In “What’s the question?” the authors Erik de Kort en Durk Bosma offer frameworks and tools to bridge the gap between what marketeers, end-users of insights, expect and what researchers at agencies, suppliers of insights, offer. Being on the supplier side myself I am always interested in learning from experienced colleagues. 

The book contains 4 main parts: the importance of thorough problem analysis, how to analyze a research problem, deriving the research questions from the problem, and choosing an effective and efficient research approach.

The author’s model for problem analysis is helpful in structuring one’s proposal as well as findings. All too often the client hasn’t fully developed the focal point when writing a brief, and further probing is necessary to get to the real question.

Market research should assist the marketeer in making better decisions. It is helpful for the researcher to know whether the decisions the marketeer is faces with is strategic, tactic or operational. Innovation and new product development studies can be more strategic than brand equity and communication trackers

Market researchers have a tendency of immediately assuming that research must be conducted by directly questioning the target group, but there are more approaches possible. For example, you can look at what is already known or you can observe behavior…The choice for qualitative or quantitative research is also part of this step. This choice is, however, almost never an obvious one; there is almost always something to be said for both qualitative and quantitative research.

What’s the question? by Durk Bosma and Erik de Kort

I think reading the book is time well invested. Ray Poynter recommends that market researchers read 2 relevant books per year. Make this one of them! Find out more about the book and the authors here