RPG Research Catalog

The Six-Step System

At The Research & Planning Group, we use the following six-step system to help our clients design studies:

Step 1: Define the Research Purpose. Construct a research purpose statement that sums up the whole idea of the research project in a single paragraph.

Step 2: Define the Information Needed. Write out a list of the topics of information that will need to be collected in order to complete the study.

Step 3: Define the Target Population. Write up a brief description of whom the survey should include, defining the target population in terms of demographic, geographic or psychographic details, or any other categories that may help to narrow the group down.

Step 4: Define the Action Standards. Write up a brief explanation of how decision-making will be affected depending upon the outcomes of the research. The more specific the action standards can be, the more useful the research will be in the end!

Step 5: Develop Research Objectives. Write out a hierarchy of the “big questions” and the “little questions” that are needed to answer them. Restate these “big questions” as statements to become Research Objectives; the associated “little questions” become the Research Questions that are used to shape the questions asked of respondents in the research.

Step 6: Determine Methodology. Write up a roadmap for how the data will be collected, and in what form. Develop a tentative plan for data analysis and reporting. If necessary, stagger the research in stages so that multiple methodologies can be used to provide a more complete picture in the results.

The advantage of this six-step system is that it ensures that before the actual research even begins, the details of the entire study are carefully thought out. This helps to protect the integrity of the data that is being collected and helps the results to provide powerful support for decision-making.

At The Research & Planning Group, we walk our clients through these six steps during the process of developing a research proposal. We encourage clients to be involved at every stage of the planning, and we don’t require any agreements or obligations until the proposal is accepted and the client is ready to proceed.

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