University of Georgia: John Burnett's "Core Concepts of Marketing, Chapter 3: Marketing Research: An Aid to Decision Making"

Read this chapter. The American Marketing Association defines marketing research this way: "Marketing research is the function that links the consumer, customer, and public to the marketer through information--information used to identify and define marketing opportunities and problems; generate, refine, and evaluate marketing actions; monitor marketing performance; and improve understanding of marketing as a process. Marketing research specifies the information required to address these issues, designs the methods for collecting information, manages and implements the data collection process, and analyzes and communicates the findings and their implications."