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Can the research supplier guarantee that all discussions, materials, and findings will be held in confidence?
Should the research supplier be available to make presentations to interested parties in your organization?
By what date will you require the findings of the research?
Quotas might be established by region, household size, purchasing patterns, customer status (such as past, present, prospective), public vs. Invariably, when surveying customers and prospective customers, you must obtain a list of relevant firms or people from which to sample.
The lists may be derived from professional association directories, area phone directories, lists arranged by SIC code, purchased mailing lists, lists already assembled by you, etc.
This may involve extra typing costs, but will provide dramatic insight into the respondents' state of mind.
You may wish to request an example of raw data output to evaluate its readability and usefulness to management.
Relevant references provide the most valuable input in evaluating any professional service, including market research firms.
Request references not only for the firm, but for the individuals to be working on your project.
A good research proposal submitted to you should cover, in detail, a number of elements; if specific enough, it can serve as the body of the Agreement for Services.
If you're writing a request for proposal (RFP) for research, the more elements you request be covered in a proposal, the more likely you'll be able to compare apples and apples when reviewing proposals.