What Are the Main Methods of Market Research?

Market research can provide valuable insights into consumer needs and preferences. These insights can be gathered via a number of qualitative and quantitative measures, some more complex than others. So, what are the main methods of research that you can expect market research companies to undertake? Let’s take a look.


Primary Market Research Methods

Primary research methods are used in market research to gather information directly from consumers using a range of techniques. Some of the most popular methods of market research include:


Surveys – Surveys are a very common primary research method and involve questionnaires which are filled out by consumers, either through the mail, over the telephone or through email. The results of the questionnaires are then analysed to provide broader insights into the customer experience. Surveys can be short and concise or more involved depending on what data needs to be obtained. 

Focus groups – Focus groups involve getting a group of people together and asking them for their thoughts and observations about a particular product or service. They generally consist of a particular target demographic. Focus groups can be headed by a moderator or observed by a researcher and are a good exploratory research technique. 

Methods of Market Research
Market Research


Interviews – Interviews are conducted one-on-one with a researcher and allow the researcher to obtain more in-depth information about a particular consumer’s experience. While this method won’t give you as big a sample size as other methods, it’s a good technique if there are specific issues that you won’t explore further. Interviews can be unstructured, with the conversation allowed to flow, or highly structured with set questions.


Observation – As you might expect, this technique involves researchers observing consumers without interacting with them. It could involve observing customers purchasing a product, trying your product out or their attitude towards your brand. It can often give an accurate picture of your customer attitude.


Secondary Research Methods


Secondary research involves the use of existing data and provides insights using information which is already available. From a market research perspective, this could include research reports, government reports, newspapers, magazines, statistics, company data and the internet. Secondary research is generally cost effective as it uses existing information and can be a useful tool when combined with primary research methods.

Colmar Brunton are one of Australia’s leading market research companies and we’re passionate about providing insights which make a difference to your business. We provide customised market research solutions so you can provide better products, services and communications. Our team of qualitative and quantitative market research experts will help you understand your customers and we provide insightful opinions to further your business. We have people placed in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra and Adelaide to ensure that we’re close to our clients.


To discover how we can deliver new, exciting insights for your business, contact Colmar Brunton today.