How to Commission Research

Do you need research?

Wondering if you need research? Wondering what sort of research you need? Wondering how to ask the right questions to get the right answers? Wondering how fast you can get information? And the really big question – how much will it all cost? These questions can make buying research a bit daunting but speaking with a consultant at McNair Ingenuity Research can turn these challenges into realistic solutions for your company.

What sort of research do you need?

You don’t necessarily need to know the answer to this question since a good research consultancy such as McNair Ingenuity Research will help design a project to suit the issues questions you need answers for. However here are some simple guidelines:

Do you need to know how many people or what proportion of people do a certain thing, are in certain circumstances or feel a certain way? Then it is most likely that you will need some quantitative research – hard numbers to help you make critical decisions. To ensure the data is truly reflective of a market we will most likely suggest some kind of survey using a structured sample frame.

Do you need to know how people feel about things? Are your questions more exploratory such as `I’m trying to get a handle on how people go about deciding what car to buy?’ or `I want to know how people feel about this ad I have designed’. These questions are qualitative and we are more likely to recommend focus groups to explore these issues.

And sometimes you need a mix of both!

Briefing a Research Supplier

You can brief a research supplier verbally, with a short email, or with a longer document if you want to be more prescriptive. You do not need to suggest a methodology, sample size or any details – McNair Ingenuity will suggest these and explain the reasons for their suggestions. For instance, the sample size is determined by how the data will be studied – how the response groups will be segmented, and what comparisons need to be made.

Nor do you need to think about exactly what questions need to be asked, or how to ask them. McNair Ingenuity Research are experts in questionnaire design, and we do all that for you. Of course if you want to prescribe the methodology, questionnaire and sample structure you can, although we may make suggestions if we feel there is a better way to capture the information you need.

The essential information that you need to provide is:

Questions/Issues to be addressed Budget Timing
These may be fully worded questions or perhaps issue you need to cover such as: ·

  • How many people use my product and/or competitor products?
  • How does price affect their likelihood to buy? ·
  • What features influence their purchase decision? · How likely are they to change their behaviour?
  • What ads do they recall? etc
If you have a budget, it is best to include this in the briefing information. If you don’t have a budget, it is best to have an initial consultation and agree on broad budget parameters before the research company prepares a formal proposal. Let us know if there is a timing issue e.g. scheduled ad campaign, CEO meeting, avoiding school holidays etc.

How to get started

McNair Ingenuity Research are usually happy to do an initial consultation at no charge – during which we listen to your questions and issues and talk generally about the types of research that might help. We will then prepare a detailed proposal for you, describing how we will go about answering your questions, what the costs will be, and how long it will take. Our proposals often include a few options so that you can manage your budget. To proceed with a proposal, all you have to do is complete a project authorisation form.

Before we get started on the project we will provide you with a draft questionnaire for quantitative research or a discussion guide for qualitative research, which we can discuss and vary prior to commencement of the fieldwork.


Once the data has been collected, our analysis team will prepare a set of detailed cross-tabulations and provide a PowerPoint summary report to make it easy for you to use the data. We can also provide the data in a cross-tabulation package such Q, or as raw data for SPSS or other formats so you can run your own specific analysis.

Please contact McNair Ingenuity Research on (02) 9966 9133 to discuss your research requirements, or fill in our contact form.