Consumer Behavior: On-site Syllabus

The Written Field Observation Mini-Project Report

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The Written Field Observation Mini-Project Report

The team report will consist of an 8-page single-spaced paper that adheres to the following outline:
Packaging (required materials that are not included in the maximum page count)

  • Cover page, including project topic, course title and term and team member names

  • Executive summary, less than one page

  • Table of contents with page numbers


  1. Project Description: A brief overview of the research project will include a broad description of the behavioral phenomenon, a brief discussion of its influence on consumer behavior and decision making and a summary of its potential impact on business (e.g., specific companies or industries) and society.

  1. Secondary Research: Based on the analysis of relevant secondary data, teams will conduct a brief literature review to examine a particular behavior. The purpose of this in-depth analysis is to document information that describes the behavioral phenomenon in its various forms and to discuss theoretical ideas, models or frameworks that can explain when, why or how the behavior occurs. Additionally, secondary research will help teams identify social, cultural or other environmental influences that can help marketers understand the behavioral phenomenon.

  1. Primary Research Design, Data Analysis, and Interpretation: Following a solid grounding of the behavioral phenomenon, the team is to take its investigation into the field – into the real world – to document evidence of consumers in action. The purpose of obtaining current evidence from real consumers is to bring the behavioral phenomenon to life by identifying relevant social, psychological and behavioral influences. This limited exploratory research will be conducted using observational research methods which are often used to capture consumers’ behavior in a natural setting. Resources for understanding the mechanics of conducting observational research will be posted on Blackboard and discussed throughout the term. Refer to Hoyer, Macinnis and Pieters (2018, Chapter 1 Appendix) for an overview of consumer research methods. Additional guidelines and tips for analyzing observational data will be provided.

  1. Attitude/Behavioral Change Strategy: After analyzing data gathered during Stages 2 and 3 above students will develop a strategy for creating or changing current attitudes and/or behaviors regarding the behavioral phenomenon. Discussion of attitude formation and attitude change is covered by Hoyer, McInnis and Pieters (2018, Chapters 5–6) while related topics on behavioral change is addressed by Cialdini (2001).

  1. Marketing Insights: Teams should identify at least one significant and novel finding about the consumer behavior phenomenon. This insight(s) should become the basis for producing a recommendation to a) help marketing managers understand consumers more generally and b) improve marketing practices in a given marketing setting or industry.

  1. References (not included in page count): Minimum of 10 references required (NOTE: each team member should share at least two relevant trade or academic references for inclusion in the mini-research project proposal due at the end of Week 3. This content will likely serve as foundational content for the final report.)

  1. Appendix (8-page maximum): Attach copies of any primary data collection guides, data summary tables, pictures or other supporting materials.

Research Note 1: An initial search for timely and relevant consumer behavior topics should target trade and popular press publications such as Psychology Today, Brand Week, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, AMA Marketing News, Sloan Management Review, Slate Magazine, Fast Company, and McKinsey Quarterly, which provide a wealth of information on consumer behavior and marketplace developments.

Research Note 2: Appropriate secondary resources for this project include but are not limited to peer-reviewed academic journals such as The Journal of Consumer Research, The Journal of Marketing, Marketing Science, Marketing Letters, The Journal of Retailing, The Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Psychology and Marketing, Journal of Advertising, The Journal of Service Research, The Journal of Consumer Affairs, and The Journal of Marketing and Public Policy that provide theoretical treatment of consumer behavior topics. Additionally, journals from the field of social psychology, sociology and economics also contain extensive treatment of consumer behavior topics as well. Theoretical models, conceptual ideas and empirical evidence are critical resources for developing the research topic for this assignment. Do NOT wait until the last minute to conduct secondary research as the amount of information available on any consumer behavior topic could be overwhelming.
Research Note 3: Information obtained from blogs, commercial websites and other online resources (e.g., Wikipedia, LinkedIn) that primarily represent independent opinions and thoughts written by “self-proclaimed” experts or other “unidentified” sources are to be used minimally in the written report (no more than 3% of all referenced materials). Refer to APA guidelines for properly citing all information sources.

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