7 Steps To A Successful Research Project – Step 1: Discussion & Discovery

by Jenny on November 17, 2016 Comments Off on 7 Steps To A Successful Research Project – Step 1: Discussion & Discovery
  1. Discussion & Discovery
  2. Secondary Research
  3. Clarify Objective
  4. Primary Research
  5. Strategy & Planning
  6. Implement & Launch
  7. Report & Benchmark

In starting our multi-part series on the keys to a successful research project, it is important to emphasize the interconnectedness of each step. No one step is more important than another, as ultimate success is reliant on building a strong foundation allowing a smooth, effective transition from one step to the next.

From the beginning, a combination of focused efforts and foresight will provide clarity of the tasks at hand as well as an understanding of how each step contributes to the overall process.


As with projects of any nature, a good launch point is internal discussion with decision makers and key stakeholders. This will help define and solidify the ultimate goal, and the best course of action to achieve said goal. It is important to establish specifics such as project scope, allocated budgeting, and time restraints.

To most accurately define these specifics, consider the following:
What problem are we trying to solve?
Who will be using the results?
What does success look like?
When must the project be completed?


By reviewing high-level project specs, decision makers and management can brainstorm ideas and share their respective needs helping project success across the board. Moving forward, this will help ensure results analytics can be effectively applied to each department’s goals.

In addition, walking through the entire research process will uncover discrepancies between the project concept and the resources needed to successfully complete individual tasks. During this time, your team of decision makers can identify internal skill-gaps to determine if partnering with third-party vendors makes sense.

Lastly, it’s of great benefit to organize any/all existing data currently held internally, be it sales history or customer information. This will help establish what is known and what is not known in an effort to avoid spending time or resources searching for answers you already have.


Early 2016 provided an opportunity to conduct a proprietary research project of our own. As a team we discussed potential industries to address, and research objectives therein. Our collective interest in health and fitness helped guide our decision which landed on the rapidly growing Athleisure Industry.

As defined by Merriam-Webster, Athleisure “refers to casual clothing – like yoga pants, sweat pants, and hoodies – that are designed to be worn both exercising and for doing (almost) everything else.”

Our research objective was to better understand Athleisure consumers, and identify similarities/differences within the daily lives of relevant customer segments. We set a finite timeframe in which the project was to be completed, thus allowing accurate resource allocation; including employee hours and budgeting.

Through our internal discussion we identified three departments that would benefit from a project of this nature; Sales, Marketing, and Product Development. As a full-service research and data analytics company we had the skills and staff necessary to complete this project.

While we had the required skills and staffing, we didn’t have the specific Athleisure-related data we were looking for; so our research efforts started from square one. While this blank canvas offered flexibility in project scope, to ensure our efforts produced actionable insights we needed to focus our efforts prior to conducting primary research. At this point, we shifted to Step 2; Secondary Research. 

Be sure to check back soon as we continue our series with Step 2; Secondary Research.


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Jenny Dinnen is President of Sales and Marketing at MacKenzie Corporation. Driven to maximize customer's value and exceed expectations, Jenny carries a can-do attitude wherever she goes. She maintains open communication channels with both her clients and her staff to ensure all goals and objectives are being met in an expeditious manner. Jenny is a big-picture thinker who leads MacKenzie in developing strategies for growth while maintaining a focus on the core services that have made the company a success. Basically, when something needs to get done, go see Jenny. Before joining MacKenzie, Jenny worked at HD Supply as a Marketing Manager and Household Auto Finance in their marketing department. Jenny received her undergrad degree in Marketing from the University of Colorado (Boulder) and her MBA from the University of Redlands.

Jenny7 Steps To A Successful Research Project – Step 1: Discussion & Discovery