Writing a research brief

Providing a market research company with a research brief is a useful exercise in solidifying your thinking and defining what you want and need to know from your research project.

It also provides the companies you approach for services with important information that will allow them to deliver the services you need, offer you a range of approaches and methodologies and provide an accurate quote.

The following is a checklist of items that you should consider when writing your brief.

Note: Australian Survey Research Group Pty Ltd (ASR) will treat anything you include in your brief as confidential.

Background about yourself

A brief introduction to your company will help ASR understand you and your individual needs. Background could include:

  • What do you do? What is your industry sector and how do you fit into it?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • How many employees/sites do you have?
  • What are your business aims/aspirations/visions/values?


Provide the context for your decision to commission research. This may be expressed as research objectives and business objectives:

  • Research objectives are what you want to know overall, e.g., to measure overall customer experience.
  • Business objectives are what you are going to do different as a result of satisfying your research objective, e.g., to improve you service offering in x, y or z areas, or improve a product offering.

Note: it is important to distinguish what you need to know from what is nice to know. A good test is to ask what you are going to do differently as a result of knowing X. If the answer is nothing, then don’t waste time and money in asking.

Target audience

Who is your target audience or participants? For example:

  • Are they businesses or consumers?
  • Are they current customers, lapsed customers or those of a competitor?
  • Are demographics relevant, such as age, gender, income, occupation, location, company size, etc?
  • How many people do you want is to contact? (this is very important information for us)

Who do you want researched and how many interviews (sample size)? Do you want different options provided by ASR or for us to make recommendations?

Contact (list) details

Do you have a customer/stakeholder list or does ASR have to find respondents themselves? What contact details do you have:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Email
  • Telephone

Are these details accurate/complete? For example you may have address details for half your database and emails or telephone numbers for the other half.


What methodology do you envisage? Do you think your objectives would best be met through qualitative or quantitative research or, perhaps, a combination? Should the research be conducted face-to-face, by telephone or even online? But don't worry if you're not sure. We can advise you. Either:

  • Tell us your preferred methodology, if any, or
  • Request us to recommend an approach and explain our recommendation.


When do you need the findings by? Bear in mind internal milestones such as meetings and decision-making deadlines you may have. Timescale could include:

  • Timescale for commissioning the research and comparing quotes, the start of the research and when you want the findings by
  • Whether you want to receive top-line findings in advance of the main findings
  • Leaving time to receive a draft set of findings for you to review before receiving the final report.


What research findings do you expect ASR to give you and how do you want them delivered? Do you want the findings in a written report format or as a presentation? You may want to have both, or to have a meeting with an ASR person or by telephone to discuss the findings. Deliverables could include:

  • Your preferred format for the findings - for example, a report in Word or a presentation in PowerPoint, hard copy and/or webinar, etc
  • Do you want the ASR to present the findings?
  • Is there anything else you want us to provide?

Research budget

How much money do you have to spend? Not everybody feels comfortable disclosing this option and admittedly we understand how some clients feel that disclosing their budget is like giving Dracula keys to the blood bank. However, it can help to give us guidance on the available budget, even if it is only a ball-park figure. This means we can give you a realistic quote based on what you can afford. We will help you maximise your available budget and maybe advise on an approach you had not considered. Budget could include:

  • An indication of available budget; stipulate whether or not this includes GST
  • Preferred invoicing schedule.

Contact details

How should ASR get in touch with you?

  • Who should ASR contact if they have any queries regarding the brief?
  • Who should ASR send our quote or proposal to, by when and how (e.g. electronically or hard copy)?

We hope this document helps you. Good luck!


Need help? Call us or email us

We are more than happy to help you with no obligation – within reason. Murray, Tricia or David are available to provide you advice and answer any questions you might have about your project.