Essential for planning larger projects, these also help focus the thinking of both the client and researcher, as well as reducing consultancy time and costs. These documents need not be too complex or lengthy and are very useful for establishing a professional relationship. If you need any advice on clarifying your research needs please get in contact.
How to write a research brief
This is a formal document that sets out the reasons why you want to conduct the research. Why are they important?
- To communicate the requirements of your research project so I can really understand what you want to investigate.
- To ensure you gain relevant and actionable insights from the project.
- To allow everyone involved to be aware of the exact specification and objectives.
- To keep the focus of the project on track.
- To inform me if I am in a competitive situation or who I may need to work with.
The more detail you include at this stage the more efficient I can be in providing you with a clear, well-structured and costed proposal that will best meet your needs. A research brief should cover these key areas:
- Background information: to place the problem or opportunity being researched into context.
- Objectives: to define the exact nature of the research problem and what you want to learn from the research. Many clients find it easier to write this in terms of any questions they want answered.
- Target audience: to specify which group of people you wish to investigate.
- Constraints: to inform me of any limitations affecting the project, such as timeframe or budget. Please mention any major reviews or deadlines so I can let you know if I can meet your requirements as early on as possible.
What to expect from a research proposal
This is a formal document which outlines how I will achieve the research objectives as laid out in your research brief. Why are these needed in addition to research briefs and what does a proposal cover?
- Background information: describing in more detail the section laid out in your brief. This should demonstrate that I fully understand the context of the research.
- Objectives: summarising the overall aim in one clear statement and may include specific research questions.
- Research methodology: describing the framework and suitability of whichever methods will be used or modified for bespoke research.
- Deliverables: a clear strategy that explains the research outputs. This is provided at a detailed level so it is clear what you get for your money.
- Recruitment: specifying the target group and how it will be accessed for the research.
- Analysis and reporting: which indicates how all the new information will be delivered and communicated to you.
- Schedule: setting out a timeframe for the project.
- Costs: based on the budget indicated by you in the research brief, with clear descriptions of any additional or excluded costs.