Research is easy – the hard part is defining what should be studied and why.
Then it comes down to aligning with these objectives at each step of the way. My recurring sanity check: “How likely will this give stakeholders what they need?”
The majority of the time that research is ineffective is because of ambiguous objectives at the outset, not a failed analysis or methodology. Another way of saying this, research is only as useful as your initial question is clear.
This non-clarity propagates through and compromises all subsequent phases from design through analysis and reporting. Long story short: garbage in, garbage out.