Today marks the first in our new blog series. Dialogue’s research specialist Mary has drawn up a crash-course in the basics of research technique and theory for non-researchers. Each week we’ll be releasing the next instalment, just like Lost, but with less unanswered questions. Away we go! 

5 steps of research

All research involves 5 key steps

  1. Clear rationale motivating the research
  2. A research question
  3. Research Design for identifying and collecting data.
  4. Inferential analysis
  5. Evaluation and integration of findings from this analysis for the research question.


A rationale can be pretty much anything from, ROI, a PR disaster, to an existing psychological/marketing theory. For example, there may have been an unusual drop in sales of product x and a company wants to know why.

Research Question

The research question is arguably one of the most important of the 5 steps. It is the driving force behind the research design and the analysis. A good research question has four features:

  1. A “?”. It is, after all, a question
  2. A list of all constructs being investigated (e.g., attitudes towards product x)
  3. The population(s) being investigated. (e.g., all consumers who have stopped purchasing product x).
  4. The kind of relationship(s) being proposed among the constructs and/or populations (e.g. association, prediction, differences)

Next week Mary will take you through the process of how to design your research, the types of research you can choose and when each is appropriate!

Happy trails!

– The Dialogue Consulting Team.



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