Stage 1 Defining the research required

Before any research programme can be undertaken, its scope and objectives must be defined. Too often, research surveys are undertaken with insufficient clarification of their objectives, with the result that the findings are found to be too vague, too narrow or entirely inappropriate. The responsibility for defining the research objectives lies mainly with the manager who initiates the research and wishes to apply its results in decision making. A non-specialist manager may know very little about research, but is likely to be the only person with a clear idea of why the research is needed and how the findings will be used. If this is not communicated adequately to the researcher, the research programme that follows may be entirely misdirected.

Answering the following questions can help in arriving at a more precise definition of the research required.

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