There's a great discussion evolving on the Greenbook blog, started by Jason Anderson with his article "The 7 BS Stories of the Market Research Business".
I don't agree wtih everything he says, however his perspective is likely reflective of what a lot of research buyers feel. And his vantage point from inside the video gaming industry (life doesn't get much faster moving than that) is certainly interesting and unique.
Be sure to check out the comments too -- some good value added material is posted by other researchers in response.
Is good research expensive? Sometimes it is. There are ways to ensure you are getting the most from your budget, however. I published an article on exactly this topic (link below).
Link to PDF: Good to the Last Drop: 10 Ways to Save Money on Qualitative Research, by Susan Abbott, published by AMA MarketingPower.com