Written report

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The basic requirement is for a report and presentation that can be believed and trusted by everyone who will be affected by the research (Figure 12.1). The solution to a particular research problem should produce greater efficiency, lower costs and more benefits for the organisation. The presenter of the research results has to convince the audience that the research findings can be acted on for their own benefit. A written report needs to be put together so that interest and belief develop throughout its reading and the recommended action appears as a natural outcome.

It may be beneficial to delete less important questions in order to emphasise the basic problem. Constant attention to the basic problem and its recommendations will make the study and its presentation more usable and interesting in the minds of the listeners and/or the readers of the final presentation. Presenters

Features of a good marketing research report

Provides answers to the brief

Contains recommended courses of action

Clearly structured

Concisely written and presented

Executive summary is well written

Interpretations and conclusions are fully stated

Relevant graphical illustrations are included

FIGURE 12.1

Characteristics of a good marketing research report have the best chance of success if they have planned their research well and meet the expectations of their listeners.

A good knowledge and understanding of the audience are essential for good reporting. The presenter of a report should know in advance who will receive copies of the written report or who will be at an oral presentation. The report should address itself directly to these people and their needs.

Anticipating objections from people with known mindsets may alter how a report is written - or even how the research is done.

Research studies sometimes tend to deviate from the original problem and proposal. It is often the case that interesting information is uncovered which is peripheral to the study. However, the study should be directed towards the solution of the stated problem and, if research has uncovered another problem that needs looking at, this should be suggested as the basis of another study.

The written or oral report must address itself precisely to questions such as:

• Do these recommendations still appear sound?

• Will they affect the needs of the company in the way that was first intended?

• Will the whole study now make sense in the light of conditions when the study was begun?

CONTENTS OF A MARKETING RESEARCH REPORT

Title page

1 Title

2 Client (optional)

3 Research company (optional)

4 Date

Table of contents

1 Section titles and subheadings with page numbers

2 Table of tables: titles and pages

3 Table of figures: titles and pages

4 Appendices: titles and pages

Management or executive summary

1 Statement of objectives

2 Statement of major findings

Written report

3 Statement of conclusions and recommendations

4 Other pertinent information such as limitations of the research or background information

Introduction

1 Background to the research undertaken

2 People involved in the research, their positions and roles

3 Acknowledgements

Analysis and findings

1 Analytical approach adopted

2 Tables and figures

3 Explanatory text

Conclusions and recommendations

Research methodology

1 Type of study

2 Purpose of study

3 Definition of population of interest

4 Sampling design and method

5 Data-collection method adopted and justification for method

6 Questionnaire or other data-collection instruments - description and explanation

Limitations

1 Sample size

2 Sample selection

3 Error

Appendices

1 Questionnaire

2 Technical

3 Other

^353

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