In the last module, we discussed primary, secondary and tertiary sources. Let’s consider what that means in practice.
If you were conducting research on a new product your company had developed and is planning to launch, your primary research may include observing behaviour or other measurable factors, such as positive or negative response to the product.
Then you might carry out interviews and surveys, and focus groups.
For example, you may observe the reaction of consumers to a new product, perhaps in a store trial or focus group. Then you might carry out one to one interviews with them, about their experience
You might show them the proposed promotional campaign and ask them to complete a survey about
Your secondary research might be reviewing company records about similar tests or trials, to get an idea how reliable your research may be. You may also read relevant industry reports.
You may even find some tertiary source-relevant summaries or reviews of products, campaigns or reports.
Add your thoughts and interpret
Research should always include your own comments and interpretations. If you just take an idea you have read and pretend it is your own, that is plagiarism. You should add your thoughts and interpret ideas, or build on ideas and theories presented by others, rather than just passing them off on your own.
There are four stages of research which are planning, collecting material, analysing the material, and finally writing your paper.
You will need time to get an overview of what material is out there, find out what’s in your library, select relevant material, read it, take notes, and start putting it together — and you may even need to do a second piece of research to clear up points raised in the writing of your first draft.
Say you have eight months to produce an academic thesis or other project, your timetable might look like this in outline; –
Month 1 Preliminary research. Get an overview of the subject
Month 2 Carry out specific detailed research
Month 3 Firm up the project, make notes
Month 4 Start designing the project outline
Month 5 and 6 Start main body of writing. May need further research
Month 7 Proofreading, review presentation produce summaries
Month 8 Final check and delivery
At the end of each month, review progress against these specified milestones.