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Marketing & Marketing Research: Create a Plan

Keywords or Thesaurus Terms

Marketing research is usually categorized into primary or secondary research. Primary research is conducted directly by a company or individual gathering data using survey research or proprietary information. Secondary research uses data collected by others.

  • When conducting secondary market research, we are like detectives trying to combine the right terms in the right place to find the information we need. With full text search capabilities in many databases and search engines such as Google, retrieval can be a fun and creative process. Sometimes it is best to use your common sense and search using a two or three word phrase or even a single word, depending on the concept.
  • Topics in marketing often relate to the 4 P's (product, price, place, promotion) or the 4 C's (customer, cost, convenience, communication). A database search for marketing-related articles could be constructed by combining those words or the concepts they represent.  For example a search could use a word like "automobile" (product) or even a specific type of automobile (product), such as "hybrids" and combining it with a word like "customer" or demographics."
  • When searching for articles related to marketing research, some words such as "marketing segmentation," "marketing plan," "market analysis," or "market share" might be used to search.
  •  For data collected by others, some resources include databases such as iPOLL; ICPSR, (Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research), and SimplyMap. For more information about these resources, click on the Tab for "Marketing Data Sources."



Choose Thesaurus Terms

A subject thesaurus contains controlled vocabulary which can guide you to appropriate subject words or phrases, as well as refer you to broader or narrower words or phrases that will either encompass your word or phrase or be more specific than your word or phrase.

For Example:  Using Business Source Complete's Thesaurus (from that database's toolbar):

The concept "CUSTOMER preferences" suggests to instead:  Use CONSUMERS' preferences 

Once you have a word or phrase that has been recommended by the thesarus of a particular database, use that and if possible, limit the search to the Subject or Descriptor Field for best results.

Sometimes, limiting a search to the Title Field will also improve search results.


Refine and Improve Search Results

Getting Too Many Irrelevant Results?

  • Add more search terms. For example, in the database Business Source Complete, if you type "health care" in the first search box, you may get thousands of articles. By adding another concept in the 2nd search box, such as "marketing" or "costs," your results will be more focused. 
  • Don't spend a lot of time going through a huge number of articles.  It is better to refine your search. For example, you can specify that you want the words in the search boxes to be found in a specific "field" such as the title field or the subject field. This usually reduces the number and improves the quality of your results.

      Getting Too Few Relevant Results?

  • Change or remove some search terms.
  • Increase the "places" or fields searched to the default or to "full text."

Concept Map

A concept map is a graphical tool used to organize and structure knowledge.


How to Use a Concept Map

Created by Katherine Miller and Tom Childs for Douglas College Library. Creative Commons license Share Alike.

Boolean Searching

Created by Douglas College Library staff. Creative Commons license Share Alike.