Presenting the Results

Presenting the Results - Presenting the Research Resuits it...

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Unformatted text preview: Presenting the Research Resuits it is fairly clear that in most cases the culmination of the research process is the presentation of the results, and, for better or worse, the presentation is often the sole element in the lengthy research process on which the entire project is judged. That presentation may come in the form of a formal report, or it may be the "dog-and-pony show,” using slides, overheads, or computer. But far more important that the form the report takes is the content, and what distinguishes excellent content from ordinary content is what marks any great communication: the extent to which it successfully goes beyond a simple recounting of the data and translates the findings into MEANlNG. Most presentations are dull and meaningless, show no interest in the concerns of the client, and offer no context in which to place the findings. Behind every step of any excellent presentation is an answer to the client’s most basic question, “What’s in it for me?” Phitip W. Sawyer Roper Research Worldwide Market research reports are tattered to specific audiences and purposes, and you must consider these in at? phases of the research process, including preparing the report. if the organization for which you are conducting the research has specific guidelines for preparing the document, you should follow them. However, if no specific guidelines are provided, there are certain elements that must be considered when preparing the report. These elements can be grouped in three sections: front matter, body, and and matter as presented below: The Elements of a Marketing Research Report A. Front Matter 1. Title Fly Page (optional) 2. Title Page 3. Letter of Authorization 4. Letterltvlemo of Transmittal 5. Table of Contents 6 Abstract} Executive Summary 3. Body 7. introduction 8. Research Objectives 9. Methodology 10. Results 11. Limitations 12. Conclusions or Conclusions and Recommendations C. End Matter t3. Appendices Front Matter The front matter consists of the title fly page, title page. and letter of authorization (optionai), tetterimemo of transmittal, table of contents, list of illustrations, and abstract/executive summery. Title Fly Page Figure 1 is an example of the title fly page. it contains only the title of the report, centered horizontalty and verticaliy on the page. It immediately precedes the title page. Title flies are Optional and generaiiy appear only in format reports. If a title fly is used, it is counted as page I; however, no number is printed on the page. Titie Page The title page (see Figure 2) contains four maior items of information: (1) the title of the document, (2) the organizationiperson(s) for whom the report has been prepared, (3) the organizationfpersoms) who prepared the report, and (4) the date of submission. lf names of individuals appear on the title page, they may be in either alphabetical order or some other agreed on order. Persons’ names shoutd also be given a designation or some descriptive title. The title should be as informative as possible. it should include the purpose and content of the report, such as "An Analysis of the Demand for a Branch Office of the CPA Firm of Tashchian, Shore and Jordan,” or “Alternative Advertising Copy to Introduce the New M&M/Mars Low~Fat Candy Bar." The title should be centered and printed in all uppercase (capital) letters. Other items of information on the title page should be centered and printed in upper and lowercase letters. Although the title page is counted as page i of the front matter (if a title fly in not used), a page number is not printed on it. Letter of Authorization The letter of authorization is the marketing research firm's certification to do the project and is also optional. If you allude to the conditions of your authorization in the letter/memo of transmittal, the letter of authorization is not necessary in the report. However, if your reader does not know the conditions of authorization, inclusion of this document is helpful. The letter of authorization includes the name and title of the persons authorizing the research to be performed. it may also include a general description of the nature of the research protect, completion date. terms of payment, and any special conditions of the research project requested by the client or research user. Letter/Memo of Transmittal Use a letter of transmittai to release or deliver the document to an organization for which you are not a regular employee. Use a memo of transmittal to deliver the document within your own organization. The tetter/merno of transmittal describes the general nature of the research in a sentence or two and identifies the individuai who is releasing the report. The primary purpose of the letter/memo of transmittal is to orient the reader to the report and to build a positive image for the report. It should establish rapport between the writer and receiver. it gives the receiver a person to contact should there be questions concerning any aspect of the report. Writing style in the tetter/rnerno of transmittal should be personai and slightly informat. Some general ingredients that may appear in the letter/memo of transmittal are a brief identification of the nature of the research, a review of the conditions of the authorization to do the research (if there is no ietter of authorization), comments on findings, suggestions for further research, and an expression of interest in the protect and further research. Personal observations, unsupported by data, are appropriate. Figure 3 presents an example of a letter of transmittal. Table of Contents The tabie of contents heips the reader locate information in the research report. The table of contents (See Figure 4) should list each heading exactly as it appears and the number of the page on which it appears. it a section is longer than one page, list the page on which it begins. Indent subheadings under headings. Ali items except the titie page and the table of contents are listed with page numbers in the table of contents. Front matter pages are numbered with lowercase Roman numbers: i, ii, iii. Arabic numerals are used beginning with the introduction section of the body of the report. List of illustrations If the report contains tables and/or figures, you need to include a list of illustrations in the table of contents. As you can see from Figure 4, these lists help the reader find Specific illustrations that serve to graphically portray the information. in the example shown, all of the illustrations are figures, hence the title, "Figures." Tabies are words or numbers that are arranged in rows and columns; figures are graphs, charts, maps, pictures, and so on. Because tables and figures are numbered independently, you may have both a Figure 1 and a Table 1 in your list of illustrations. Give each a name, and iist each in the order in which it appears in the report. Abstract/Executive Summary Your report may have many readers. Some of them will need to know the details of your report such as the supporting data on which you base the conclusions and recommendations. Others wilt not need as many details but wilt only want to read the conclusions and recommendations Still others with onty a general need to know may read only the executive summary. For this reason, the abstract or executive summary is a “skeleton” of your report. It serves as a summary for the busy executive or a preview for the in-depth reader. it provides an overview of the most useful information, including the conclusions and recommendations. The abstract or executive summary should be very carefully written, conveying the information as concisety as possible. it should be singie-spaced and, preferably, confided to only a few paragraphs and no more than one page. The abstract or executive summary should cover (a) the general subject of research, (b) the scope of the research (what the research covers/does not covers), (c) identification of the type of methodology used (that is, mail survey of 1,000 homeowners), (d) conclusions, and (e) recommendations. BODY The body is the butx of the report. it contains an introduction to the report, an explanation of your methodology, a discussion of your results, a statement of limitations, and a tist of conclusions and recommendations. Don‘t be alarmed by the repetition that may appear in your report. Only a few people will read the entire report. Most will read the executive summary, conclusions, and recommendations. Therefore, format reports are repetitious. For example, you may specify the research objectives in the executive summary and refer to them again in the finding section as well as in the conclusion section. Also, do not be concerned that you use the same terminology to introduce the several tables and/or figures that may appear in your report. in many lengthy reports, repetition actually enhances reader comprehension. The first page of the body is counted as page i, but no page number is printed on it. All other pages throughout the document are numbered consecutively. Introduction The introduction to the marketing research report orients the reader. it may contain a statement on the background situation leading to the problem, the statement of the problem, and a summary description of how the research process was initiated. Research Ob'ectives Research objectives may be listed either as a separate section or listed within the introductory section. The listing of research objectives should follow the statement of the problem since the two concepts are closely related. The list of specific research objectives often serves as a good basis for organizing the results section of the report. It should contain a statement of the general purpose of the report and also the specific obi'ectives of the research, a description of what it intended to discover, and any essential background information to explain why the research was undertaken. The tist of specific objectives often serves as a good basis for organizing the results section of the report. Methodology The methodology describes, in as much detail as necessary, how you conduct the research, who (or what) your subjects were, and what methods were used to achieve your objectives. Supplementary information should be piaced in the appendix. if you used secondary intormation, you will need to document your sources (provide enough information so that your sources can be located). You do not need to document facts that are common knowledge or can be easily verified. But, if your are in doubt, document! In most cases, the methodology section (sometimes called the "method" section) does not need to be long. It should, however, provide the essential information your reader needs to understand how the data was collected and the results achieved. in some cases, the needs of the researcher may dictate a very extensive methodology section. A client may, for example, want the researcher to not only thoroughly describe the methodology that was used but also discuss why other methodologies were not selected. in situations in which research information will be provided in litigation, where you are certain to have an adversary, a researcher may be asked to provide an exhaustive description of the methods used in the conduct of the study. Results The results section is the major portion of your report. it logically presents the findings of your research and should be organized around your objectives for the study. The results should be presented in narrative form and accompanied by tables, charts, figures, and other appropriate visuals that support and enhance the explanation. You should outline your results section before you write the report. Sometimes the survey questionnaire itself serves as a useful aid in organizing your results because the questions themselves are often grouped in some logical format. Another usefui method for organizing your results is to individually print out all of your tables and figures and arrange them in some logical sequence. Once you have the results outlined properly, you are ready to write in the introduction sentences; detinitions (if necessary}, review of the findings (often referring to tables and figures), and transition sentences to lead into the next topic. Limitations Do not attempt to hide or disguise problems in your research; no research is tauitless. Suggest what the limitations are or may be and how they impact the results. Typical limitations in research reports note factors such as time, money, and personnet, as well as other limitations. Consider the following example: “ . . the reader should be cautioned that the findings in this study were based on a survey of supermarket managers in the Northeastern United States. Time and budget constraints timited the sample to this region of the country. Care should be exercised in generalizing these findings to other geographical regions.” Conclusions and Recommendations Conclusions and recommendations may be listed separately or together, depending on how much you have to report. in any case, you should note that conciusions are not the same thing as recommendations. Conclusions are the outcomes and decisions you have reached based on your research results. Recommendations are suggestions for how to proceed based on the conclusions. Unlike conclusions, recommendations may require knowledge beyond the scope of the research findings themselves—«that is, information on conditions within the company, the industry, and so on. Therefore, researchers should exercise caution in making recommendations. The researcher and the client should determine prior to the study whether the report is to contain recommendations. Although a research user may desire the researcher to provide recommendations, both parties must realize that the researcher's recommendations are being made based solely on the knowledge gained from the research project. Other information, if made known to the researcher, may totaiiy change the research’s recommendations. End Matter The end matter comprises the appendices, which contain additionat information to which the reader may refer for further reading but that is not essentiat to reporting the data. Tables, figures, additional reading, technical descriptions, data collection forms, apprOpriate computer printouts, and bibliography (if appropriate) are some elements that may appear in an appendix. Each appendix should be labeled with both a letter and a title, and each should be listed in the table of contents. GUIDELINES AND PRINCIPLES FOR THE WRITTEN REPORT The parts of the research report have already been described. However, you should also consider its form and format and its style. Form and Format Form and format concerns include heading and subheadings and visuais Headings and Subheadings In a tong report, your reader needs signals and signposts to serve as a map. Headings and subheadings perform this function. Headings indicate the topic of each section. Ail information under a specific heading should relate to that heading. A new heading shouid introduce a change of topic. Choose the kind of heading that fits your purposewsingle word, phrase, sentence. question—and consistently use that form throughout the report. If you use subheadings within the divisions, they must be similar to one another but not similar to the headings so as to ciearty differentiate subheads from headings. Visuais Visuals are tables, figures, charts, diagrams, graphs, and other graphic aids. Used properly, they can dramatically and compactty present information that might otherwise be difficult to follow. Tables systematicaliy present numerical data or words in columns and rows. Figures translate numbers into visual displays so that relationships and trends become comprehensible. Examples of figures are graphs, pie charts, and bar charts. Visuals should be uncluttered and self-explanatory. Even though they are self-explanatory, the key points of all visuals should be explained in the text. Refer to visuals by number: for example: . . as shown in Figure 1," If possible, place the visual immediately below the paragraph in which its first reference appears. Or, it sufficient space is not available, continue the text and place the visuat on the next page. Visuals can also be placed in an appendix. Styte There are a number of stylistic devices you need to consider when you are actuaily writing the sentences and paragraphs in your report. These may best be presented as “tips” for the writer. 1. Before you begin writing, carefully consider your audience. Who is your audience? How much information can you assume your audience knows? How much detait do you need to provide so that the audience can act on your information and recommendations? What specific considerations do you need to make to communicate effectiveiy with your audience? 2. As a rule, begin paragraphs with topic sentences. A good paragraph has one main idea. Topic sentences alert your reader and let him or her know what to expect. Topic sentences can also appear in the middle or at the end of a paragraph. Examples of good topic sentences are: “The Southern California market is not receptive to ‘Good Cooking’s’ new appte-flavored soda" and “This research concludes that the corner of €81“ Street and Zazinski Ave. is an excellent site iocation for a new Subway, inc. franchise. 3. Use jargon sparingiy. Some of your audience may understand technical terms; others may not. When in doubt, properly define the terms for your readers. If many technical terms are required in the report, you might consider including a glossary of terms in an appendix to assist the less— informed members of your audience. if). 11. Use strong verbs to carry the intent of your sentences; and cut out all unnecessary words. instead of "making a recommendation,” “recommend.” Or, instead of "performing an investigation," "investigate.’ Generaliy, you want to write in the active voice. Voice indicates whether the subject or the verb is doing the action (active voice) or being acted on (passive voice). For example, "The report was written by John” uses the passive voice. "John wrote the report” uses the active voice. Active voice is direct and forcefui and the active voice uses fewer words. Avoid unnecessary changes in tense. Tense tells if the action of the verb occurred in the past (past tense), is happening right now (present tense), or wilt happen in the future (future tense). Changing tense within a document is an error writers frequently make. Be aware of moving from tense to tense within your paper. Eliminate extra words. Write your message ciearly and concisely. Combine and reword sentences to eliminate unnecessary words. In sentences, keep the subject and verb close together. The farther the message and the greater the chance there is for errors in subjectiverb agreement. Very the length and structure of sentences. Edit carefully. Your first draft is not a finished product, nor is your second. Edit your work carefully, rearranging and rewriting until you communicate the intent of your research as efficiently and effectively as possible. Ptoofread carefuliy. After you have a finished product, check it carefully to make sure everything is correct. Double check names and numbers, grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Aithough spell checks and grammar checks are helpful, you cannot reiy on them to catch all errors. One of the best ways to proofread is to read the document aloud, preferably with a reader following along on the origina% document. An alternative is to read the document twice—once quickly for content and meaning and once slowly for mechanical errors. Guidelines for the Use of Visuals: Tables and Figures Visuals assist in the effective presentation of numerical data. The key to a successful visual is a clear and concise presentation that conveys the message of the report. The selection of visual should match the presentation purpose for the data. Common visuals include the foilowing. Tables, which identify exact values Tables atlow the reader to compare numerical data. Effective table guidelines are as foilows: ‘l . 4. Do not allow computer analysis to imply a level of accuracy that is not achieved. Limit your use of decimal places (that is, 12% or 12.2% instead of12.223%). Place items you want the reader to compare in the same column, not the same row. if you have many rows, darken alternate entries or double space after every five entries to assist the reader to accurately line up items. Total coiumhs and rows when relevant. Chart and graphs, which tilustrate relationships among items \ V" \i’ \1“ V" Pie charts, which compare a specific part to the whole Bar charts and line graphs, which compare items overtime, or show correlations among items. Flow diagrams, which introduce a set of topics and illustrate their relationships. Maps, which define location Photographs, which present an aura of legitimacy because they are not "created" in the sense that other visuals are created. ORAL PRESENTATION You may be asked to present an oral summary of the report including the recommendations and conclusions of your research. The purpose of the oral presentation is to succinctly present the information and to provide an opportunity for questions and discussion. The presentation may be accomplished through a simple conference with the client. or it may be a formal presentation to a mom fuil of people. To be adequately prepared, foliow these steps: 1. identify and understand your audience 2. Determine the key points your audience needs to hear. 3. Outline the key points, preferably on 3—by-5 cards to which you can easily refer. Present your points succinctly and cleariy. 4. Prepare Visuals to graphically portray your key points 5. Practice your presentation. A good "rule of thumb” is to rehearse your presentation a minimum of three times. Be comfortable with what you are going to say. 6. Check out the room and media equipment prior to the presentation. 7. Be positive. You know more about your subject than anyone else does. Figure I INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS: AN ANALYSIS OF INTERNET USERS’ PREFERENCES AND ATTITUDES Figure 2 INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS: AN ANALYSIS OF INTERNET USERS’ PREFERENCES AND ATTITUDES Prepared for The Board of Directors NextStep Atlanta, Georgia by MarkResearch Consutting Group, Inc. Suite 2630 1248 South Research Blvd March 2004 Figure 3 April 8, 2006 Ms. Elizabeth Cooper Chairperson Board of Directors NextStep 2268 S. Sunnyviile Lane Atlanta, Georgia 30326 Dear Ms. Cooper: As requested in your letter of authorization dated January 5, 2006, I have now completed the analysis of Internet users. The results of my research are contained in the report entitle, “Internet Service Providers: An Analysis of Internet Users” Preferences and Attitudes.” The report is based on personal interview of 25l honsehoids in Atlanta. The complete methodology is described in the report. Standard marketing research practices were used in the conduct of study, and I believe the results to be valid and reliable within the constraints as identified in the report. I believe you will find the results to be interesting and certainly of use to you and other board members in making your recommendations for your new service. Please do not hesitate to call me should you have any questions. Sincerely, William Saroyan President MarkSearch Consulting Group, Inc. Figure 4 An Example ofa Table of Contents CONTENTS SECTION TITLE PAGE EXECUTEVE SUMMARY X TNTRODUCTION 1 BACKGROUND FOR THE STUDY 1 CONSULTANT’S CREDENTIALS 3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY 4 METHODOLOGY 5 POPULATION DEFINITION 5 THE SAMPLE PLAN 8 THE SAMPLE SIZE 7 DEVELOPMENT OF THE SURVEY QUESTIONNAIRE 9 COLLECTING THE DATA 11 THE RESPONSE RATE 14 RESULTS 18 A PROFILE OF THE TOTAL SAMPLE 18 CHARACTERESTICS OF INTERNET USERS 22 INTERNET USAGE 29 USERS= CONCERNS 35 SATISFACTEON WITH CURRENT ISP 42 BUYENG HABiTS OF USERS 50 BRAND LOYALTY OF USERS 60 CURRENT MARKET LEADERS 72 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY 80 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 84 LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 86 FIGURE 1 PROFELING TOTAL SAMPLE RESPONDENTS 87 FIGURE 2 LENGTH OF TIME WITH CURRENT PROVIDER 88 TABLE ’E HOUSEHOLD HOURS A WEEK ON THE INTERNET 89 FIGURE 3 KEY USER CONCERNS IN DECIDING ON TSP 90 TABLE 2 EVALUATION OF CURRENT ISPS 91 FIGURE 4 ISP MARKET LEADERS 92 TABLE 4 SERVTCE PROMPTING USERS TO SWITHCH ESP 93 TABLE 5 CURRENT SATISFACTION WITH ESP 94 APPENDIX A 98 APPENDIX B 100 ...
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This note was uploaded on 01/18/2012 for the course MKTG 4100 taught by Professor Armentashchian during the Spring '12 term at Kennesaw.

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Presenting the Results - Presenting the Research Resuits it...

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