Georgia Institute of Technology
|Learning objectives|| |
After you attended this module, you will be able to:
Chapter 1: Introduction to Market Research and Problem Definition
Chapter 2: Secondary and Syndicated Sources of Data
Chapter 3: Qualitative Research Methods
Chapter 4: Obtaining Quantitative Data: Surveys and Experiments
Chapter 5: Scaling and Questionnaire Design
Chapter 6: Sampling: Techniques and Sample Size
Chapter 7: Data Analysis
|Read excerpt||Market Research|
Why Open School of Management believes that competences in market research are important
Market research can be defined as the background work done to fully understand a specific business or industry. Small business owners and corporate executives are responsible for creating effective strategies that appeal to a wide customer base and effectively undercut potential competition. This requires a variety of techniques, collectively known as market research, that experiment with and poll existing customers and potential new consumers to evaluate their responses to a specific product or service. The multiple concepts related to market research are largely considered to be the fundamental principles with which a company builds strategic initiatives.
Established business must continue to conduct market research to insure their relativity to the current marketplace. Although the reasons that a start-up industry and an established corporation will perform their due diligence may be quite different, the basic techniques and practical approaches they take are usually very similar. Both entities are striving to understand the temperance of consumers and attempting to develop a successful strategy to introduce their product or service. If a market is too saturated, drastic measures such as extremely low prices may be the only way to attract new business. If a market is tentative or dry, business leaders and marketing professionals must convince consumers that a product is attractive or even necessary.
Why study market research?
Every viable business plan rests on the understanding of the industry, the competition, and the target audience. Effective market research answers questions and identifies both challenges and opportunities for potential new businesses. Analyzing the market gives savvy leaders an advantage over the competition and leverage to utilize industry knowledge in a practical and beneficial way. Continuous market research allows a business to stay abreast of current trends, especially in an economic downturn. If a product or service is considered a luxury that is only affordable at a specific point of expendable income, the business may not survive during a recession. Managers who understand and follow the principles of effective market research are able to establish brand loyalty and ensure that their business remains relevant despite a shaky economic environment.
Understanding the importance of market research and learning the leadership and management techniques necessary to conduct feasible and useful research requires learning and practice. This comprehensive module is designed to provide an academic analysis and a practical review of market research from a business leadership perspective. At the completion of the module, students are expected to describe and apply in their own terms the various features of market research in realistic and practical conditions.
Students will also learn to define and discuss at length qualitative and quantitative market research and how each affects strategic initiatives. Finally, students will have mastered the knowledge of market research and be able to emphasize the importance of ethics in market research and the obstacles to performing research in specific conditions such as the international market, through social media, and when utilizing other new technologies. The module is conveniently structured and divided into seven main categories or chapters.
A brief introduction session outlines the basic concepts of market research and discovers some defining terms and practical examples of market research. Students will learn how about problem definition and why this concept is vital to the foundation of market research. Marketing research begins with problem definition and this first step must be thorough and accurate in order for subsequent actions to be successful. Practical examples of problem definition will be exemplified and innovative thinking will be improved in the introductory session. The first building block fully prepares students for more comprehensive study and more detailed practical applications pertaining to market research methods.
Building on the introduction, section two focuses on secondary and syndicated sources of data. From the vantage points of the objectives and learning outcomes, students will discuss data collection and analysis from internal, external, and secondary sources. As a practical example, learners will determine when to use specific data collection methods and how to transform the raw data into usable initiatives. Students will determine the differences, as well as the benefits and disadvantages to collecting data from general business and industry sources, households, and government sources. Syndicated data from direct households and institutions will be compared and contrasted. Customer and business surveys, purchase and media panels, electronic scanner services, and other data collection techniques will be reviewed in order to determine how to select a method and when to combine various data points.
The third session presents qualitative research methods, such as personal and online focus groups. Learning objectives include discussing the general advantages and disadvantages of these groups as well as those of depth interviews, projective techniques, ethnographic research, and other methods. Students learn how to administer and review the relatively subjective qualitative research results. Participants in a qualitative study are often surveyed in an unstructured environment, which students will evaluate from an objective viewpoint. The qualitative research methods section also serves to introduce the quantitative research methods.
Building on the introduction of qualitative research methods, the discussion on surveys and experiments continues in the realm of quantitative research methods. The section reveals practical methods for obtaining data, such as telephone and personal surveys. Traditional and electronic mail interviews and survey panels are still effective collection methods, and internet surveys have gained in popularity. Students will learn about the various types of experiments and the specific criteria to be used when choosing a survey method. In addition, students will learn how to analyze experiment results for internal and external validity.
Having determined the target audience and the type of experiments and collection methods that will work best, students must master the techniques of scaling and questionnaire design. There are different types of comparative and non-comparative scaling techniques that can be used to design and gauge survey results. Some of the comparative scaling techniques include paired, rank order, and constant sum scaling. Non-comparative scaling methods include the Likert Scale and the Stapel Scale. During section five, learners will also become familiar with effective questionnaire designs that will lead to the most promising results without offering leading or biased information to the target audience. Students will practice creating questionnaires, defining structured issues, choosing questions, and testing the questionnaire in a controlled setting before releasing it for public use.
Building on the previously mastered material, students will move into the sampling techniques during the sixth lesson. The learning objectives here move almost completely from academic concepts to practical examples that can be tested in real life situations. Students learn to identify the target population that will receive the predetermined experiments and market research collection methods. In addition to determining the general target population, learners must also determine the sample size that will be adequate to meet the needs of the research. There are also probability and non-probability sampling techniques to be considered before administering the formalized market research methods on the selected sample of participants. The sample formatting techniques deserve special attention because this step is the beginning of the collection of usable data. Students who master sampling techniques and gain the necessary experience in this section will have the most promising results.
In the final section of Market Research study, students will put into practice everything they have learned about how to prepare, administer, and collect data from experiment and survey participants. Data analysis is essentially the accurate review and interpretation of survey results collected during the market research activities. Students will practice calculating mean and variance among participant responses. Basic methods discussed in section seven include cross-tabulation and the chi-square statistic method of data analysis. Upon completion of this module, students are fully equipped to begin operations in market research and are expected to have the propensity to collect accurate data that will assist a business in their attempts at strategic growth initiatives.
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