Book Title
Basic Marketing Research: Using Microsoft Excel Data Analysis 3rd Edition

978-0135078228 Chapter 4 Lecture Note

June 7, 2019
Research Design Alternatives and Qualitative Research
To understand what research design is and why it is significant
To learn how exploratory research design helps the researcher gain a feel for the problem by
providing background information, suggesting hypotheses, and prioritizing research
To know the fundamental questions addressed by descriptive research and the different types
of descriptive research
To explain what is meant by causal research and to describe types of experimental research
To know the different types of test marketing and how to select test market cities
To know the difference between qualitative and quantitative research and to know several
approaches to conducting qualitative research
Research Design
The Significance of Research Design
Three Types of Research Design
Research Design: A Caution
Exploratory Research
Uses of Exploratory Research
Gain Background Information
Define Terms
Clarify Problems and Hypotheses
Establish Research Priorities
Methods of Conducting Exploratory Research
Secondary Data Analysis
Experience Surveys
Case Analysis
Descriptive Research
Classification of Descriptive Research Studies
Causal Research
Experimental Design
Before-After with Control Group
How Valid Are Experiments?
Types of Experiments
Test Marketing
Types of Test Markets
Selecting Test Market Cities
Pros and Cons of Test Marketing
Qualitative Research
Methods of Conducting Qualitative Research
Observation Techniques
Types of Observation
Direct Observation
Indirect Observation
Disguised Versus Undisguised
Focus Groups
How Focus Groups Work
Advantages of Focus Groups
Disadvantages of Focus Groups
When Should Focus Groups Be Used?
When Should Focus Groups Not Be Used?
Depth Interviews
Protocol Analysis
Projective Techniques
Word-Association Test
Sentence-Completion Test
Cartoon or Balloon Test
Role-Playing Activity
Ethnographic Research
Ability to control distribution
and promotion
Balloon test
Before-after with control group
Brand-switching studies
Indirect observations
Internal validity
Laboratory experiments
Longitudinal studies
Market tracking studies
Case analysis
Causal research
Continuous panels
Control group
Controlled test markets
Cross-sectional studies
Degree of isolation
Dependent variables
Depth interviews
Descriptive research
Direct observations
Discontinuous panels
Disguised observation
Electronic test markets
Ethnographic research
Experience surveys
Experimental design
Experimental group
Exploratory research
External validity
Extraneous variables
Nontraditional focus group
Observation methods
Omnibus panels
“Physical traces”
Pluralistic research
Projective techniques
Protocol analysis
Qualitative research
Qualitative Research Consultants (QRs
or QRCs)
Quantitative research
Quasi-experimental designs
Research design
Role playing
Sample surveys
Secondary data analysis
Sentence-completion test
Simulated test markets
Standard test market
Field experiments
Focus group facility
Focus group report
Focus groups
Independent variables
Test marketing
Traditional focus group
“True” experimental design
Undisguised observation
Word-association test
1. (The following will require giving an assignment to students and having them bring to class
their findings.) Although students have not been fully exposed to exploratory research
methods, they can perform three of them to some extent. Divide the class up into three
groups and assign each group one of the following types of exploratory research: (1)
secondary data analysis, (2) experience surveys, and (3) case analysis. Here are some
possible “assignment” situations. It is necessary to keep the situations local.
The university is experiencing a decline (increase) in enrollment and wonders why.
(Choose “decline” or “increase” to fit the situation of your institution. Alternatively,
consider using a particular major or a college as it suits your situation and students’
The university bookstore is considering going to an “all rent” policy for textbooks.
(Some universities have this policy in place. Note: The experience survey will pertain
to students’ and instructors’ experiences with buying and selling back textbooks.)
The director of your “student life” office is concerned about the high use and possible
abuse of credit cards by college students. Under consideration is a self-help program
for students to learn about credit card abuse and money management.
Have the groups present their findings and use class discussion to generate hypotheses.
2. If available, show a segment of a focus group or a video that will hopefully illustrate:
Physical set up
Role of the moderator
How participants interact
3. Illustrate the result of a cross-sectional descriptive study by presenting findings from such a
study to the class. If you have used team projects in the past, you have many from which to
pick. Alternatively, you may use a consulting report, or even the descriptive findings from an
academic study may suffice. Use the tables and figures to illustrate the descriptive nature of
the findings. For instance, show how the demographic profile describes the sample. If there is
product use information, use it to show how it describes the types of product usage.
4. Some students may not readily understand the value of a longitudinal panel. A homely
analogy is that a cross-sectional survey is like a snapshot; whereas a longitudinal panel is like
a video.
5. A tangential discussion can be generated by asking students the implications of attrition with
an omnibus panel versus a longitudinal panel. In the former case, the lost panel member can
be replaced with someone whose profile is identical or very similar. That is, if a female
elderly sole survivor living on the West Coast drops out, you would replace her with an
elderly sole survivor who lives on the West Coast. However, with a drop out in a longitudinal
panel, the string of observations over time is broken, so attrition is a much more serious
6. You can have fun with causality because humans have the inborn tendency to make causal
attributions without using good experimental design. Here are some examples:
It has been documented that human births increase as stork populations grow, so
storks bring babies. (Actually, rain causes crops to grow, so agrarian people expand
their families; whereas water affords more protection for stork nests so more storks
are sighted.)
Lizards sometimes jump out of fires, so medieval people believed that lizards were
created by fire. (Actually, lizards jump out of logs when lit on fire, because they hide
in logs and the fire forces them to leave their hiding places.)
The sun revolves around the earth because one can see it rising and setting. (It was
believed for centuries that the sun revolved around the earth because of the fallacious
assumption that the earth stood still. In truth, the sun’s gravity causes the earth to
revolve around it while the earth spins on its axis.)
7. The experimental design with control group can be used to illustrate the role of a control
group. Quasi-experimental designs suffer from internal validity problems, namely extraneous
effects and changes in subjects in both cases, and measure error and subjects guessing for the
before-after design. The way to overcome these problems is to let them happen to both the
experimental and the control group. That is, you must have a control group to “capture” the
internal validity problem, and then subtract it out. The description of the before-after with
control group and the causal statement formula where E = (O2 - O1) - (O4 - O3) shows
how the control groups O3 and O4 do the subtracting out.
8. The before-after with control group experimental design can be set up as a convenient straw
man to demonstrate the effects of controlling other independent and extraneous variables.
Ask students to identify the independent variable, dependent variable, and causal statement in
one or more of the following examples.
A dry cleaning company institutes a “frequent cleaner” plan where $1 is taken off the
price of a dry cleaning order for every ten times a customer uses the dry cleaning
company. Sales at the end of three months increase by $10,000.
A movie theater adds more parking spaces in its lot, and 300 more tickets are sold in a
Goodyear adds a line of ultra-high performance radials and sells 200,000 more of
them in six months.
As a before-after design, the causal statement is that “X caused O.” That is, the frequent
cleaner plan caused $10,000 in sales; the parking spaces caused 300 tickets to be sold, and
that addition of the radials caused Goodyear to sell 200,000 more of them. However, students
will generate a great number of other possible reasons why the sales were as described. Other
independent variables may come into play, for example an especially popular movie shown
in the month. Extraneous variables are involved as well such as competitors’ actions or
changes in customers.
However, the control group aspect of this design measures the effects of the other
independent variables and the extraneous variables. When the before-after amounts for the
control groups are subtracted from the before-after amounts of their associated experimental
groups, the true effect of the company’s changed independent variable is apparent.
9. The descriptions of internal and external validity in the chapter do not utilize terms used in
more comprehensive treatments. For internal validity, the terms are history, maturation,
instrumentation, pretest effect, equivalence, and mortality, while for external validity; they
are sample representativeness, artificiality, and generalizability. Some instructors may want
to introduce these terms to students when reviewing the two types of validity.
10. There are experimental designs that are more complex and which are not covered in the
chapter. Some Instructors may want to expand students’ knowledge by bringing these into the
11. Students can relate to a taste test as an example of a laboratory experiment, and they can be
questioned on why, for example, when Diet Pepsi does a blind taste test against Diet Coke,
findings show a slight preference for Diet Pepsi. However, Diet Coke sales are more than
those for Diet Pepsi. The artificiality of the blind taste test can be exploited. There are
extraneous and independent variables affecting brand loyalty, plus who does a blind taste test
of two colas to decide which one to buy?
12. Consider doing an abbreviated taste test in class. You can select some students to be the
administrators, and two or three to be the taste testers. One approach is to tell the
administrators to read up on taste tests and to design and implement it themselves. Another is
to bring the materials to class and select the administrators and tasters from class, but you
will need to orient the administrators on how to conduct the test.
Here are the instructions for three colas with six subjects. It is best to use Dixie cup-sized
cups as subjects must take several drinks. It is fun to use national brands like Coke, or Pepsi
along with private brands like Sam’s Choice, or Dr. Thunder.
Instructions for Conducting an In-Class Taste Test
1. Pour the colas into identical large containers suitable for storage and decanting.
Assign the three colas letters (A, B, C)
2. Select subjects at random
3. Assign the specific order of the taste tests to each subject,
4. Subjects drink bottled water
5. Pour 1st letter cola for each subject; each tastes the cola and rates it
6. Subjects drink bottled water
7. Pour 2nd letter cola for each subject; each tastes the cola and rates it
8. Subjects drink bottled water
9. Pour 3rd letter cola for each subject; each tastes and rates the cola
10. Subjects identify 1st choice with respect to best taste rating
For class enjoyment—let the subjects guess which cola brands they have tasted, then
divulge the brands to them and the class.
13. There are four types of test markets described: standard, controlled, electronic, and
simulated. Ask students who uses each type and why. One factor is the distribution system of
the company wishing a test market; another is the type of product being tested, a third factor
is the type of information desired.
Standard test markets fit companies with fully developed distribution systems that
are marketing convenience goods such as grocery products, personal care items, or
over-the-counter drugs. This is a “do-it-yourself” approach with the information need
being primarily to track the test product’s sales.
Controlled test markets fit companies without fully developed distribution
systems. The test market company establishes the retail structure during the test.
Convenience goods marketers are a good fit. There is more competitive sales
information available because all brands are tracked, so the information needs are
more specific as to which brand is gaining or losing during the test.
Electronic test markets are limited to those companies testing products that are
sold in the stores where the electronic tracking system is in place (grocery and drug
stores primarily). Because electronic test market customers are in a database, the
information would profile the buyers versus nonbuyers and provide market
segmentation implications.
The simulated test market is suited to a new product where the innovation is tried
and the repurchase rate estimated by mathematical model. The distribution system
may be nonexistent, or the cost of other marketing variables needed in the test (e.g.
training salespeople to demonstrate it, or a large-scale educational advertising
campaign) may be prohibitive. There is an implicit evaluative process and adoption
decision on the part of the consumer, and its outcome is the primary information
14. Principles of marketing textbooks sometimes list 10 to 20+ U.S. test market cities. One
exercise is to take these listings over the past ten years and see what cities have been added
or deleted from the list. If one of these is known to students due to its proximity to the
university, students may be able to comment on why it was dropped or added.