Abstract For the purpose of the class “Research Methods/Market Research”, students are asked to study two independent articles, arbitrary selected by them and deliver the risks and limitations faced in each case, during a market research conducted for the benefit of the articles.The articles used for this assignment and which will both be introduced below are “The challenges of market research in emerging markets: A practitioner perspective from Sub-Saharan Africa” and “European Survey of Prescriber Understanding of Risks Associated with Retigabine”.At first, both articles will be presented, their purpose, their objectives and context. Following there will be how each group did initiate their researches, which methods each case used to conduct their research, their samples and how they chose it. Finally, each articles’ results will be examined and will focus on by which limitations and risks suffered each case and why. At the end conclusions exposed to students critical thinking will be displayed, followed by the conclusions of each case separately.The aim of this assignment is to be able to locate and understand the possible risks that might come up during a research, how to avoid the problems that occurs through these risks, how can they be fixed or how to handle the results of a research which we acknowledge its issues from the beginning. IntroductionInitially the first case examines the rise of emerging markets and the growing interest in Africa and more specifically in SSA. The purpose of this research is to identify the risks and challenges that market researchers might encounter in the less developed countries of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and how organisations can approach research in this increasingly emerging market. The study may also make the training of research executives easier, or even educate clients, by helping them to more fully appreciate the complexities of SSA. Emerging market consumer research is frequently complicated than that in developed countries and as this paper indicates there are much fewer available studies on emerging market consumer research, for organisations to use in order to guide their research in such environments.This paper is indeed a guide, by exploring the challenges of conducting market research with SSA consumers from the professional’s standpoint, helps out companies interested on developing their services and practices in such markets.This first case identifies challenges facing those researching African consumers, which relate to the region’s unique micro and macro environmental conditions. The challenges are categorised in terms of political and economic, legislative, environmental, socio-cultural and infrastructure, as well as significant client and research resourcing issues and provides a checklist of the factors that need to be considered during the research process.The second article examined below is about a research conducted concerning the understanding of risks associated with the use of a drug called “retigabine”. Through this research they are trying to assess physicians’ knowledge regarding the risks connected with the use of this antiepileptic drug. This article is about a more straight forward research aiming to the awareness of physicians who had prescribed this specific medicine at least once within the last three months and if they did understood the risks of using this drug.Literature ReviewResearch QuestionIn order to examine properly these two articles we need to see first what led the researchers to carry out these investigations, what was the problem they faced and needed to solve through these researches?First, we shall consider the article about the research in emerging markets. Since the developing economies have to offer great potentials and growth, businesses need to be aware of the clients and their requests. So, similar SSA is considered as an emerging market which has been proved to provide solid economic growth to businesses expanding their practises there. Beside the fact that there are very few data available from researches, the problem is that the size of research revenues in Africa is not economical for any business. So, they needed to use practitioners who were willing to coordinate projects across Africa. Practitioners were the only people who knew the customers better than anyone and could provide help and extensive knowledge on the market. Ergo the objective of this research was to identify the risks and challenges of a practitioner operating in emerging markets like SSA and this is their research question.Further, the second article concerns the risks of prescribing the drug “retigabine”. They initiated their research when they identified that the specific medicine, even though was used for anti-epileptic seizures purposes for people who suffered from drug-resistant seizures, had an increased risk of several side effects like urinary retention, confusional state, psychotic disorders and others. After identifying the high risks they needed to search on the level of understanding of the prescribers of the significant risks, since they all received an educational letter regarding the drug and how effective was the plan. Thus, their research question was to evaluate the effectiveness of the educational plan of retigabine medicine, as specified in the European Management Plan. MethodOn the first case, in order to support the study they needed the participation of industry practitioners, whose commitment and cooperation was imperative and was obtained after they explained them the benefits of this research’s conclusions and were all actively involved in the design and planning of this research.In this case they adopted a four stage qualitative research of each stage the qualitative data were analysed and sorted using various methods and into several categories. In total of four stages, 49 practitioners participated in the study, all employed by key players in the industry operating in the region. Qualitative research is appropriate for smaller target populations and is particularly suited to researching management. Furthermore qualitative studies are often criticised in relation to subjectivity, though an interpretivist research paradigm is best for investigating a complex subject such as practitioners’ views on SSAs research challenges and is useful for building models based upon actual experiences.On the first phase, “the preliminary survey of research agency senior executives”, were CEOs and regional managers participated were informed that they would respond to open ended questions and it would be best to provide as much information as possible. From this phase, they identified the key challenges for market research in Africa.Phase two of this research, “Follow up in-depth interviews discussing the key challenges identified in phase one”, was first to present the findings from phase one and then discuss about them by providing even greater insights regarding the problematic areas and express personal experiences.Following, the third phase “Initial conceptual model presentation and development at a practitioner workshop”. To test out the conceptual model with a wider practitioner audience they presented it at a workshop held where market research practitioners from the same companies participated, in addition to more senior managers, other research managers, account executives and field managers. Here participants were divided into small groups and encouraged to discuss about the challenges they faced. On phase four, “Conceptual model revamp and tweaking through email discussion with practitioners”, the revised conceptual model was sent to the participants of phase two via email and were asked again to elaborate on the revised model and challenge its validity. As a result of this phase, responders informed that the model described adequately the key challenges faced by the practitioners in Africa.On the other hand, research conducted for the second article was a cross-sectional survey of physicians from seven European countries, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK, who had prescribed an antiepileptic drug at least once within the past 3 months, and to whom an educational letter containing the retigabine’s guide was sent. The survey included multiple-choice and closed-ended questions.The survey aimed to recruit a random sample of 300 physicians of whom 100 neurologists from Germany and 200 across the remaining countries. Just before the start of the survey, retigabine became unavailable in Germany for new patients, therefore only neurologists who had patients being treated with retigabine in November 2012 participated.Research’s participants, neurologists, who all had received the educational letter, were self-selected since respondents voluntarily responded to the invitation to participate. However, the survey recruitment strategies were intended to recruit a heterogeneous sample of prescribers. Furthermore, a subgroup referred to as ‘epileptologists’ who were known to be the specialists who first initiated prescriptions of a new ante-epileptic medicine were the primary target of this survey. Participants were invited by email or mail to this survey, first with a request to complete a survey and then with the survey instrument. The survey used a questionnaire comprising multiple-choice and closed-ended questions. Results On the first case, the key challenges facing SSA’s research practitioners fall into the broad themes of political and economic, legislative, socio-cultural, environmental, infrastructure, client related and research resources. While presented many of the issues are closely interrelated.Research challenges in Africa stem from the fact that many SSA countries are under political instability, seasonality and high climate changes along with low infrastructure and accessibility problems are some other challenges. Also, the variation and inconsistencies in legislation, so as the extreme country divisions from poor and low literate to high income and high level of education, are some of the results of the survey as challenges faced while researching in Africa. On the second case, the primary outcome was the proportion of neurologists correctly answering each question related to understanding of the risks associated with retigabine. Outcomes and respondent characteristics were summarized in three ways: – For all seven countries combined, – Separately for Germany- For six countries combined excluding Germany. All other analyses were performed for respondents combined from all seven countries. A subgroup analysis of prescribers who had ever prescribed retigabine versus those who had not, was performed for questions related to retigabine risks and respondent characteristics. Subgroup analysis of respondents who reported reading the retigabine education letter was performed only for questions about retigabine risks.The majority of participants understood that retigabine is approved for use in partial-onset seizures and recalled that it may be prescribed only for patients aged 18 years or older. Compared with all physicians who completed the survey, prescribers understood the prescribing information and recalled the risks, urinary, and cardiac effects associated with the specific drug. Slightly higher percentages of the medicine prescribers understood the prescribing information and recalled the risks associated with retigabine when compared with all physicians who completed the survey. Overall, physicians had adequate knowledge of the indication for retigabine use, but weaker recall of dose-related information and management of specific risks.Conclusions Implications for the research process of the first case are discussed here, one can be considered that the market research in SSA is fundamentally different to other parts of the world, since over 90% of consumer survey research is conducted face-to-face using pen and paper. Experienced researchers from developed countries are usually more familiar with online and computer assisted telephone interviewing. This is not always feasible in Africa. Furthermore, standardized approaches will not work in this case and need to be customized and adapted to the local market. This will also happen when referring to retail channels since in Africa there are also the street vendors and the informal stores. The financial cost of conducting research in SSA is another issue. While labour costs are indeed lower in much of SSA, conducting face-to-face interviews is still generally more expensive than online or telephone interviewing, which are the dominant modes of data collection in the West. The numerous challenges also mean that there is greater risk of projects going over budget due to unforeseen circumstances. While certain aspects can be planned for, others can be totally unpredictable. Each country and especially developing economies like Africa need to be handled with caution and even though they can be seen as potential markets for one to develop, they need to be treated carefully and first to be studied. Customer varies from country to country and cannot be seen as clients of a global market, but as individuals with special characteristics and particular way of thinking and buying. Researchers in this case handled the situation with the most correct way possible, by using as participants, not only as responders, people directly connected to the area researched. They actively involved practitioners throughout the whole process of research, in order to gain as much information as possible from their knowledge and expertise on the field.On the second case, which was a voluntary survey in which the respondents were self-selected, the sample, although random, may not be representative of all physicians who prescribe retigabine. The survey focused on the risks described for retigabine in the educational letter sent by email or mail to the prescribers, although this is not the only source of information about risks associated with medication use. While taking the survey, responders were allowed to refer to educational materials, which could have introduced a possible bias in the prior understanding of risks associated with retigabine. However, it was purposely not indicated which materials could be referenced to find the responses. Additionally, subsequent to data collection, retigabine was withdrawn in Germany. Therefore, the survey results may not represent the current prescribing population, as approximately one-third of respondents were practicing in Germany.Furthermore, conflicts of interest existed during this research was conducted since the one of the researchers, was an employee and shareholder in GSK at the time of the study. The second researcher is now an employee and shareholder of GSK and also the third was an employee of GSK as European Medical Advisor at the time of the survey. GSK is GlaxoSmithKline pharmaceutical company that research and develops a broad range of products including Trobalt an anti-epileptic medicine.