Exploratory Research Plan TemplatePurposeThe purpose of this tool is to help you create an exploratory research plan that will helpyou determine the best research design, data collection method and selection of subjectsfor an upcoming market research initiative.How to Use this TemplateComplete the following sections with your project team and/or stakeholders. Cut & pastethis information into a document that reflects your corporate image, and deliver yourExploratory Research Plan to senior executives for review & approval.Title Page[Insert Company Name or Logo]Exploratory Research Plan: (insert project title)[Insert Completion Date]Completed By: [Insert Project Manager Name]Completed For: [Insert Project Sponsor Name]
Table of Contents1. Overview 31.1 Purpose1.2 Objectives1.3 Research Question2. Literature Review 33. Research Design 43.1 Types of Data & Research Methods3.1.1 In-Depth Interviews3.1.2 Focus Groups3.1.3 Case Analysis3.1.4 Other Research Methods3.2 Sources of Data3.3 Sampling Plan3.4 Data Collection Techniques3.5 Data Analysis4. Hypothesis 75. Timetable 76. Budget 87. References 9
1. Overview1.1 PurposeProvide a brief explanation of why the research is taking place.1.2 ObjectivesIdentify and list your objectives here: Objective #1 Objective #2 Objective #31.3 Research QuestionFor each objective listed above, formulate research questions and list them below: Research Question #1 Research Question #2 Research Question #32. Literature ReviewThe purpose of the literature review is to integrate your study into a broader framework ofrelevant theory and research.2.1 SummarySummarize recent/authoritative literature on the proposed research problem as it relates tothe stated research problem.2.2 ShortcomingsIndicate shortcomings in previous literature or lack of knowledge about the topic youintend to research.
2.3 ApproachesNote the conceptual, theoretical and methodological approaches used by others instudying related topics.2.4 StrategiesDecide on your own conceptual/theoretical/methodological strategies and on how yourown study may contribute to improvements in this regard.2.5 DebatesBe aware of important debates in the field of their research topic and should include them in anuanced discussion.2.6 ReferencesUse the correct referencing techniques.3. Research DesignUse this section to elaborate on your research study design. Explain the types of data &research methods to be used, the sources of your data, your sampling plan, the datacollection techniques to be explored, and your data analysis approach.3.1 Types of Data & Research MethodsIdentify which types of data will work best with your study (i.e. qualitative, quantitative, orboth and primary, secondary, or both). Indicate the research methods/types that will beutilized. A few research methods/types include, but are not limited to:3.1.1 In-Depth InterviewsIn-depth interviewing is a qualitative research technique that involves conductingintensive individual interviews with a single respondent or a small number ofrespondents to explore their perspectives on a particular idea, program, or situation.For more information on In-Depth Interviews, review our In-Depth Interview Guide.
3.1.2 Focus GroupsFocus groups are a form of qualitative research in which a group of people areasked about their perceptions, opinions, beliefs, and attitudes towards a product,service, concept, advertisement, idea, or packaging.For more information on Focus Groups, review the following tools & templates: Focus Group Guide Facilitator Selection Facilitator Evaluation Focus Group Report Template3.1.3 Case AnalysisCase analysis is one of the most general and applicable methods of analyticalthinking, depending only on the division of a problem, decision or situation into asufficient number of separate cases. Analyzing each such case individually may beenough to resolve the initial question.The purpose of case analysis is to review information that is similar and relevant tothe research problem.3.1.4 Other Research MethodsTo learn about more types of research methods, please review our ResearchMethods Guide.3.2 Sources of DataAfter the research methods have been selected, you will want to indicate the exact sources yourdata will come from. For each research method, identify your data source and describe how itwill be beneficial to your research.
3.3 Sampling PlanExploratory research will require you to make generalizations about your findings. For thisreason, you will need to create a sampling plan in order to accurately portray the findingsassociated with the research.For each chosen research method, identify the following: Target population Sampling units Sampling approach Sample size3.4 Data Collection TechniquesDescribe, in detail, how you will obtain your data sources, include all relevant information(i.e. Who? What? When? Where?).Describe, in detail, the specifics of each of your research methods. A few examples maybe: Interview Questions Focus Group Topics A Case Analysis OutlineIn this section, you will also want to consider the issue of Validity, which is integral in anyexploratory research study. Validity is a key concept in this type of research as it helps usassess the quality & integrity of the research. Consider these questions: How well does your exploratory research study measure what it claims to? How credible is the evidence you are providing to answer your research question? Can we rule out other answers to our question with our findings?3.5 Data AnalysisUse this section to describe how the data collected will be analyzed. Specify your plan foraccurate analysis of your prospective data.
4. HypothesisExploratory research is complete when the major dimensions of the problem have beendiscovered this bringing clarity to the problem so that it’s possible to generate thehypotheses.Enter the hypothesis in the space provided below:______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________5. TimetableUsing the table below, provide an estimation of your timetable for research development:Date DeliverableMarch Literature ReviewApril Planning (Research Design)May Data CollectionJune Data AnalysisJuly Final written report and presentation
6. BudgetInclude an estimate of the costs associated with the research plan as well as the fundingmodel. You can also use the chart below as a preliminary overview of your expenses.The budget can include, but is not limited to the following: Personnel Travel Printing Supplies Technology Room Rentals Professional ServicesCategory Description of Expense Estimated CostPersonnel 3 Researchers needed for 4 days $3,600.00Travel 2 Flights to San Antonio $1,000.00Printing 50 copies of data collected $200.00Supplies To Be Determined (TBD) $0.00Pro Services TBD $0.00Total Cost $4,800.00
7. ReferencesUse this page to list your references. Adhere to standard referencing techniques.