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      How To Use Research Effectively In Your Bids

      How To Use Research Effectively In Your Bids


      Learning to use research effectively in your bids is essential for formulating an evidence-based argument that will persuade the buyer to choose your proposal ahead of your competitors.

      Without solid evidence, your claims will appear baseless – and as a result, the buyer may not trust your company to deliver on its promises. This can cause them to disregard your bid entirely.

      There are many different types of evidence that you can use in your bids, and some are more valid than others. In this article, we will address the different types of research that can be used in bid proposals, outline which are considered the strongest types of evidence, and discuss how to best use them in your bids.


      Types Of Data

      Two main types of data can be obtained through research. These include:

      • Quantitative – Quantitative data is measurable and quantifiable. For example, any data that is measured numerically.
      • Qualitative – Qualitative data is represented non-numerically. For example, information gathered in interviews.


      Understanding Validity, Reliability, And Generalisability

      Choosing high-quality research will help you develop a compelling argument in favour of your services. The quality of research is typically analysed using the criteria of validity, reliability, and generalisability.

      These three criteria are defined as follows:

      • Validity – Validity refers to how accurately the study measures its results; this may include ensuring that the correct methods are used to gather evidence, and that the population you are researching is clearly defined – for example, it could be a survey of 10 community hospitals in the North London area.
      • Reliability – Reliability is defined as how consistent the results are across the sample. If you have an ‘outlier’, for instance – or a result which is significantly outside the general trend – this may indicate that your research is not reliable.
      • Generalisability – Generalisability refers to whether your results apply to the wider population, instead of just the sample being studied.


      Research Methods

      There is a wide range of research methods that you can use to obtain different types of data. This includes questionnaires, interviews, focus groups, pilot studies, existing reports and statistics, mapping exercises, and letters of support.

      You should choose research methods that are appropriate for the data you are aiming to obtain. For example, statistics can be used for quantitative data, whereas qualitative data can be obtained through an interview or a focus group.


      The Types Of Evidence

      • Empirical Evidence – Empirical evidence is the strongest type of evidence. It is obtained in a controlled scientific setting, through observation, and with measuring instruments or methods that are highly accurate.
      • Evidentiary Evidence – Evidentiary evidence is obtained from a third party which has no personal interest in the results – like for example, a third-party organisation or regulatory body. This is considered strong evidence.
      • Institutional Evidence – Institutional evidence is evidence that has been gathered by your organisation. This means you have a personal interest in the results, which can cause them to be biased. As such, this is considered less strong evidence than empirical or evidentiary evidence.
      • Anecdotal Evidence – Anecdotal evidence is weaker than empirical, evidentiary, or institutional evidence, as it is usually obtained from a third party, of which you do not know the research methods.
      • Truisms – Truisms are statements that are generally accepted to be true, but not supported by solid evidence. This is the weakest form of evidence.


      First-Party Or Third-Party?

      You should use both first-party and third-party evidence in your bid proposals. These will have different functions in your proposal.

      • First-party evidence – First-party evidence is evidence that you have personally gathered through research. It demonstrates that your company has conducted its own research into your field and allows you to explore specific questions that you may have about your own service – like for instance, your average customer satisfaction rating. First-party evidence is generally institutional or anecdotal evidence.
      • Third-party evidence – Third-party evidence is evidence that has been obtained from a third-party organisation such as a trade association or regulatory body. This is generally empirical or evidential evidence.


      Is The Evidence Relevant?

      You should check that the evidence you are using in your bid is relevant to the subject at hand. This can include making sure that the date, location, and population being studied as part of the evidence are all appropriate to the bid proposal you’re writing.

      For example, a study conducted before 1990 is unlikely to be relevant in 2024. Likewise, a study of people aged 50+ is unlikely to reflect the views of 20-30 year olds.


      How To Use Evidence

      For each piece of evidence you use in your bid, you should clearly introduce the study, outline the evidence, explain the findings, and then use these findings to support the point you are making.

      This will help your readers to quickly and easily interpret the statistics being presented, while ensuring that the arguments you make in your bid will be as persuasive as possible.


      Want our experts to help you create better bids that will win you more work? Get in touch!

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