Characteristics of  Research
1. Research begins with a problem in the form of a question in the mind of the researcher.

2. Research demands the identification of a problem, stated in clear, unambiguous terms.

3.  Research requires a plan.

4. Research deals with the main problem through appropriate sub-problems.

5. Research seeks direction through appropriate hypotheses and is based upon obvious assumptions.

6. Research deals with facts and their meaning.

7. Research is circular.

When Research is Needed?

A manager faced with two or more possible courses of action faces the initial decision of whether or not research should be conducted. The determination of the need for research centers on –

Time constraints
Conducting research systematically takes time. In many instances management concludes that, because a decision must be made immediately, there will be no time for Research.

Availability of data
Often managers already possess enough information to make sound decisions with business research. When they lack adequate information, however, research must be considered. Managers must ask themselves if the research will provide the information needed to answer the basic questions about a decision. Furthermore, if a potential source of data exists, managers will want to know how much it will cost to obtain the data.

Nature of the decision
The value of research will depend on the nature of the managerial decision to be made. A routine tactical decision that does not require a substantial investment may not seem to warrant a substantial expenditure for research. For example, a computer company must update its operator’s instruction manual when it makes minor product modifications. The research cost of determining the proper wording to use in updating the manual is likely to be too high for such a minor decision.

Benefits versus costs
Some of the managerial benefits of research have already been discussed. Of course, conducting research activities to obtain these benefits requires an expenditure; thus, there are both costs and benefits in conducting research. In any decision-making situation, managers must identify alternative courses of action, that weight the value of each alternative against its cost. It is useful to think of research as an investment alternative.