A market research agency can be involved in several stages of a research project.
The first occasion is at the start-up of the research projet. The agency will analyse the problem and advise on the methology.
The next phase is the data collection. This is called “the fieldwork” when new data is gathered either from individuals or from group discussions. “Desk research” refers to the research based on existing data.
The data collection phase is followed by the data analysis. This involves the analysis, which can vary from simple to more complex statistical analyis, as well as the presentation of the results in a report.
In the last phase, the agency has a consultancy rol. They interpret the results, draw conclusions and give recommendations for further action.
The second phase – the fieldwork – is the base function of a market research agency. Some agencies limit themselves to only organising fieldwork and data analysis (phase 2 and 3), while other agencies are also involved with advising on the methodology and with interpreting the results (phase 1 and 4). The needs of the clients vary: some require support along all phases, while others only require help with the fieldwork or the data analysis.