The research plan should provide for: (a) procedures for processing the data; (b) procedures for interpretation and analysis of the findings; and (c) an outline of the final report. In reaching these decisions, it is usually helpful to work from the form and content of the final report. The report should present a summary of findings and recommendations for management action drawn up in the light of the reasons for the research. The kinds of facts to be presented and the manner of their presentation dictates the type of analysis to be undertaken. The kinds of analysis will, in turn, often suggest the method of data processing. Data processing in general refers to the procedures for sorting, assembling, and reporting data. It can be done manually by the use of work sheets or by computer programming. The method of data processing has important bearing upon the manner in which the data are collected and reported. Thus, the design of the project is often expedited by a thorough consideration of the kinds of results that are expected and how they will be handled in the final report.
Anticipating the results of the project and preparing a "dummy" final report has another advantage. It is often helpful to use the results of this step in the research design to demonstrate to management the kind of project that is going to be undertaken. Agreement by the management group that the kinds of information anticipated will assist in the solving of a marketing problem is helpful in obtaining approval for the project and in restraining management expectations as to the scope and purpose of the project.