4 questions to help you choose the right research methodology

Slow. Expensive. Time-consuming. Error-prone. Point in time.

There are countless reasons we put off doing research – despite its importance for surfacing insights, validating decisions, and informing strategies. 

But today, as we head into 2024, research has actually never been easier.

Not to mention faster, cheaper, more efficient, more accurate, and more agile.

Gone are the days of going with your gut OR emptying your wallet. It’s time to move from opinion-led guessing to research-informed decision-making.

But with so many options available, how do you choose the right research methodology (that won’t break your bank or your bandwidth)?

Especially in a world with SO many options available, starting with the objective in mind (what you’re trying to accomplish) is the best way to figure out the best tool to use.

But there are a few other questions you need to ask yourself along the way.

Let’s break it down.  

1. Strategic Goals:

  • What does success look like for the business? What are we trying to accomplish here?

2. Supporting Efforts:

  • What are the various steps or efforts we need to take to accomplish that goal?

    • What role will each effort play in making progress against that goal?

    • And what stage are we currently at / which effort are we currently focusing on (e.g. ideation, validation, prioritization, development, activation, commercialization)

3. Knowledge Gaps:

  • What are the known knowns, known unknowns, and bigger unknowns within each stage and effort that we need to address to move forward?

4. Knowledge Gathering Efforts:

  • What do we need to verify, learn (i.e. converge to find an answer), and/or explore (i.e. diverge to find other questions) in order to have the right level of confidence about proceeding?

    • What does that mean for the level of relevance, precision, accuracy, detail, etc. we need in closing a given knowledge gap?

    • And what does that mean re: the type of information we need to close each gap?

With that in hand, your choice between primary and secondary research becomes much simpler. 

Timeline, bandwidth, and budget are top considerations – but remember that there are now countless agile, DIY, and lean solutions that can help you get both types of insights with fewer tradeoffs.

Better decisions, stronger strategies, and smarter bets ALL require better information. 

In 2024, your options for getting the answers you need are abundant, and the constraints are fewer than ever. 

But as always, better answers only come from better questions 😉. So don’t forget these four 👆!