Topline or Comprehensive Market Research Report: What’s the Difference?

Wondering the difference between a topline and a comprehensive market research report? Our market research company has your back! 

The main differences stem from the level of detail and the speed of executing the report. Ultimately, both can be developed to look polished and presentation-ready. 

With both a full comprehensive and a topline report, there is also an option to debrief after the market research is conducted. Drive Research typically schedules this debrief meeting via a conference call or a video chat.

In this blog post, our market research company will define the differences between a topline and a comprehensive market research report. This will help your team understand what level of reporting you would like to obtain after the study is completed.

Topline or Comprehensive Market Research Report: What’s the Difference?


What is a topline market research report?

A topline report may come in the form of a Word or a PDF document. These documents highlight the most important details and insights from qualitative or quantitative research studies.

This approach to reporting often includes the background and methodology of the study as well as featured key findings. 

Typically, these reports are between 1 and 4 pages in length and take 1 to 3 days to complete. This is an estimation based on our market research firm, but may be different depending on the third-party vendor you select.

Sections in a topline report include:

  1. Objectives of the study. What was your team hoping to achieve or learn from the results of a market research study?
  2. Approach/methodology. Depending on the objectives, a research firm will provide a recommendation for the best approach and methodology. Common methodologies include online surveys, focus groups, customer surveys, and employee surveys.
  3. Key findings. Rather than breaking down every answer to every question, a topline report will share a high-level summary of the most actionable findings from the research.

It should be noted, these reports typically do not contain an appendix. In place of an appendix, these reports include an online portal to the question by question results and/or the raw survey data in an Excel spreadsheet.

A topline report is great for organizations who are only interested in quickly learning the most important findings from a study.

It is also a solid option for those who are conducting research on a tight budget as it can help lower costs.


What is a comprehensive market research report?

A comprehensive market research report usually comes in the form of a PDF document. These documents provide all of the nitty-gritty details from the study. 

Typically, these reports are between 50 and 200 pages in length and take 1 to 3 weeks to complete. Again, these projections are just the industry average and may be refined based on a client’s unique needs.

A full market research report typically consists of an executive summary of key themes, recommendations, and action items, an infographic (one-page graphical summary), and an appendix of question-by-question results. 

Additionally, several cross-tabulations are also included in the full report. This means the data can be broken down by age, gender, income level, and other key demographics

Sections in a comprehensive market research report include:

  1. Objectives of the study
  2. Approach/methodology
  3. Infographic
  4. Snapshot of results/KPI tracker
  5. Key findings and recommendations
  6. Respondent persona(s)
  7. Next steps for market research
  8. Survey analysis
  9. Copy of survey document

The main benefit of a comprehensive market research report is the depth of knowledge at your fingertips.

This style of reporting can be leveraged to drive marketing and business initiatives or repurposed as content for websites, webinars, and sales materials. 


Contact Drive Research

Drive Research is a full-service market research company located in Upstate New York. Our team has helped clients from across the globe use exclusive findings to fuel business, sales, and marketing strategies. 

Interested in learning more about our market research services? Reach out through any of the four ways below.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at info@driveresearch.com
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

emily taylor about the author

Emily Taylor

As a Senior Research Analyst, Emily is approaching a decade of experience in the market research industry and loves to challenge the status quo. She is a certified VoC professional with a passion for storytelling.

Learn more about Emily, here.


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