Marketing Research and Analysis: 3. Understanding Research Approaches and Designs

Rahul S
3 min readJun 4, 2023

We began our discussion with the fundamental concepts of marketing research, the definition of a market, and their significance.

Please read the previous chapter:

In this essay we will delve into one of the crucial aspects of marketing research: the research approach. We will explore the types of research approaches and why researchers need to understand the development of a research approach.

So, what exactly is a research approach, and why should researchers comprehend its development?

A research approach can be understood as a logical flow or path that researchers should follow in order to conduct a study. Depending on the situation and context, researchers may adopt different approaches, whether they are theory-based or observation-driven. The choice of the research approach is critical in addressing a specific research problem effectively.

There are three primary types of research approaches: deductive, inductive, and abductive. These approaches represent different logical paths that researchers can take to reach their research goals. Let’s explore each of them in detail.


The deductive approach involves developing a hypothesis based on an existing theory. Researchers start with an established theory and design a research strategy to test the hypothesis.

For example, a researcher might investigate the impact of bonuses on sales performance in the banking industry, drawing from the theory that a carrot-and-stick approach, such as providing bonuses, can motivate salespeople to perform better. This approach moves from theory to hypothesis, data collection, and analysis.


On the other hand, the inductive approach starts with specific observations and ends with the development of a theory. Researchers observe phenomena or patterns and then build a theory based on those…