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Research Design. Jeremy Kees, Ph.D. Formulate Problem. Stages in the Research Process. Determine Research Design. Design Data Collection Method and Forms. Design Sample and Collect Data. Analyze and Interpret the Data. Prepare the Research Report.

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research design

Research Design

Jeremy Kees, Ph.D.


Formulate Problem


in the



Determine Research Design

Design Data Collection

Method and Forms

Design Sample and Collect Data

Analyze and Interpret the Data

Prepare the Research Report

important design issues to consider
Important Design Issues to Consider
  • How well do you understand the problem?
    • Not very well = exploratory research needed
  • What is your budget?
    • Low = exploratory research
  • Do you have access to a large sample?
    • If not, exploratory research is the way to go
important design issues to consider1
Important Design Issues to Consider
  • Do you need to understand how a specific population feels about a particular issue?
    • Attitudes, evaluations, preferences, etc.?
  • Are you trying to choose between options?
    • Advertising campaign ideas or specific ads
overview of research design
Overview of Research Design


  • “discovery”


  • “relationships”


  • “cause-and-effect”
typology of marketing research
Typology of Marketing Research
  • By Source
    • Primary
    • Secondary
  • By Methodology
    • Qualitative
    • Quantitative
  • By Objectives
    • Exploratory
    • Descriptive
    • Experimental (Causal)
qualitative vs quantitative research
Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research
  • Depth versus Generalizability
    • Quantitative Methods
      • Generalizations to other populations and/or situations
    • Qualitative Methods
      • Rich Understanding
  • Common Assumption:
    • Qualitative Data = preliminary
    • Quantitative Data = confirmatory

Qualitative Research

To gain a qualitative understanding of the underlying reasons and motivations

Small number of non-representative cases



Develop an initial understanding

Quantitative Research

To quantify the data and generalize the results from the sample to the population of interest

Large number of representative cases



Recommend a final courseof action



Data Collection

Data Analysis


Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research


benefits of qualitative research
Benefits of Qualitative Research
  • Less expensive
    • Smaller sample size
  • Opportunity to probe respondents
    • Observation of “real” customer reactions
    • Great depth of information
  • Can give you “direction” for decisions
  • Typically informs quantitative research
    • Inexpensive/quick qual research can help tremendously in developing more extensive quant research

Relationship Among Research Designs

Descriptive Research


Causal Research


focus groups
Focus Groups
  • Focus groups: small group discussions led by a trained moderator
  • Objectives:
    • Generate ideas
    • Understand consumer vocabulary
    • Reveal consumer needs, motives, perceptions, and attitudes on products and services
    • Understand findings from quantitative studies


in depth interviews idis
In-Depth Interviews (IDIs)
  • In-Depth interview
    • A set of probing questions posed one-on-one to a subject by a trained interviewer so as to gain an idea of what the subject thinks about something or why he or she behaves a certain way


other qualitative methods
Other Qualitative Methods
  • Ethnographies
    • developing understandings of the everyday activities of people in local settings
  • Observation
    • Insight into actual, not reported, behaviors
  • Mystery Shopping
  • Protocol analysis
    • involves placing a person in a decision making situation and asking him or her to verbalize everything he or she considers when making a decision
alternative techniques
“Alternative” Techniques
  • Implicit Association Test
  • Eye Tracking
  • Resistometer
descriptive research1
Descriptive Research
  • For our purposes, “survey” research
    • Asking a sample of people from a population a set of questions
    • Using the answers to describe that population
  • Common Goals
    • Describe what is going on or exists
    • Estimate how groups of consumers might behave
    • Examine relationships between two or more variables
    • Predict
descriptive research2
Descriptive Research
  • In contrast to exploratory (qualitative) techniques, the purpose of survey research is to produce statistics
  • In contrast to exploratory (qualitative) techniques, survey research is concerned with generalizability
    • Sampling becomes very important
descriptive research3
Descriptive Research
  • Three key aspects
    • Designing questions
    • Sampling
    • Data collection
  • We want to have a study that is precise, credible, and accurate
    • A key issue is reducing error throughout the process (Fowler)
  • Poor attention to ANY of these aspects can result in poor results (Fowler, Ch. 13)
descriptive research4
Descriptive Research
  • Two Basic Types
    • Longitudinal
    • Cross-Sectional
fop segmentation
FOP Segmentation

Survey Data


Compenent 1



Compenent 2


Compenent 3

Compenent 4



Compenent 5

Compenent 1

Compenent 2

Compenent 3

fop segmentation1
FOP Segmentation
  • 15% of mom population
  • More kids = large HH
  • Older kids (ages 11-15)
  • Diverse (mostly Hispanic)
  • Many Spanish speakers
  • Nutrition content is imp in food purchase decisions
  • Urban
  • South
  • Low education (completed some HS)
  • Likes to shop at Whole Foods
  • Lower income (<$25K)

Low Knowledge

Moderate to High Motivation


Low High

Low High


fop segmentation2
FOP Segmentation
  • 8% of mom population
  • Mostly white
  • Feel knowledgeable about nutrition
  • Exercise the most of the segments
  • West
  • Highly educated (college+)
  • Shops at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods
  • Use Nutrition Facts Panel more than other segments
  • Higher income ($100K+)

High Knowledge

High Motivation


Low High

Low High


  • Can we infer causation from a strong correlation?
  • Survey research is limited by what people are willing and able to tell us in the context of a survey
  • This limitation can be addressed using other methods (triangulation)
experimental research1
Experimental Research
  • Helps us determine if one or more IVs (treatment, predictors) causes or affects one or more DVs (outcome variables)
  • Most demanding design—strongest conclusion
  • Requires the highest degree of understanding of the problem
  • Do Cigarette Warning Labels work?
    • CBS
evidence that supports a causal inference
Evidence that supports a causal inference…
  • Correlation
    • Observe the relationship (variability) between ad spend and sales
  • Independent variable (treatment) occurs before the dependent (outcome) variable
    • Change ad spend and look for an effect on sales.
  • Eliminate “Alternative Explanations”
    • If we observe an increase in sales when we increase ad spend….
      • Were there changes in any other parts of our marketing mix?
      • What is going on with the economy?
      • Any changes in competition’s ad spend?
      • Etc, etc, etc……
to conclude
To conclude…
  • Experiments are the only way to show causation
    • But often take a back seat to descriptive studies due to time, cost, and control issues
  • Exploratory and descriptive studies are useful, but be careful not to infer too much
    • Correlation is not causation
  • Again, let your research questions dictate your design!
some practical issues
Some practical issues….
  • Qualtrics Research Platform
    • Free you under VSB’s “site license”
    • Extremely user friendly, but also very robust
some practical issues1
Some practical issues….
  • Amazon Mechanical Turk
    • The most inexpensive way to collect consumer data
    • Extremely user friendly, but also very robust

Online Survey (created by you and housed on Qualtrics’ server)

  • Create HIT (Human Intelligence Task) on Mturk
  • Description of your study and a (Qualtrics) link to it

Mturk workers (survey responders) “work” on your HIT (i.e., they take your survey)

Data is recorded by Qualtrics. Participants who complete the survey are given a code to input into Mturk. Those that enter a valid code, get paid.

Everyone is happy   

team assignment 1
  • Discuss some issues that you deal with at your workplace that can be answered with primary research
    • Discuss the issue broadly (i.e., provide some context)
    • Develop a problem statement
    • Develop several clear, concise research questions
    • Discuss the decisions that would be made depending on the different outcomes of the research
  • Try to acutely identify the problem at hand (and avoid “nice to know” questions)
    • What information is necessary in order to make a decision?
  • Think about what course(s) of action will result from your findings
    • If we find A, what will you do?
    • What about if we find B?
    • Make all alternative courses of action explicit
  • Refer to Beal (Chapter 2)
team assignment 2
Team Assignment #2
  • Refine your research questions
    • Need to be clear, concise, and “testable”
  • Based on your research questions
    • Design 2 potential studies that could address your research questions
      • Explain the benefits and weaknesses of each approach
      • Pick the “best” design and explain your decision

(Note: Don’t worry about measurement or sampling too much---you’ll have your chance to do that later)