Marketing Research Report Written Guidelines

You will turn in 2 files via email for your report deliverable. 

Excel File with Data Tabulations and Results from Analyses (please name your file with your team name)

You will create an Excel file that provides the information obtained from the analysis of your data in SPSS.  You should use a separate worksheet for each primary area in the questionnaire (in some cases that will be a single question; in other cases, it will consist of multiple questions on the same topic).  For example, the first question on your survey deals with respondents' perceptions of various social media sites.  This should be in 1 worksheet.  In these initial worksheets in your Excel workbook, you will be reporting from the frequencies and descriptive statistics you run in SPSS.  How you set these up will depend on the level of measurement of the question (see pages 1 - 5 of the example provided).  After you report the frequencies and descriptive statistics for each of the survey questions and the demographics, you will create worksheets that correspond to the difference tests you ran.  For example, if you used Gender as a grouping variable, you will report all of the gender differences in a single worksheet (see pages 6 - 9 of the example provided). In preparing your worksheets, you should:

Written Report - provided in a Word document (please name your file with your team name)

Everything in your written report should be included in a single Word document.  In this document, you must include:

  1. A title page describing the name of the study, your group’s consulting company name and the names of all group members -- feel free to use graphics or anything else you think adds a nice "packaging" element to the cover.

  2. A table of contents (with page numbers)

  3. Section 1 - Executive SummaryYou should write this section LAST and should be about 1 page in length.  This section includes only the major highlights of the study results.  It should address only the most important information.  Think of this section as what you would say if you only had 1 or 2 minutes to describe the study results to  top management.  This section is extremely important. In the real world the executive summary may be the only section of the report they will read so you must quickly and succinctly tell your audience the "high points" of the study.


  4. Section 2 – Introduction.  You only need to provide the research objectives (use the objectives I provided for the questionnaire).  You should rewrite the verbs to be past tense since your are providing this report after the completion of the study.  The objectives should be listed in bulleted form.

  5. Section 3 – Methodology.  Because you have already conducted the study, this section should be rewritten to be in past, rather than present, tense.  This section should describe the type of research design employed (exploratory, descriptive, causal), what survey data collection method was used and the advantages and disadvantages associated with this approach, who participated in the study (a description of your respondents), the number of total survey respondents, when the survey was developed, how the survey was administered, when the data was collected, etc.   This section should be 1 to 2 paragraphs.  I will email you with a few of the specific details about this (e.g. when the survey was administered, how many responses, etc.) after the data has been collected.

  6. Section 4 – Conclusions and Recommendations.  This is where you tell me what you learned from conducting the study (these should be stated in detail) and what you recommend your client do based on what you found.  You should NOT provide numerical data in this section (means, %, etc.).  The reader can review your excel information for this data.  This section is critical because this is where you put it all together and provide managerial implications.  Be sure that you have addressed all of your research objectives (with the exception of the objective related to demographics -- you do not need to make any conclusions or recommendations about the demographic items). 

    In your conclusions you should interpret the results in light of your objectives to arrive at your conclusions.  If you have many statistically significant differences from your analyses, you may decide to have separate sections based on the various grouping variables (e.g. gender, age, etc. ) in addition to sections discussing each of the primary research objectives.  Your recommendations should be feasible, practical and directly usable as inputs into managerial decision-making.  You can prepare this section in one of two ways (you should prepare the one that works best for your group): (1) provide conclusions for a particular portion of the study and then provide your related recommendations or (2) provide all of your conclusions in one section and all of your recommendations in a separate section.  Please note that if use option #2, it is up to your group to make the linkage between the conclusions and recommendations clear to the reader.  This section should be no less than 5 complete pages (single spaced).  I have provided 2 examples of this section from previous studies: one dealing with a retirement community and one from a survey conducted among JMU seniors related to class gifts.

Formatting and Style of the Report

The body of the report should be single-spaced pages (exclusive of the Title Page, Table of Contents) using a 10, 11, or 12 point font with one-inch margins on all sides.  You should also number all of the pages after the Table of Contents beginning with page 1  -- if you don't know how to do this, please read up on how to create section breaks in Microsoft Word.  Each major section (TOC, Section 1, etc.) should begin on a new page.    

You are writing this report as if you are the consulting firm.  Refer to your consultancy by name when you're making a recommendation (e.g. XYZ Research recommends) rather than using the first person "We recommend".  Consulting reports are generally not written in the first or second person (e.g., we recommend that..., you should locate at..., etc.) as this is considered unprofessional.  You should write in the fashion such as "it is recommended that...", "The best alternative for the Marketing department is...." etc.

Other rules of thumb to be thinking of when writing the report: