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Tips to help your international market research

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Market research tips

With a lot of information available, it's vital to consider the purpose of your research - is it for a funding application, choosing an export destination, finding customers or something else? You should also make sure you know what type of resource - whether market reports, journal articles, a directory, or country information databases - is likely to hold the information you need.

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Further research and support

National Library of Scotland - Business information service

If you are resident in Scotland, you can also register with the National Library of Scotland to access useful information resources, subject to the publishers' licensing terms and conditions (for example COBRA, D&B Hoovers and Frost & Sullivan).

Register for library access

Conduct primary research or field work

You can supplement your secondary research with primary (field work) research, which involves the collection of new data that doesn’t already exist. This can be done in various ways including questionnaires, interviews and focus groups.

If you want to collate standardised information on well-defined issues, a quantitative approach can be most suitable.

Quantitative research - gathers information to measure the scale of something. For example, if you want to know how many of your customers support a proposed change in your products or service and how strongly (on a scale) they support it.

Qualitative research - captures more detailed, complex information. It can help explain data identified at the quantitative research stage, for example reasons why customers do or don’t support a change in your product or service.

A more open, thoughtful and interactive approach, like focus groups and face-to-face interviews, is better for qualitative research. This allows participants to discuss concerns and issues to help identify perceptions, feelings, and the reasons underlying them.

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