Integrated Primary & Secondary Research

4 Primary Research Process for an NPO

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The primary research process should be orderly and proceed in a logical manner. At any step of the process, the researcher may find that the answer to the original research problem has become clear and that the process should not continue past that point.

The primary research process can be categorized as a five-stage procedure. The stages outline are neither mutually exclusive nor sequential, however, for clarity, the following is the outlined research procedure.

Step 1: Define the Problem and the Research Objectives

First, the marketer has to define the research problem. The problem definition entails questions like “What is the problem?”, “What are the various issues?”, “What information is needed?” etc.

Second, the research problem should be conceptualized and the objectives should be defined; the reasons as to why the research is being undertaken should be defined. The objectives should be defined neither too narrowly nor too broadly.

The objectives can be any one or more of the following: explanation, prediction, insight generation and discovery, hypothesis testing, monitoring of the environment, among others.

Step 2: Develop Hypotheses and Formulate a Research Plan

Once the problem has been conceptualized, the researcher has to develop the research plan. The research plan contains details on the data sources, research tools and techniques, sampling plan, and contact methods for data collection.

Step 3: Collect Data, both Primary and Secondary

After the objectives of the study and the research plan are laid out, the market researcher goes on to collect data.  The data is collected from primary and secondary sources. To start with, the researcher accesses secondary data and then moves on to collect primary data. They may use any of the tools and techniques depending upon the research plan. This is a time-consuming stage of research. With the advancement of technology, data collecting methods are improving day by day.

Step 4: Analyze and Interpret Data

After the data is collected, it is analyzed and interpreted. The major question is “What conclusions can be drawn?” Both statistical and non-statistical tools are used for analysis.

For descriptive data analyses, the following tools are used:

  • Parametric analysis: Central tendency (mean, median, mode), Dispersion (Standard deviation, variance, Range, Shape of curve: Skewness, Kurtosis)
  • Graphical method: Bar chart, Histogram, Line graphs, Pie chart
  • Tabular method: Frequency distribution tables

Step 5: Prepare a Report and Present the Findings

Lastly, the report is prepared and the findings are presented to the marketing department. The report should comprise of a summary/abstract, research problem, objectives, methodology, findings,  conclusions, recommendations and limitations. The report should be short; it should be precise and related to the research problem only

Companies could either conduct consumer research through services of their in house marketing information systems or outsource the activity to marketing research consultants.


This page contains materials taken from:

Management – Consumer Behaviour. (2012, February 01). Retrieved July 23, 2020, from

Sagepub. (2006). Research in Nonprofit Organization. Retrieved from



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An Open Guide to Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) Copyright © by Andrea Niosi and KPU Marketing 4201 Class of Summer 2020 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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