Steps In Report Writing – Market Research

April 30, 2020

Report Writing involves many steps but in this blog areas which are very important in every report will be explained. Report Writing normally contains headings such as Introduction, details about secondary Research and/or Primary Research, Analysis based on any of the two research types i.e. qualitative and quantitative followed by recommendation and Conclusion.

The introduction of the report provides an overview of the purpose of conducting any research and also its objectives.

This is followed by Methodology i.e. secondary research, primary research, or a mix of both. Simultaneously, research can be quantitative or qualitative. Secondary research can be quantified using simple statistical operations. Whereas Primary research is based upon qualitative attributes seeking opinions, views, and ideas from respondents. Each has its own way of interpretation.

In this blog, you can find details on how to prepare a very comprehensive report with a step by step guide on Quantitative and Qualitative Research Report Writing as followed by Ace Research.

Quantitative Research

Secondary Research      

  • Make Headings/Sections

If the data has to come from secondary sources make sure you make proper heading and sections for each category of secondary data. Secondary research contains data that is obtained from online available information such as, previous reports, scientific journals, online articles or organizational databases.

  • Search Relevant and Up to date Data

Secondary data should not be more than two years old, except in those cases where data is not available older data not more than 5 years can be cited/ used for reference. Too old data may net help in generalizability and cannot be used to infer outcomes.

  • Proper Referencing is important

Always maintain the record of sources from where you acquired the secondary information. Use authentic sources and double check the validity of data across different data sources if available. It is recommended to use APA format for referencing.

Primary Data

  • Compile Data in Excel

In quantitative research you compile all data in excel, either it is online or paper based. Remember when designing a questionnaire you will have to maintain logic against each question and answer. The proper scale should be adopted for quantification of responses, otherwise if systematically not designed, after gathering all the data you might struggle as to how to arrange the data for extracting meaningful information or cross analysis.

Data Cleaning

Data cleaning comes after when you have exported and compiled data in Excel. When you get the data it might have human errors although in the training phase emphasis is placed to ensure minimum errors in data.

To clear the errors you must have to check all the responses against any spelling/grammatical mistakes, numerical errors, wrong responses, blank responses etc.

  • Adjust Blank Responses

Blank’s data/incomplete data have to be assessed critically. If you have lots of blanks in any question you can either discard them if the information provided is not very meaningful. Similarly, in case of a few blanks questions you can depict the trend of responses by responding and it can be filled accordingly. Remember, this holds true only if trends can help you in filling those blanks otherwise state N/A.

  • Make Individual Excel sheets

For each question in the questionnaire you can create separate sheets as it helps to make analysis easier. This will be done after you have completely cleaned the data.

  • Maintain Separate Files for Complex Questions

In case some questions are complex or have multiple layers of response you may analyze them separately. This is helpful because if you made too many sheets in a single file, analysis can become very difficult.

  • Use a pivot table in Excel

A pivot table is best for quick analysis. If you have questions in which you have to analyze the trend between two variables uses a simple pivot table. You can use a variety of charts to analyze your question. For this you must have Excel 2013 or latest.

  • Make Graphs

Graphs are really helpful in analyzing the situation and if you have made graphs it is suggested to use 3d bars with percentages so you can reflect the assessment in a precise and clear manner.

  • Highlight Information in Graphs

For clarity, you can highlight important information in the Graphs. For instance, the highest bar in the histogram can be highlighted.

  • Copy Graphs in Ms. Word

Once you have run all the operations in excel, now it’s time to embed the workings in the report. For this, you will copy all the graphs into word files with proper labels and headings.

  • Comments on Each Graph

For each graph, you can put comments to explain your analysis.

Qualitative Research

Secondary Research      

Follow the same steps as described in Quantitative analysis.

Primary Research

  • Transcripts (IDIs / FGDs)

Make headings and sections for transcript, this will serve as an outline for transcribing recorded interviews.

Once the interview is conducted you must draft a document in which sections should be maintained for each of the discussion areas and after this, each response from respondents i.e. either a single respondent in case of IDI or group of respondents in FGD should be carefully written adhering to the sequence of discussion.

  • Highlighting Main points

Make a table that consists of very brief and relevant response against each question by respondent. Once you have transcribed all the recordings now you can assess them for the individual’s response. For IDI’s it is easier as there is only one respondent but for FGD as there are many respondents you can make a grid and record each respondents response against questions asked. Remember in this stage you are highlighting important points only.

  • Extract findings and recommendations

While extracting important points from a transcripts highlight relevant findings and recommendations, maintain heading for both at the end of report

As you have prepared a transcript for the whole session and also highlighted each individual’s response in case of FGD now you can extract all relevant findings and recommendations from all discussions for Report Writing.

Final Report Glimpse

  1. Make the content outline
  2. Enter data (Follow the Aforementioned sequence)
  3. After Analysis is performed and Final Draft Prepared, review thoroughly for spelling mistakes, grammatical mistakes or/and any contradictory statements.
  4. Revisit Deliverables of the report and match with the content of the report before submission to the client.

Conducting Online Focus Group Discussions in Pakistan

April 20, 2020

An In-depth interview (IDI) is a qualitative research technique that involves conducting individual interviews with respondents to explore their perspectives on a particular idea, program, or situation. For example, we might ask participants, staff, and others associated with a program or certain situation about their experiences and expectations related to that particular event. Their views about program operations, processes, outcomes, and about any changes they perceive in themselves as a result of their involvement in that particular event or program.
There are numerous areas where one can undertake IDIs for example, for consumer’s feedback and opinion on product or advertisement. In Pakistan, particularly in metropolitan cities such as Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad customers are very conscious about the type of product they are using and therefore their valuable feedback can help companies to devise strategies accordingly.

Designing Questionnaire

The research is always based on some objectives and these objectives ought to be in line with problem statements developed after assessing underlying gaps in activities performed by any organization. Research Objective will determine the structure and pattern of the Questionnaire. Therefore, the first and foremost important factor prior to conducting any research activity is an assessment of problems followed by preparation of research instrument i.e. Questionnaire. This instrument plays a very vital role in probing factors lurking behind problems identified.
The Questionnaires will help in assessing to what extent respondents are aware of the event under probe and if questionnaires are not designed with an ultimate purpose in mind, the whole purpose of conducting this activity is lost.
Questionnaire preparation must be carried out with a keen eye for events and arguments associated with the problem. Also, previous instruments used for similar researches can be consulted and with little or no modification if it serves the purpose can be utilized

Designing Manual and Guide for Interview

An interview protocol is very crucial, the rules that guide the implementation of the interviews. These are the instructions that are followed for each interview, to ensure consistency between interviews, and thus increase the reliability of the findings. Clear instructions for the interviewer should be included in the manual for conducting IDIs. The manual address following concerns i.e. What to say to interviewees when setting up the interview; What to say to interviewees when beginning the interview, including ensuring informed consent and confidentiality of the interviewee; What to say to interviewees in concluding the interview; What to do during the interview likes, Taking notes or using Recorder or Both?
The Interview guide is a checklist that carries questions or issues to be explored during the interview. There should be no more than 15 main questions to guide the interview, and probes should be included where helpful.

It is also important to note that you will likely need interview guides for each group of stakeholders, as questions may differ. Where necessary, translate guides into local languages and test the translation.
Arranging Target Audience Identify stakeholders who will be involved i.e. what information is needed and from whom. List the stakeholders to be interviewed. Identify stakeholder groups that are associated with the objectives of your IDIs. Suppose you are conducting IDI’s for the IT sector, and you want to identify what possible strategy could be adopted to address gaps in meeting revenue targets. For this you will be interviewing stakeholders such as associations working for the IT sector, government institutes involved in regulating IT sector activities, CEOs of IT companies etc. Data acquired from all the stakeholders in turn will help in analyzing the issue from a wide angle.

Similarly, if you are seeking an assessment from the target audience which is the general population again IDIs can play a very vital role. For Example, the baby products by P&G and Unilever are widely used for kids and thereby, mothers can be interviewed exclusively for gathering their opinion and experience about product’s utility. Customer perception is key in analyzing the effectiveness of any product the moment it lands on their shopping cart.
IDIs are normally directed toward those from whom very relevant and up-to-date information can be sought and also they are involved with significant stakes in activity under investigation. Therefore, referral or snowball sampling is the best method to approach stakeholders for IDIs.

Conducting In-depth Interviews:

Step 1: Making Venue arrangements (Online i.e. Zoom, Teamviewer, Skype)
If the IDI is taking place offline, it is important to note that the venue must be arranged somewhere convenient and accessible to respondent, normally the interviews are conducted in the respective office of Respondent. Prior to finalizing your venue you can drop an email to the respondents about the desired venue location and after getting their consent Interview can be arranged.
Similarly, Online IDI is easy and accessible for the respondent to attend. All that is required is good internet connectivity. The Interview can be arranged on a variety of online platforms such as the Zoom Meeting Room, Team Viewer, Skype etc. Also, for IDIs other options like WhatsApp video, iPhone’s facetime, and Facebook video chat can be utilized as well.

Step 2: Inviting Respondents
Respondents consent to take an interview will be followed by an invitation for an interview. Offline session invitation shall include, venue location, description of IDi, moderator, etc.
Online Invitation will also be sent via email, it will contain a link to any of the desirable online platforms along with a description of IDI.

Step 3: Recording Arrangements online
In face to face Interview,recorder can be set with the permission of the respondent while in online session, recording can be turned again after consent from Respondent.

Step 4: Actual Discussion more points
Once the interviewee is at the venue or has joined an online session, the IDI is good to begin. Moderator will introduce himself and the agenda of discussion, after this manual/interview guide will be followed to conduct the session. Each question has a set of probing points and in case the respondent does not comprehend the scenario a hint can be given which are marked as probing points with a moderator. Also, it is crucial for the interviewer to pay attention to what the respondent is telling and follow-up questions should be asked if clarity is required for any of his/her responses. If in case the respondent feels offended due to any question don’t stress on it and instead move on to the next question.

Step 5: Concluding Interview Session
After the interview ends a letter of appreciation can be furnished to the respondent for sparing his/her precious time for this session.


Step 1: Keeping summary notes during the discussion
It is important to take notes of key points during the discussion. For this Assistant moderator can be tasked to carry out this activity of taking notes.

Step 2: Writing Transcripts
Transcripts of IDIs are very crucial and important for extracting relevant information. All the discussions have to be written down either during the session or later (if recordings are taken) for Reporting and Analysis.

Step 3: Make Summary of each discussion
Summary of all relevant and important responses i.e. Question wise has to be extracted from transcripts and a comprehensive report will be created for highlighting key areas which may include improvement areas, core problem areas, opportunities, threats, strength and weaknesses.

Step 4: Topline Report
Based on the summary topline report will be prepared, it contains all the important points identified by respondents which are directly related to Objectives of IDIs. It is preferred that topline report should be a grid with questions on one axis and precise response by respondents on other providing a very clear glimpse of the overall discussion.

Step 5: Analysis
Based on the overall discussion and topline report analysis is drawn to conclude the outcomes of the discussion in line with the Objectives of carrying out this discussion. The Analysis is shared with the Client and thereupon necessary action plans can be prepared to address the problem.

Long Term Benefits of Market Research

February 26, 2020

Market research should never be underestimated. Many successful new businesses enjoy longevity because their owners conduct regular market research to understand their target market, identify consumer problems and pinpoint realistic competitors. In Pakistan, companies undermine the long term benefits of market research. Least weightage is assigned to market research when deciding relevant markets for products and services. Companies do have provision for market research but are reluctant to invest in getting a real-time market assessment and as a result, often their strategies and policies are ineffective in capturing a true market share of forecasted targets. This leads to inconsistency in growth, earning and customer retention in the longer run.

Market Research is the simplest way for entrepreneurs to keep up with market trends and maintain a competitive edge by sizing up your business opportunity.

Market research can be carried out at various stages of a business life cycle, from pre-launch and beyond. Having a greater understanding of your marketplace from the very start will enable you to create a sound business strategy to establish and grow your brand into one that’s better than the competition.

Market Research Objectives

The scope of the market research you’ll undertake is influenced by your overall objectives – what do you want to learn about your market and the external factors influencing it?

The objectives will also determine the types of market research that you need to undertake in order to be successful: Research could be Primary market research or Secondary market research.

Long term Benefits of Market Research:

  • It helps businesses strengthen their position.

Knowledge is power. Use market research to gain a better perspective and understanding of your market or target audience and ensure that your firm stays ahead of the competition.

  • It minimizes any investment risk.

This is a simple but vitally important and often business-critical consideration. Spending what is often only a small proportion of your investment in researching and testing the market, product, concept or idea makes sound business sense.

  • It identifies potential threats and opportunities.

Both primary research (fieldwork) and secondary research (desk research) can be utilized as an insurance policy against both obvious dangers on the road ahead. Coupling this with some qualitative research for deeper probing can highlight certain opportunities or warning signs that may otherwise have been missed.

  • It helps to discover yours and your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses.

It’s vitally important to adopt an ‘eye’s wide open’ approach to any market research project which is why it’s often advised to work with a market research agency to ensure completely unbiased reporting. Use research findings to adapt and learn from your weaknesses whilst capitalizing on your new-found knowledge from competitor analysis to take advantage and forge ahead of the pack.

  • It facilitates strategic planning.

What is the foundation of your business strategy? If it’s evidence-based and you’ve taken the time to invest in your own (and hopefully ongoing) research, you can be confident that you’ve given yourself the best chance to achieve your business goals.

  • It helps in spotting emerging trends.

Staying ahead in business is often about being the first, being the best or doing something that no-one else has thought about. Regularly taking the ‘pulse’ of what’s hot and what’s not in your industry is a key discipline. Speak to your research agency or research consultant about the range of techniques you can employ to spot and exploit these trends.

  • It assists businesses to stay ahead of the competition.

Being the best demands a relentlessness to keep getting the basics right combined with a curiosity and willingness to innovate. Knowing how to leverage the findings and insights you extract from market research, audience research and data research are the keys to both getting ahead and staying ahead.

  • It provides revenue projections.

A market forecast is a core component of a market analysis projecting the future numbers, characteristics, and trends in your target market. Potential customers can then be divided into segments. You want to focus on the best market – which is not necessarily the largest one or the market with the highest growth – it will be the one that matches your company profile.

  • It focuses on customer needs and demands.

There are so many important reasons to keep your customers at the center of all that you do in business and the same goes for research. With so many ways to reach customers using online panels, web communities, telephone surveys, depth interviews, and focus groups, market research keeps you attentive to where you can improve your proposition, customer service or product offering.

  • Target Audience ‘Core Essential for Business Growth’

Most new businesses will encounter three different types of customer i.e. the ‘savvy’ purchaser;

A ‘savvy’ customer is someone likely to be aware of all the prices offered by your major competitors. Another type is of the industry influencer, someone that is not only highly knowledgeable about your target market; they can also influence other prospective customers that trust their opinion. Last but not least the end-user; they are a type of customer that will use your products or services on a day-to-day basis.

  • It helps to evaluate the success of business against benchmarks.

An International survey found that companies that benchmark achieve 69% faster growth and 45% greater productivity than those that don’t. Use market research for competitor research, employee engagement surveys, and to highlight performance or knowledge gaps and areas for potential growth. This will open your company up to thinking about new methods, ideas, and tools to improve your business effectiveness.