Research: Tips to Building Knowledge in your Firm

Posted by Kristen Greer
April 12, 2024

Research can be intimidating, even for seasoned communication professionals in legal, marketing, and professional service fields. To make the process more manageable, think of research as a construction project—you are building a house of knowledge for any of the projects you undertake, such as client surveys, awards, Chambers submissions, speaking engagements, website content and more. Here’s a closer look at the steps you should take in the research process.

Blueprint Your Build

As the saying goes for writing, so does it for research: “It’s not ever done; it’s due.” Whether in research or building a dream home, one must be aware of the parameters needed. Consider what the “ask” is, what you are trying to learn, what the known components of the project are and if there is a hard deadline.

For example, when conducting a client survey, you should meet with your leadership team to ensure that the questions they ask are addressed in the survey.

Lay your foundation

Start with what you know by addressing the direct asks mentioned in your blueprint, whether by your client or boss. Review what may need to be changed from past examples and templates to address the new projects’ requirements.

In the same client survey above, this step would include creating the actual survey and outreach timeline and setting the expectations for responses, such as participation thresholds to consider.


Follow the specifications in your blueprints, especially when it comes to deadlines and billing thresholds. However, it is important to remain flexible, so you can follow the information where it takes you. In this part of the research process, remember to be curious. Question sources and perspectives, because not all “contractors” are equally reputable. Also, always take good notes.

Our aforementioned client survey will be sent in this phase. Responses should be monitored to ensure you’re receiving the type of information needed.


Once you’ve completed your part of the research process, hand off your deliverables early or on time. In addition to the full research, create a summary of what you’ve learned. While you’ve undoubtedly collected a great deal of new and interesting information, the client or “inspector” may not need or want to see all of those details. Remain open to “constructive” – see what we did there? – feedback from the client, your boss and others involved in the research project. This may also be a good time to share your notes to support your summary.

Once clients have had ample time to respond to their client survey, the findings should be aggregated and analyzed. A summary of the findings should be presented to the firm’s leadership team and project stakeholders.

Continue upkeep

Research is an ongoing process. After you’ve finished and submitted the first round of information, be sure to monitor for new details and refresh the project as you are able. But in the meantime, enjoy the “home sweet home” you’ve created and the knowledge you’ve gained.

As part of Poston Communications’ “communications counsel” axiom, qualitative and quantitative research is present throughout all of our work. We welcome the opportunity to help you shape, survey, summarize and share bespoke reports and information. Our Poston team includes experts in survey formation, interviews and whitepaper writing. Our experience and interest in learning more allow us to best serve you.

The client survey responses shouldn’t just be an academic exercise. Use what you’ve learned to implement improvements to your client service. Continue to communicate feedback, keeping notes for future client survey questions, for example.