Here’s a small but important lesson about getting field research done in a corporate environment. If you propose research, folks may hear that word and think R&D, and that’s not capitalizable, i.e. the cost can’t be allocated against a particular product/service. That means the cost can’t be delayed and counted against future revenues (delaying costs can be good for budget reasons or simply for the time value of money). This is because if you’re doing work for a project you have a much higher degree of confidence it will provide a return versus doing pure research & development.
If you can make it clear that the work is applied against a particular project, great, but otherwise be careful of using the word research to people who might interpret it in the accounting sense of the word. As an alternative, how about information gathering? Any other suggestions?