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Business Research Requests and Proposals

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1 Business Research Requests and Proposals
Chapter 4 Business Research Requests and Proposals This chapter explains the process of soliciting research proposals using RFPs, the format of the resulting proposals, and the evaluation of the proposals.

2 Learning Objectives The purpose of the request for proposal and the research proposal; how each is used The variations on each and their contents The processes for evaluating the quality of proposals

3 Exhibit 4-1 The Research Proposal Process
The proposal process in business research uses two primary documents: the request for proposal (RFP) and the research proposal. The RFP is the formal document issued by a corporate business research department, a decision maker, or some other sponsor to solicit services from research suppliers. It invites qualified suppliers to submit a proposal in accordance with a specific, detailed format delivered by a deadline. Internal research proposal process is often far less formalized.

4 Exhibit 4-1 The Research Proposal Process: Using a Research Supplier
The proposal process in business research uses two primary documents: the request for proposal (RFP) is used when the firm has neither the time nor the expertise to do the research itself. This half of Exhibit 4-1 is designed so that you may focus on only the external RFP process. A complete RFP is included in the text as Appendix 4a.

5 Benefits of the RFP RFPs Formalize research procurement process
Provide control function Provide evaluation opportunity RFPs RFPs provide several benefits. The benefit to the sponsoring organization is an opportunity to formalize the process of documenting, justifying, and authorizing the procurement of research. RFPs also provide a chance to evaluate different solutions and offer the means of establishing, monitoring, and controlling the performance of the winning supplier. Provide monitoring device Establish performance expectations

6 Unethical Uses of RFPs Help sponsor plan project budget
Gather cost estimates and design ideas for in-house projects Create impression of competitive bid for sole-source project RFPs should not be used for any of the reasons named in this slide.

7 Activities in the RFP Process
Qualify potential vendors Write and distribute RFP Answer supplier questions Evaluate submissions There are several objectives that must be accomplished during the RFP process. These are identified in the slide. Supplier questions can be addressed informally or as part of a prebidding conference. Critiquing the proposals for the suppliers who were not chosen for the project will help unsuccessful bidders become competitive in the future and maintain good will for future projects. Award contracts and start Provide critique to all suppliers

8 RFP Components Proposal administration information
Summary statement of problem Technical section Management section While the specific format for RFPs varies from organization to organization, the general components are the same. These are listed in the slide. The proposal administration section provides information on the administration of the project. It establishes the dates in the process, all requirements for preparing the proposal, and the evaluation process. It also provides all contact information. The summary statement section often takes the form of a letter introducing the organization and its research needs. The technical section describes the problem and the technical detail of each requirement. It describes the necessary services, equipment, software, and documentation. It includes a problem statement, description of functional requirements, and identification of constraints. The management section lists the schedule and any supplier qualifications. The types of contracts the supplier is expected to sign and any nondisclosure agreements are included in this section. Terms of payment and required benchmarks are also included in the contracts section. In the pricing section, a list of all anticipated activities are included. Contracts and license section Pricing section

9 Pricing Section Services Data collection Data analysis Client meetings
Travel Respondent survey incentives Mail costs Telephone costs Design meetings Facilities/ Equipment Pilot tests Report preparations Computer models Project management Questionnaire/ reproduction costs Labor Deliverables This is a list of items that might be detailed in the pricing section.

10 RFP Elements RFP Elements Instructions to bidders Cost proposal
Background While RFP formats vary widely, a typical format will contain the elements detailed in the slide. The background section includes an overview or profile of the buyer’s company, project overview, and project requirements. The vendor information section includes the company profile, history and description, legal summary, partnerships and alliances, and references. The cost proposal section includes services pricing, maintenance pricing, and contractual terms and conditions. Services and support Vendor information Proposed solution

11 Exhibit 4-2 Qualifying Research Suppliers
Research Supplier/ Staff Experience and industry status Code of ethical performance Skill and experience Project management Research skills Business knowledge Compatibility/ Desirability Supplier Facilities/ Procedures Project management system Contractual arrangements Complaint handling procedures Quality assurance Facilities Reporting procedures Exhibit 4-2 shows a checklist for qualifying research suppliers. The graph illustrates the relevant issues for the research supplier, the research supplier’s staff, and the research supplier’s facilities, procedures and quality management.

12 Exhibit 4-1: The Research Proposal Process: Doing the Project Internally
The proposal process in business research uses two primary documents: the request for proposal (RFP) and the research proposal. The internal research proposal is used when the firm has both the time and the expertise to do the appropriate research internally.

13 The Research Proposal Purpose Present management question Suggest data
collection and analysis Discuss research efforts A proposal is an individual’s or company’s offer to produce a product or render a service to a potential buyer or sponsor. This slide shows the purpose of the research proposal. Exhibit 4-3, on the next slide, illustrates the proposal development process. Propose necessary data

14 Exhibit 4-3 Proposal Development
In this slide, it is important to point out the iterative fashion in which a proposal is developed.

15 Exhibit 4-4 Proposal Complexity
Research proposals can be divided between those generated for internal and those for external audiences. An internal proposal is done by staff specialists or by the research department within the firm. External proposals may sponsored by university grant committees, government agencies, government contractors, not-for-profit organizations, or corporations . Generally, the larger the project, the more complex the proposal. These can be further classified: Solicited proposals Unsolicited proposals There are three levels of complexity: exploratory studies, small-scale studies, and large-scale studies. The exploratory study generates the most simple research proposal. The large-scale professional study is the most complex and could be worth up to several million dollars.

16 Structuring the Research Proposal
Executive Summary Problem Statement Research Objectives Literature Review Importance/ Benefits of Study Research Design Data Analysis Nature/Form Research Qualifications Budget Schedule Facilities Project Management Bibliography Appendices This is the list of modules that may be included in a research proposal. Exhibit 4-5, shown on the next slide, displays the set of modules and indicates which modules are generally present in different types of proposals.

17 Researcher Qualifications
Professional Research Competence Relevant Management Experience The section of the proposal that deals with the qualifications of researchers begins with information on the principal investigator (PI) and then provides similar information on all individuals involved with the project. The two elements critical in this section are the establishment of the professional research competence and the relevant management experience. Professional research competence is based on relevant research experience, the highest academic degree held, and memberships in business and technical societies.

18 Budgeting for Samples Scientific Telephone Samples (STS) provides random dial, listed, and business samples for telephone and online surveys

19 Exhibit 4-6 Sample Proposed Budget
This is a sample budget for a research proposal.

20 Exhibit 4-7 CPM Schedule The schedule section of the proposal should include the major phases of the project, their timetables, and the milestones that signify completion of a phase. It is helpful to chart a schedule. Some projects can use a Gantt chart, but large projects may require use of a CPM chart. The critical path method (CPM) is a scheduling tool for complex research proposals that cites milestones and time involved between milestones.

21 Look before you leap Source: Cooper R. D. & Schindler, S. P.
(2006). Business Research Methods 9e. McGraw.Hill

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