Business Strategy Research Methods


When it comes to developing a successful business strategy, research methods are essential. Researching the right data sets and collecting reliable information enables organizations to make informed decisions.

Research methods are important tools for business strategists. They provide the necessary data and insights to make informed, effective decisions. The most common types of business strategy research methods are qualitative, quantitative and experimental research.

Qualitative Research 

Qualitative research is a type of research method that collects data through interviews, focus groups, surveys, and other sources that provide rich information about experiences, opinions, and attitudes. 

Qualitative research can be used to explore businesses’ strategies by getting feedback from customers or employees about their experiences with the organization or industry. This type of research is beneficial because it allows researchers to gain insights into why people think or behave in certain ways. 

It also provides valuable context for understanding customer behavior and making decisions about how best to approach new markets or opportunities. However, qualitative research can be time-consuming and expensive due to the need for conducting interviews or focus groups with participants. 

Quantitative Research 

Quantitative research is another important method for obtaining data when researching business strategies. This type of research uses numerical data such as survey responses, sales numbers, production costs, etc., to examine trends and patterns in order to better understand customer behavior and develop effective strategies. 

Quantitative data is useful because it allows researchers to identify correlations between variables that cannot be seen through qualitative analysis alone. Additionally, quantitative data can be collected quickly and at a lower cost than qualitative data since there is no need for personal interaction with participants; however, this type of data does not provide any insights into why people think or behave in certain ways. 

Experimental Research 

Experimental research involves manipulating one variable while keeping all other variables constant in order to observe the effects of the manipulation on outcomes. This type of research enables researchers to test hypotheses regarding potential strategies without having to launch them first on a large scale basis, which could prove costly if the hypothesis proves incorrect, and offers valuable insight into how different variables interact with each other when devising new business strategies. 

The downside of experimental research is that it does not always accurately reflect real-world scenarios since all other variables must remain constant; thus results may not accurately depict what would happen if the strategy were implemented outside of laboratory conditions. 

Mixed-Methods Research In Business Strategy

As businesses strive to stay competitive, it is essential that they take a data-driven approach to decision making. To make informed decisions, companies need to collect and analyze both qualitative and quantitative data. 

This is where mixed-methods research comes in. Mixed-methods research combines quantitative and qualitative methods to capture insights from all aspects of the research process. 

By adopting this type of research methodology, businesses can gain a more comprehensive view of their market and potential customers, allowing them to make smarter strategic decisions. 

What is Mixed-Methods Research? 

Mixed-methods research is an approach that combines both qualitative and quantitative research methods to gain a more holistic view of the subject matter being studied. This type of approach allows researchers to capture insights from both sides of the equation and gain an understanding not just of what people are doing, but also why they are doing it. 

A typical mixed-methods study would involve collecting both survey data as well as conducting interviews or focus groups with individuals who have experience in the area being studied. 

The Benefits of Mixed-Methods Research 

By combining quantitative and qualitative methods in a single study, businesses can gain insights into their market that may be difficult or impossible to obtain through any single method alone. 

For example, survey data may provide information about customer preferences or buying habits, but it does not provide insight into why customers may have those preferences or behaviors. However, by pairing survey results with interviews or focus groups, researchers can gain a deeper understanding of customer motivations and behavior patterns. 

This kind of insight can be invaluable when making strategic business decisions such as launching new products or entering new markets. 

Focus Groups As A Business Strategy Research Method

Focus Groups are one of the most popular methods of research in the business world. They provide a unique opportunity for businesses to gain insights into their customers’ preferences, opinions, and behaviors. 

By using focus groups, companies can better understand how their products or services are being used, what areas need improvement, and what new opportunities may be available.

What is a Focus Group? 

A focus group is a research technique used to obtain feedback from a select group of people about a particular product or service. It typically involves interviews with participants in order to obtain information regarding their attitudes and perceptions toward the subject matter. The goal is to gain insight into how the general public feels about the product or service. 

Focus groups are typically composed of 6-10 individuals who have been chosen based on their experience with the product or service in question. 

This allows researchers to get an accurate representation of customer opinion as it relates to their particular industry or market segment. The participants in a focus group discussion must be carefully selected in order to ensure that they have not already formed strong opinions about the subject matter prior to participating in the discussion. 

How Does a Focus Group Work? 

Focus groups work by allowing participants to freely express their opinions without fear of judgement or criticism from others. During a focus group session, participants will be asked questions about their experiences with the product or service being studied. 

These questions should be open-ended so that participants feel comfortable speaking freely without worrying about providing “the wrong answer”. 

Additionally, it is important for moderators of focus groups to remain neutral and unbiased throughout discussions so as not to influence participants’ responses in any way. 

Action Research In Business Strategy

Action research is a field of study that focuses on the application of research methods to solve practical problems in real-world contexts. 

Specifically, it involves the testing and revising of strategies to improve decision-making, identify problems, and create solutions. 

This approach has been used in many different fields, including business strategy.

What Is Action Research? 

Action research is an empirical inquiry process in which data is collected from various sources (e.g., interviews, surveys, observations) and then analyzed to develop insights into the problem or issue at hand. 

The results of these analyses are then used as the basis for developing new strategies or approaches to solving the problem. 

The goal of action research is not only to identify potential solutions but also to put them into practice immediately in order to test their effectiveness and make improvements if necessary. 

This makes action research particularly useful for organizations that need quick answers but also have limited resources available for conducting more traditional types of research. 

Benefits of Action Research for Business Strategy 

Action research can provide numerous benefits for businesses when it comes to their strategic planning processes. For example, action research can help businesses better understand customer needs, identify areas where they may need improvement, test out new products or services quickly and efficiently, and make informed decisions about future plans or goals. 

Additionally, action research can provide valuable insight into competitor behavior so that businesses can stay ahead of market trends with minimal effort and cost. Finally, by collecting real-time data from customers and other stakeholders through surveys or interviews, companies can gain valuable feedback that can further inform their decision making processes regarding product development or marketing strategies.  

Historical Research In Business Strategy

Historical research can provide valuable insight into how businesses have grown, evolved, and adapted to changes over time. By studying the strategies used by successful companies in the past, we can gain a better understanding of how to effectively apply modern business strategies today.

Benefits of Historical Research 

One of the major benefits of researching historical business strategies is that it can provide insights into which strategies have been effective in different economic conditions and at different points in time. 

This can help us understand what works in a particular industry or sector and what does not work so well. By understanding these trends, businesses can make more informed decisions about their current strategy and plan for future growth. 

Additionally, researching historical data can help organizations identify patterns that could inform their decision-making processes moving forward. For example, if a certain type of market trend has occurred multiple times throughout history, companies may be able to use this information to anticipate when similar conditions might occur again in the future. 

Challenges of Historical Research 

Despite its potential benefits, there are some challenges associated with relying on historical data when developing a business strategy. One issue is that our understanding of past events may be limited due to incomplete or inaccurate records or reports from the time period being studied. 

Another challenge is that there may be too much data available, making it difficult to determine which pieces are most relevant or important for our analysis. Additionally, many business strategies depend on external factors such as consumer preferences or economic conditions that are constantly changing, so even if an organization is able to successfully identify a pattern from previous periods of history, there is no guarantee that those same results will be achieved in today’s environment. 

Finally, historical research often takes significant time and resources to complete properly—which means it may not always be feasible for some businesses depending on their size or budget constraints. 

Comparative Research In Business Strategy

Comparative research is a popular method that businesses use to analyze their competitors. It provides insights on how to optimize their own strategies and ensure their business remains competitive in the market. 

By understanding the current trends, capabilities, and strategies of other businesses in your industry, you can build an effective strategy for success.

What is Comparative Research? 

Comparative research is a technique used to compare and evaluate different companies or products. It involves gathering data about the various elements of each company or product and then analyzing that data to understand how they differ from one another. 

The goal of comparative research is to identify any key differences between your competitors and use those insights to inform your own business’s strategy. 

Benefits of Comparative Research 

By performing comparative research, you can better understand what sets your business apart from competitors in terms of pricing, product selection, customer service, etc., which will give you an advantage over them when it comes time for customers to make purchasing decisions. 

Additionally, by understanding your competition’s strengths and weaknesses, you can develop a more targeted marketing strategy that takes into account their weaknesses as well as yours. This will allow you to tailor your message and put more focus on what makes your business unique rather than blindly competing head-to-head with them on all fronts. 

Additionally, comparative research can help you identify potential areas for collaboration with other businesses if there are certain areas where both parties could benefit from working together instead of trying to go it alone. 

Content Analysis In Business Strategy Research

Content analysis is a research method used to evaluate the content of written, visual, or audio material. It is a quantitative approach that relies on coding and analysis of data from large amounts of text or other material. 

This technique is useful for business strategy research because it allows us to extract meaning from vast amounts of documents without having to read them in their entirety.

The Benefits of Content Analysis 

Content analysis has many benefits when it comes to business strategy research. First and foremost, it is a fast and efficient way to gather data from large sets of documents. This allows researchers to quickly identify patterns and trends in the material they are analyzing, which can then be used to inform their business strategies. 

Additionally, content analysis offers the ability to compare multiple sources simultaneously, allowing researchers to gain insight into how different organizations approach similar issues or challenges. 

Content Analysis Process 

Content analysis is usually done by coding the text or other source materials into categories that are relevant for the researcher’s study. For example, if a researcher is interested in understanding how organizations use social media for marketing purposes, they might code all mentions of “social media” as one category and all mentions of “marketing” as another category. 

Once these categories are established, the researcher can begin counting how often each term appears in the documents they have studied. This count can then be used to draw conclusions about how often certain topics are mentioned in relation to others within the same context. 

Using Content Analysis Results 

Once the data has been collected through content analysis, it can then be used by researchers to inform their business strategies. For example, if a researcher has found that certain topics appear more often than others within their source materials, they may decide that those topics should be emphasized more heavily when creating their own marketing strategies or policies. 

Additionally, researchers may also use content analysis results as evidence when making decisions about future investments or changes in organizational structure. 

Statistical Analysis In Business Strategy Research

Utilizing statistical analysis in business strategy research can be a powerful tool to gain insight into the success of various strategies. 

Statistical analysis provides an objective, quantitative approach to evaluating data and information, which can help business owners make better decisions about their companies.

Statistical Analysis Improves Decision Making 

When it comes to making decisions about your company’s future, having access to accurate data is invaluable. By collecting data and analyzing it using statistical methods, you can make informed decisions that are based on facts rather than intuition or guesswork. 

Statistical analysis also allows you to look at trends over time and evaluate the impact of different strategies or events on your bottom line. This can provide valuable insight into what has been working for your business and what needs improvement. 

Statistical Analysis Enhances Understanding of Business Strategies 

Statistical analysis provides a way for businesses to measure the effectiveness of their strategies over time and compare them against competitors’ strategies. By looking at how different strategies have performed historically, businesses can develop more effective strategies going forward. 

Furthermore, by studying the performance of different strategies in different markets or situations, businesses can identify areas where they may need additional resources or focus in order to achieve greater success. 

Finally, statistical analysis enables businesses to study customer behavior and preferences so they can tailor their products and services accordingly. 

Simulation In Business Strategy Research

Simulation has become a popular tool for business strategy research. As an analytical method, simulation allows researchers to study the behavior of complex systems through experimentation and analysis. 

In particular, simulation can be used to analyze how decision makers interact with each other and how their decisions affect the outcome of the system as a whole.

Simulation Techniques 

Simulation techniques are used to model the behavior of complex systems. For example, a business might use simulation to model customer behavior or market conditions. The goal of using simulation is to gain insights into how different factors may impact the system as a whole. This can be done by running simulations based on different scenarios or inputs and then comparing the results. 

The most common approach to simulating business strategies is agent-based modeling (ABM). ABM involves creating virtual agents that represent entities in the system, such as customers or suppliers. 

These virtual agents are then programmed to interact with each other according to certain rules that govern their behavior. The results of these interactions can then be analyzed and interpreted to gain insights into how different factors may influence overall system performance. 

Benefits Of Using Simulation 

Using simulation for business strategy research has several key advantages over traditional methods such as surveys or interviews. First, it allows researchers to observe how different elements interact with each other in a controlled environment without having to rely on real-world data that may be incomplete or unreliable. 

Additionally, because simulations can be run multiple times with different scenarios, it makes it easier for researchers to identify trends over time and draw conclusions about potential outcomes under various conditions. 

Finally, simulations also provide researchers with greater flexibility when designing experiments; they can adjust parameters or modify rules at any time without needing additional resources or manpower. 

Delphi Method In Business Strategy Research

The Delphi Method is a structured approach to research that is used to gather opinions, information, and insights from experts. It is a collaborative method of obtaining data by asking questions and combining the responses of multiple experts in order to reach consensus on a particular topic or area of interest. 

This method has become increasingly popular for business strategy research due to its ability to quickly obtain accurate data from groups of experts. 

How the Delphi Method Works 

The process begins with the selection of experts who possess relevant knowledge about the topic under investigation. These experts are then asked a series of questions in order to collect data. 

They are asked to provide their responses anonymously and independently; this encourages them to provide honest and unbiased opinions without fear of criticism or reprimand. Once they have provided their input, the responses are collated and presented back to the participants for further discussion and debate. Through this iterative process, consensus can be achieved on key issues or topics related to business strategy research. 

Advantages of the Delphi Method 

The Delphi Method offers several advantages over other forms of research methods when it comes to business strategy research. Firstly, it allows researchers to collect data quickly and efficiently due to its iterative nature. 

Secondly, it provides anonymity which encourages participants to provide honest feedback without fear of repercussions or criticism. Thirdly, it is an effective way for researchers to reach consensus on complex topics within a short period of time. 

Finally, it enables researchers to gain insights into areas where there may be limited access or resources available. 

System Dynamics In Business Strategy Research

System dynamics is a field of business strategy research that has been around for many years. This field of research focuses on the analysis and development of dynamic models in order to better understand the behavior of complex systems. 

With this knowledge, researchers can develop effective strategies for managing these systems over time.

What Is System Dynamics? 

System dynamics is a field of study that uses modeling techniques to analyze complex systems such as those found in business operations. It is used to understand how various elements interact with each other and how changes in one element can influence the others in the system. 

For example, if an organization has an increase in customer demand, they may need to increase their production capacity or find new suppliers who can provide them with additional resources to meet the increased demand. 

System dynamics models also help organizations better understand how their decisions have consequences over time. By understanding these consequences, they can make informed decisions that will benefit both the short-term and long-term performance of their organization. 

This helps them develop more effective strategies for success in different areas such as marketing, finance, operations, and human resources.  

Application of System Dynamics 

System dynamics is used by many organizations when developing their business strategies. The models developed using system dynamics allow managers to identify potential opportunities or threats that could arise from certain decisions or actions taken by an organization. 

For example, if a company increases its advertising budget, they may be able to attract more customers but this could also lead to higher costs due to increased competition from competitors who are also spending more on advertising. 

By analyzing the potential implications of such decisions using system dynamics models, managers can make sure that any changes made are beneficial for their organization’s long-term performance. 


Business strategy research methods are often varied and complex. While traditional methodologies such as action research and historical research remain relevant and widely used, some businesses achieve better results by using statistical analysis, content analysis, Delphi Method, systems dynamics, simulations, or even comparative research. It’s all about making sure that your business strategy is up-to-date with the newest industry trends and requirements in order to stay competitive in the market today. 

Additionally, focus groups can also provide deeper insight into a business’s current situation and help identify emerging opportunities or strengths that have been previously undiscovered. 

Ultimately, it goes without saying that effective business strategy necessitates an inquisitive approach complete with formulating strong hypotheses and a diversity of different research strategies implemented to the fullest extent possible.


Was this article helpful?

Wasim Jabbar

Hi, I'm Wasim. Startup founder and proud dad of two sons. I've built startups for 15 years and decided to use this blog to share my management and marketing insights with you.

Recent Posts