Research Design

Research Design

Research design is broadly defined by Malhotra and Birks (2000, p.75) as exploratory research and conclusive research.

The main differences between these two forms of research design are summarised by Pride and Ferrell (2007) as taken from Parasuraman et al (2004) in the following manner:

Research project components Exploratory research Conclusive research
Research purpose General: to generate insights about a situation Specific: to verify insights and aid in selecting a course of action
Data needs Vague Clear
Data sources Ill defined Well defined
Data collection form Open-ended, rough Usually structured
Sample Relatively small; subjectively selected to maximise generalisation of insights Relatively large; objectively selected to permit generalisation of findings
Data collection Flexible; no set procedure Rigid; well-laid-out procedure
Data analysis Informal; typically non-quantitative Formal; typically quantitative
Inferences/recommendations More tentative than final More final than tentative


Malhotra, NK, Birks, DF, 2000, Marketing Research. An Applied Approach, European Edition, Prentice Hall
Nargundkar, R, 2008, Marketing Research: Text and Cases, Tata McGraw-Hill Educational
Neenlankavil, JP, 2007, International Business Research, ME Sharpe