Market research and market reports

Plan your field research


Good planning is essential if you want to get the right results from field research (also called primary research) to gather market information.

How will you gather the necessary market information?

First, you need to decide how to collect the information you want. There are several popular methods.


Use a set list of questions to gather information. The most effective way of carrying out a survey is usually face-to-face, but you can also use phone interviews, online questionnaires, or mail surveys.


Discussions are often held in small focus groups or one-on-one in-depth interviews. These are good for qualitative research, as they allow you to explore people's attitudes in more detail.


You can watch what people do instead of just asking them. For example, see how shoppers behave near a specific point-of-sale display in a store.


You can test something out, like having people do a blind taste test of your drink versus a competitor's. Another way is to give a customer your new product and ask for feedback.

How do you execute market field research?

Once you have decided how you'll gather the information, you'll need to work out how to make it happen. Budget how much time and money will be needed, as the time involved will normally be significant.

You'll need to design your research. For example, drawing up a questionnaire or deciding how you'll run a focus group.

Then there are the logistics. If you want to carry out street interviews, make sure your researchers have the required local authority licence and identity card. If you want to run a focus group or conduct face-to-face interviews or product tests, where will you hold them? Where will you find the participants? And who'll run the session?

Consider carefully whether you have the skills in-house to do this. If not, it's probably a good idea to get a market research agency to do your research for you.

Read six tips for successful primary market research.