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Entrepreneurship: Getting Started: Market Validation

This guide supports UCI’s innovation and entrepreneurship community by connecting users to relevant resources used to conduct research throughout the entrepreneurial process.

Getting Started: Market Validation

Market validation is the process of determining whether or not an opportunity exists in the market for your product of service. This usually involves talking to potential customers to determine whether there is a need or want for your product or service. 

This is called primary research and there are important considerations to ensure this research is conducted effectively and ethically.

Entrepreneurship research requires both primary and secondary research. Start with secondary research - see what information is already available - then, use primary research to fill in the gaps and answer the questions you still have.

For secondary research datasets, see:

Key Terms

Primary research: research that you conduct yourself. It involves going out and talking to people, asking questions, gathering information or data, and analyzing it. For entrepreneurs, primary research usually involves things like surveys, interviews, or focus groups with potential customers.

Secondary research: research that has already been done by someone else. The information has been gathered, analyzed, packaged up into a report or some other format, and published in a way that makes it accessible to others. For entrepreneurs, secondary research usually involves identifying industry and market analysis reports from library databases, trade associations, government entities, or doing Google searches for this information.

Quantitative data: can be counted, measured, or numbered. Useful for statistical analysis and answering questions involving how much, how many, or how often.

Qualitative data: descriptive data about qualities, characteristics, behaviors, or attitudes. Can be subjective and answers questions about how or why.

Closed-ended question: participant is given a set of possible answers to choose from (e.g., yes/no, multiple choice, Likert scale, ranking, etc.) Example: Do you own an iPhone? Options: Yes or No

Open-ended question: participant is given the opportunity to respond freely to the question. Example: What do you look for in a smartphone?

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