In this lesson, we'll explore how companies analyze, apply and draw conclusions from research to solve problems. Learn how effective recommendations can help a business survive and thrive.
Using Research Effectively
Companies spend enormous amounts of time trying to solve problems by conducting research in the workplace. One of the most critical parts of the research is to be able to analyze, apply and draw conclusions from the information and then ultimately make the best recommendations. This is the ability to manipulate, understand, organize and interpret data into achievable goals and recommendations.
Detective Lombardo has been hired by Aunt Mildred's Bakery to figure out why their business is in the toilet. Detective Lombardo is a consulting expert who conducts business research and comes up with a list of recommendations to help save floundering companies. Let's see how he comes up with recommendations.
Detective Lombardo has spent the last month acquiring two different types of data on Aunt Mildred's Bakery. He started with acquiring qualitative data, which is exploratory research that is based on opinions and insights. Some examples of ways to acquire this type of research are focus groups, in-depth interviews and observation. Detective Lombardo spent a few days observing the consumers uninterrupted to see what they purchased and how they reacted in the store.
Det. Lombardo then acquired quantitative data as well, which seeks to quantify the problem through the acquisition of data that can be further transferred into statistics. Examples of quantitative data would be online polls, surveys and store data points. The biggest difference is that qualitative is used for more exploratory research, while quantitative provides statistically proven results that can be used to recommend a course of action. Detective Lombardo has created a tip sheet to analyze the data:
1. Refresh memory about the research goals. Detective Lombardo reread his original goal that he developed with Aunt Mildred a few weeks ago. The point of the project was to find out why Aunt Mildred's bakery was not selling their product. He kept that in mind as he started analyzing the information.
2. Analyze quantitative information. Detective Lombardo gathered all of the data that was attained through statistically sampled means and then tabulated the information with statistical software, such as SPSS. He had data from an online survey that was administered randomly to individuals that lived in town through a professional survey company. He had consumers respond to a number of questions. For example, he asked how many cakes did you buy this year from Aunt Mildred?
3. Analyze qualitative information. There was also an enormous amount of data from his own observations, and in-depth interviews that Detective Lombardo had to analyze. He looked for patterns or suggestions that would help show a relationship or idea. For example, he found that most respondents wished the bakery offered free classes. He also observed that the bakery did better business when there was a local event in the park nearby.
After completing the basic analysis, Detective Lombardo needed to start interpreting the findings to develop some recommendations. He needed to apply the analysis findings into some recommendations. This means that he needed to put into use or find a purpose for the analytical results. For example, Detective Lombardo's analysis showed that the bakery needed to eliminate the brownies and cookies or develop better-tasting ones. He also started to think of ways to tie in events to drive more customers to the bakery.
Now that Detective Lombardo has completed the analysis and application of findings to some ideas, he needs to finish by drawing conclusions, or implying or inferring certain recommendations. He needs to record his own conclusions and make specific recommendations. For example:
Aunt Mildred's Bakery needs to make their brownies from scratch (not pre-made) and offer fun varieties such as peanut butter, white-chocolate chip and potato chip/pretzel. This is based on his findings that customers found the pre-made mix brownies dry, and said they would buy homemade ones with modern flavors.
Aunt Mildred's Bakery needs to offer fun events such as free cake decorating classes, kid cookie decorating classes and even a cookie club (buy ten big cookies, get one free!). This recommendation was based on the data that showed the bakery did more business when the local park next door had an event. The bakery needs more reasons for people to stop by. In addition, consumers responded that they were taking these types of classes at the local community college night program. Detective Lombardo thought the bakery needed to attract local customers that had an interest in learning about baking to the store.
Aunt Mildred also needed to change the bakery sign as the surveys all mentioned that the sign was outdated, worn and gave an unattractive first impression. Detective Lombardo mentioned that most consumers love the bakery's apple pie. This product should be featured on the sign with more modern, colorful visuals.
Companies spend enormous amounts of time trying to solve problems by conducting research in the workplace. One of the most critical parts of the research is to be able to analyze, apply and draw conclusions from the information and then ultimately make the best recommendations. Detective Lombardo was able to save Aunt Mildred's bakery by developing excellent recommendations based on his analysis and conclusions from the acquired research.
There are two basic types of research that are needed to start the entire process. Qualitative data is exploratory research that is based on opinions and insights. The second type of data is quantitative data, which seeks to quantify the problem through the acquisition of data that can be further transferred into statistics. Detective Lombardo then followed some basic steps to analyze the data:
- Refresh memory about the research goals
- Analyze quantitative information
- Analyze qualitative information
After completing the basic analysis, it is important to start interpreting the findings to develop some recommendations. Then the researcher needs to apply the analysis findings into some recommendations. This means that the findings need to be put into use or find a purpose for the analytical results. Lastly, the researcher has to complete the analysis and apply the findings to some ideas, which then can be used to draw conclusions, or imply or infer certain recommendations.
At the end of the lesson, you'll be able to:
- Explain the importance of being able to analyze, apply and draw conclusions from research
- Describe qualitative data and quantitative data and how they're analyzed
- Apply the analysis findings to make recommendations
- Understand how to draw conclusions from the data