether the information already exists
Determine whether the question can be answered
State the research objectives
Chapter Two
The Decision Making Environment
Exploratory Studies
Exploratory Studies Defined
Key Methods
Preliminary research conducted to increase understanding of a
concept, to clarify the exact nature of the problem to be solved, or
to identify important variables to be studied.
• Define Terms
• Clarify Problems
• Develop Theories
• Establish Priorities
• Gain General Information
Chapter Two
• Pilot Studies
• Focus Groups
• Case Analyses
• Secondary Data
• Concept Testing
• Depth Interviews
• Taste Tests
• Experience Surveys
Theoretical base for your research
Evaluative report of existing literature
Critical assessment of the current state of
Find out what has already been done
Discover what has not yet been addressed
Position your research
Identify gaps or flaws in existing research
Suggest methods you should use
Provide support for your chosen methods
Select topic
◦ Achievable, interesting, focused, important
Determine what you want to know
◦ Break down into topic areas
 e.g. Student drinking: current behaviour, effects on
health, effects on functioning, motivations, etc.
Identify key search words and synonyms
◦ e.g. Charity advertisements, charity appeals,
nonprofit advertising, not-for-profit advertising,
nfp, etc.
Identify information sources
◦ Books, academic journals, popular press articles,
government documents, conference proceedings,
◦ ABI Inform is an important management database
; Select “articles”; Select
“management”; Select “connect” for ABI Inform
general and specific information
◦e.g. Recycling:
Overall recycling trends,
general consumer motivations for recycling,
specific local programs.
peer-reviewed academic articles when
◦other (gov’t reports, popular press, stats, etc.)
◦ What is the current state of knowledge in the
◦ How have others approached the research area?
◦ What are the key concepts and theories in the
◦ What do we still need to find out?
◦ What is the best way to find that out?
◦ What would be the importance of your research?
Literature review for your group topic
◦ Determine what you want to know
◦ Identify search terms
◦ Find several relevant articles
◦ Summarize these
◦ Write the lit review with references
◦ Submit via email to prof. and all group members