THE decision posed in the chapter title is one that can only be made by a firm with its own research department. For the others the choice is the outside agency, the amateur attempt, or no research. However, the question that must be decided by firms already engaged in, or contemplating, marketing research is at what stage will it be more profitable, in every sense of that word, to form and operate a research department rather than to commission outside research? The answer is not based purely on quantitative considerations. It can never be said that a firm commissioning many thousands of pounds of outside research annually has a greater need of its own internal department han one commissioning only a few thousand pounds' worth. The distinctive factor in the decision is more the nature of the work to be carried out than the cost of the research. If the bulk of research is of such a highly confidential nature that no suspicion of the sponsor's identity can be permitted, or if it involves specialised techniques and resources which an internal department does not have then, clearly, outside agencies must be resorted to. At the other extreme, work that does not require the anonymity of the sponsor or routine enquiries can often be more profitably undertaken internally, given sufficient work load. There are, however, many compromises between developing a fully staffed internal department and commissioning all research from outside firms.