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4 – Exploratory Research (Research Designs)

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Research Design:
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a plan for a study, used as a guide in collecting and analyzing data.
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Why do we create Research Design? (2 benefits)
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-Ensures the study is relevant to the problem. -Helps to limit time and project costs.
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3 Types of Research Design:
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1) Exploratory Research 2) Descriptive Research 3) Causal Research
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Descriptive Research:
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Provides an accurate snapshot (or describes) some aspect of the market environment. Eg. How do the drivers of customer satisfaction vary by region and age of customers?
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Causal Research:
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Concerned with cause-and-effect relationships, most often through experiments. Eg. How will customer satisfaction change if we change a satisfaction driver.
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Exploratory Research: (+ benefits & cons)
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The discovery/exploration of insights and ideas. -Results in ‘soft’ information. -Can provide deep, rich insights, but lacks representativeness, reliability, and quantitative insights. Eg. What are the most important drivers of customer satisfaction?
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Purpose of Exploratory Research:
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-Eliminate impractical ideas -Establish priorities for future research -Refine a problem -Clarify concepts -Increase familiarity with the problem -Generate hypotheses
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6 Types of Exploratory Research:
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1) Literature Search 2) Experience Survey 3) Focus Groups 4) Depth interviews 5) Observation 6) Projective Techniques
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Literature Search:
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The review of trade journals, professional/academic journals, market research publications, or statistical publications.
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Experience survey:
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Interview people that have special knowledge and/or experience with the problem at hand.
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Focus groups:
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Interactive and structured discussion on a topic with a moderator and a group of participants.
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Depth Interviews:
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One-on-one discussion on a topic.
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Observation:
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Gaining close and intimate familiarity with a given group of individuals by observing their behaviours.
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Benefit of Observation techniques (over focus groups):
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Observation techniques eliminate potential bias effects in focus groups. Eg. Participants in a focus group may respond with answers that they believe the marketer wants to know. Also, participants may be subject to ‘groupthink’ in focus groups. Lastly, observations may reveal data/facts that the researcher wouldn’t have otherwise discovered (eg. Doctor & screen)
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Cons of Observation techniques:
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From observing what consumers do, we may not know exactly WHY they are doing certain things since we are not interacting with them. Therefore, we may be making ASSUMPTIONS.
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Projective Techniques:
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When participants respond to ambiguous stimuli (eg. Sentence-completion, story construction exercises)
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Focus Groups: Definition:
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Formalized process of bringing a small group of people together for an interactive and spontaneous discussion of one particular topic/concept.
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Objectives of Focus Groups:
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1) Collect information to (re)define marketing problems 2) Reveal consumer’s hidden needs, wants, attitudes, etc. regarding a product or brand. 3) Generate information used for further testing 4) Generate new ideas about products (eg. Usage)
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Pros + Cons of using Focus Groups:
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Pros: 1) Richer insight 2) Less intimidating than 1-to-1 interviews 3) Individuals and ideas can build on eachother Cons: 1) Potential groupthink 2) Small sample (maybe not representative) 3) Potential biases 4) Time and cost 5) People act differently in front of others vs. alone (in observations)
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3 Steps to Conducting Focus Group Discussions:
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1) Planning 2) Execution 3) Reporting
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Planning a Focus Group: (information required)
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We require information regarding: -background information -number of groups/participants -recruiting participants
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Executing a Focus Group Discussion: (itinerary)
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-Create comfort, administration, & briefing -Address main topics -Express closing final ideas & summarize
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Role of the Moderator (in Focus Groups):
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-must understand the problem -must have friendly/adaptive personality -ability to create positive group dynamics for spontaneous and interactive discussion -communicative, listening, and interpretive skills -ability to get discussion back on track (if veering)
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Reporting after a Focus Group Discussion:
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-Debriefing with management -Content analysis (categorize responses with broader themes) -Write formal report
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Focus Groups vs. Depth Interviews (6 factors):
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1) Group interactions 2) Respondent competition 3) Influence 4) Topic sensitivity 5) Stimuli 6) Amount of information
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4 Examples of Projective Techniques:
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1) Ask respondent about what others think (eg. How much $$$ do people in your profession typically make per year? 2) Word associations (eg. What do you think of when you hear ___?) 3) Sentence Completion 4) Story-telling
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3 Observational Techniques:
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1) In the field 2) In the lab 3) Hi-tech measures
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Observation in the Field: (examples)
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-Direct observation -Ethnography -Netnography
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Ethnography:
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The study and recording of human cultures.
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Observations using Hi-Tech Measures: (examples)
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-eye-tracking studies -Response latency -Net-nography -fMRI
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Netnography:
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The study of online communities and cultures. -An adaptation of ethnography