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How to write an effective market research brief

The importance of a good brief

The brief to a research agency is vital. Every research project should have a clear objective that states why the research is being carried out. The objective should relate to the marketing decision that needs to be made or the problem that needs to be solved. At Opinions Market Research, we are here to help. If you don't have time to prepare a brief, then let us know and we can work with you to develop one. We suggest you work directly with us when developing your brief rather than going through a third party. The benefit in working directly means that we can clarify what you need by probing beyond the obvious and identifying areas you perhaps hadn't thought of, yet are important to the successful outcome of the project. Rather than taking the brief at face value, we like to meet with you and orientate with the project to ensure all bases are covered. Our clients have said investing time at the outset pays dividends.

How to develop a research brief

What really lies at the root of the problem you're describing? In some cases you may not know, or there may be assumptions that have been made. The more background information you can give about your organisation and the market in which you operate, the better placed we are to meet your needs.

What is the background to the market, or to the issue? What factors led to the current situation?
A brief typically includes:

  • A summary of the background to the research. What is the background to the market, or to the issue? What factors led to the current problem?
  • An outline of the opportunities or problems that need to be explored. In particular, what do you want to do with the information that you get?
  • A description of the people whose views are of interest. Who are the participants likely to be?
  • An outline of the questions that seem to need answering.
  • What is already known about this area of research?
  • Identification of your expected outcome: data only, a presentation, a full written report?
  • What is the potential budget available for investing in the research?
  • Timings - when the work could start and when the information is needed by.
  • When you need our proposal by (allowing for a reasonable amount of thinking and writing time.)

If you require clarification or further information email us at or call us on (+64) 03 374 9794.

website updated: 4 Nov 2014
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