Chapter 4 Learning Objective 1 Specify the key steps in problem formulation. The six key steps are (1) meet with client, (2) clarify the problem/opportunity, (3) state the manager’s decision problem, (4) develop full range of possible research problems, (5) select research problem(s), and (6) prepare and submit a research request agreement. Learning Objective 2 Discuss two objectives of the initial meeting with the research client. The two goals are (1) to develop rapport and open communication lines, and (2) to obtain as much information as possible about the problem/opportunity. Learning Objective 3 Discuss the two general sources of marketing problems/opportunities. The two sources of marketing problems, and consequently research problems, are (1) unanticipated change and (2) planned change. Research on planned change tends to be proactive, while research on unanticipated, or unplanned, change tends to be reactive. Learning Objective 4 Explain why the researcher must be actively involved in problem formulation. Researchers play a key role in problem formulation because they bring a new perspective to the problem/opportunity situation. Managers often fall into routine ways of seeing the business and its environment; researchers can help them get to the heart of the problem. Learning Objective 5 Distinguish between two types of decision problems. A decision problem is the basic problem or opportunity facing the manager. Discovery-oriented decision problems typically ask “what” or “why” and generate information that can be used by managers to make important decisions. Strategy oriented decision problems are usually directed at “how” planned change should be implemented and focus on making decisions. Learning Objective 6 Distinguish between a decision problem and a research problem. A decision problem is the problem/opportunity as seen by managers. Research problems restate the decision problem in research terms, from the researcher’s perspective. Learning Objective 7 Describe the research request agreement. The research request agreement summarizes the problem formulation process in written form and is submitted to managers for approval. It includes the following sections: origin, decision problem, research problem(s), use, targets and their subgroups, and logistics. Learning Objective 8 Outline the various elements of the research proposal. Most research proposals contain the following elements: tentative project title, statement of the marketing problem, purpose and limits of the project, outline, data sources and research methodology, estimate of time and personnel requirements, and cost estimates. Learning Objective 9 Describe types of research that should be avoided. Several types of research should be avoided, including unethical research (e.g., sugging, advocacy research); research to support a decision that has already been made; research for which adequate resources are unavailable; and research in which the costs involved outweigh the benefits to be obtained. Learning Objective 10 Describe the purpose of a request-for-proposal (RFP). A request-for-proposal is issued by a company in order to solicit proposals from research providers. The RFP should be specific enough to allow easy comparisons across vendors.