Effective Business Research Methods

There are many business research methods you can use when you want to find ways to improve your business or expand your clientele. These methods include appreciative inquiry, case study design, face to face questioning, focus groups, interview design, listening, questionnaires and surveys. Each of these methods has its potential benefits and drawbacks, but in the end either one can all bring about the desired results.

Appreciative inquiry is relatively new compared with other business research methods. This approach attempts to eschew the traditional way of constraining the thinking when dealing with what one perceives as a problem. Since it is a philosophy, it has spawned an array of models, techniques and tools. Appreciative inquiry may include techniques such as recalling what approaches to solving a problem worked best in the past and envisioning what you would like to see done in the future.

Case study design involves looking at the holistic experience of a particular client to discover patterns and themes relevant to the business. The case can be an individual, a program or any other unit the business feels helpful to achieve its ends. Case studies are conducted by gathering the data, organizing data into the best approach, developing a narrative, validating the narrative from the participants and cross comparing to find commonalities.

Face to face questioning is rather self-explanatory. However, it is crucial that you have someone with good communication skills to conduct this area of research. Furthermore, it is best to use open-ended questions rather than simple yes or no questions to get a good analysis. These questions must also be structured well to avoid confusion on the parts of both the interviewer and the interviewee. This is also related to an interview design which can be used to gather all sorts of information such as background or demographics, behaviors, feelings, knowledge, opinions or values and sensory information.

Focus groups are perhaps the most well known method of business research. These sessions usually feature about six to ten people at a time, but usually you will get a lot of information out of one session. However, it is important that those conducting focus groups know how to prepare the session, develop questions, plan and facilitate the session and provide a debriefing afterwards.

Questionnaires and surveys are also similar and self-explanatory. Listening can be valuable for both communication within the company and also for building relationships with clients. It is beneficial to be familiar with all these methods. SABUNG AYAM