A Successful Research Project – Step 3: Clarify Objective

by Jenny on December 8, 2016 Comments Off on A Successful Research Project – Step 3: Clarify Objective
  1. Discussion & Discovery (CLICK HERE)
  2. Secondary Research (CLICK HERE)
  3. Clarify Objective
  4. Primary Research
  5. Strategy & Planning
  6. Implement & Launch
  7. Report & Benchmark

Having successfully completed the first two steps, our team has agreed on a high-level research objective and we are equipped with secondary research to guide our process moving forward.

We are on track to conduct an accurate, reliable primary research effort producing results that will be relevant to competitive Athleisure companies. For more information on how we arrived at this point, we’ve provided links to the first two steps above.


At this point we apply our secondary research findings (Step 2) to a continued discussion of our high-level research objective (Step 1).

As defined by Study.com, “A research objective is an answerable inquiry into a specific concern or issue. It is the initial step in a research project. The ‘initial step’ means after you have an idea of what you want to study, the research question is the first active step in the research project.”

Here we address important questions such as:

Who are we inviting to participate in our primary research? Who is our ideal respondent?

What metrics or data points are most important to companies within our chosen industry?

Do we have a sufficient list of industry related verbiage and response options to include in our survey?

How would our resulting data be used to guide a company’s action items?


Taking these initial steps are similar to walking a tightrope; successfully reaching the end requires complete focus, one step at a time. Any deviation from the plan could be detrimental to the desired outcome.

Moving forward, our research objective will serve as the project backbone. It will either be strong and reliable, or a weak liability. By revisiting this discussion started in Step 1, now equipped with fact-based insights from Step 2, we bolster our research objective resulting in a collective understanding of our ultimate goal.

Without this clearly articulated research objective our team could potentially move in different directions thus fragmenting the overall research effort. By the time companies realize their missteps in the process, it is too late to correct.


At this point our research objective (established in Step 1) is, “…to better understand Athleisure consumers, and identify similarities/differences within the daily lives of relevant customer segments.”

By revisiting this research objective we are able to clarify key aspects that are currently vague:

“Better understand Athleisure consumers” – Which consumer group are we addressing? Age? Gender?

“Identify similarities/differences within daily lives” – What lifestyle attributes will be included?

“Relevant customer segments” – How will we segment results within our target consumer group?

We clarify these vague aspects by leveraging our secondary research findings:

Since only $1 out of every $7 spent on Athleisure products are for Men, the vast majority of spending is done by or for Women.

Considering data points that would help Athleisure companies determine forward-thinking action items, we decide to address an up-and-coming wave of consumers; Millennials.

Common lifestyle attributes found within our secondary research included (but are not limited to) weekly exercise frequency, level of involvement with a gym or organized sports, situations and locations in which Athleisure wear is deemed appropriate, and dollar amounts spent while Athleisure shopping.

The inclusion of demographic-based questions along with lifestyle questions will offer varied data-segmentation opportunities. The most relevant of which will be determined after results have been analyzed, but considering possible segmentation methods will help guide our line of questioning and the response options provided.

Through this clarification process our research objective is more focused and defined:

“…to better understand Female Athleisure consumers within the millennial age group, and identify similarities/differences in lifestyle attributes such as weekly exercise frequency, level of involvement with a gym, situations and locations where Athleisure is deemed appropriate, or amount spent on Athleisure products; all segmented by demographic information and the afore mentioned lifestyle attributes.”

Now that we have a data-guided, clarified research objective we are ready to move forward with the process. Be sure to check back soon as we continue our series with Step 4; Primary 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.

JennyA Successful Research Project – Step 3: Clarify Objective