The function of research management is to coordinate disparate activities involved in planning and executing any research project. Ability to grasp the big picture, coupled with attention to detail, is required in this function. Regardless of research team size or the size of the project, the same management activities are required.

Research management begins at the initial phase of the research process. As survey research texts point out, identification of the research problem is the first step. From this, the research team develops testable hypotheses and the research plan. This research plan or process is the cornerstone of research management, and the more detailed the plan is, the more efficient the project implementation phase will be.