On this course, you will have four types of assingments, including both group work and individually submitted work:
- Class assignments based on compulsory readings, 20% of the final grade (8 in total, 2,5% of the final grade each). These assignements can be short essays or quizzes, and they are done during class. Done individually.
- Note: If you miss a class for an acceptable reason (see syllabus), you may
complete an alternative assignment, which will be a longer essay based
on the recommended readings. If you miss a class for any other reason,
no alternative assignements will be available, and you will not get the points towards your final grade.
Two consumer research article analyses, three pages each, must be turned in during the course of the semester. I
have selected notable works to accompany each course topic from journals such
as Journal of Marketing, Journal of
Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Consumer
Psychology, and Consumption, Markets
The article-analysis assignment makes up 20% of your final grade,
The articles are listed in the pdf at the end of this page. You may suggest an alternative if you have a great article in mind, but the instructor reserves the
right to veto any such off-menu choices. The articles have to be for two different classes.
- Review the article’s key claims and relevance
to consumer research. This should take no more than one of the three pages.
- When applicable, briefly elaborate on the research methods. If the article is theoretical (i.e. contains no empirical research), discuss the kind of research methods with which the phenomena could be studied empirically.
- Reflect on the article’s impact on your own learning; for example, how you could apply what you learned professionally or how it relates to other things you know about marketing or consumer behavior.
- You are encouraged to evaluate and criticize the ideas or theories presented in the articles, but all criticism has to be backed up by thorough argumentation (i.e. do not simply state that something is naïve or unconvincing - explain in detail why this is). Note: good critical avaluation =/= being intentionally overly critical about everything that is said. Critical analysis also notes the things that are credible.
Keep the analysis concise and avoid any self-evident pabulum, three pages fill up quickly. Your
grade will depend on the quality of your reflection and proper understanding of
the article content.
Note that you may not turn in both on the same day and the deadline for the written analysis is always prior to the class topic the reading is related to. Submissions via TurnitIn on MyCourses.
Presentation and class discussion on a research paper
You will participate in developing a short presentation and class discussion faciliatation of one research article to the rest of the class.
The format here is free, but I highly
recommend preparing slides, using examples, or using other supporting elements
to make your argument. Your grade will depend on the quality of discussion that
you are able to facilitate and, as with the written analysis, how well you are
able to accurately convey the article’s key arguments or theoretical insights.
You will only have 15 minutes, so plan carefully how to organize the discussion.
Throughout the course, you will be working on a group project that consists of three separate deliverables:
1. Pitch session (5%) on November 6, 2018
A maximum 5 minute presentation followed by 5 minutes a Q&A where the instructor and fellow classmates probe your initial idea and give suggestions. In this pitch presentation:
- Outline the consumer-behavior phenomenon your group has chosen
- Give the audience an appropriate background or contextual elaboration
- Why is it important?
- What is the "scale" of the phenomenon (in terms of number of people involved, in terms of dollar value etc.)
- What is the "marketing activity" aroud the phenomenon (i.e. which brands or companies are involved, which consumer groups are affected)
Also, bring a printout for the instructor to the pitch session with the following information:
- a cover sheet containing a) the names and student numbers of each of your group members, b) your tentative project title;
- a max two-page (double spaced) containing a) your tentative project title (again); b)the option you are choosing; c) the specific topic of your project; and d) your agument for the importance of the topic.
Attending the pitch session is compulsory for everyone, even if not all memebers group participates in the pitch (highly recommended). Attendance will be taken. After the class, your group can meet briefly with the instructor for further comments.
2. Poster session (5%) on December 4, 2018
Standard length is 15 pages, double-spaced, 1” margins, 12-point font, Times New Roman, not including references and other appendices. (However, some papers may go longer if needed,see specifics per each topic. In the table below, I have out lined the flow of the final report and page expectations.
FINAL PROJECT OUTLINE
Approximate page length + grade worth
Table of Contents
The research proposal
Recommendations / Conclusions
References (compulsory) and appendices as needed
It is highly recommended that groups ask for preliminary feedback at different stages of the project to make sure they are on the right track in terms of using the right theories, methodological procedures, and conclusion. Thisfeedback can be given during office hours or via email.
Your group will have five different options for topics:
Option 1: Investigate a new and/or emergent consumption phenomenon that relates to acquisition, usage, and/or disposal.
Identify a new and intriguing phenomenon that has not been studied by previous research. Recent news or trend reports might provide ideas, should you need inspiration.
- Write a detailed describtion of this phenomena, and argue for the importance of studying it (back up by references, such as statistics)
- Write a detailed proposal on how you would approach this using ethnographic methods and interviews (i.e. where and how to conduct the observations, what kinds of artefacts etc. would be collected as additiona data, who you would interview, how you would select the interviewees, what would your interview outline look like).
- Choose the method, ethnography or qualitative interviews, which you would choose if you were actually carrying out the research project. Carefully argue for your choice.
Option 2: Netnographic Consumer Research
The Internet provides firms with the opportunity to study consumers’ product and/or servicerelated discussions.This project will give you the opportunity to “lurk” as a marketing managerand report on these correspondences. For this assignment
- You must find a consumer behaviorrelated chat or discussion group; this should be very easy considering every product/service/brand/consumption behavior has several or many dedicated discussion groups. For example,lovers of VW Bugs have their own discussion group.
- Monitor the chat or user group for the course of semester. Monitor the interactions for evidence of consumer behavior topics and theories discussedin class.
- Then, organize the evidence into a written analysis that should be no longer than 15 pages double-spaced plus tables, charts, and appendices. However, the page limit maybe exceeded if you use frequent data examples.
“The Field Behind the Screen: Netnography” from Journal of Marketing Research.
Option 3: Consumer Research Special Topic and Study Proposal
This option allows you the opportunity to incorporate classroom concepts, scholarly journal articles, and your own experiences into a consumer behavior model and study proposal. You will review and discuss relevant academic literature concerning your special topic, identify any gaps or issues in the literature you wish to address, and present an outline for an initial experiment thatmight be used to test your ideas.
Similarly to the previous option, this project might also work better for groups that have trouble getting together to collect data. However, note that that this project will be rather heavy on academic reading and requires that you have at least one member that knows how to conduct an literature review.
Option 4: A real world marketing problem
For this option, you will have to find a company to work with - it can be whichever company you choose, as long as you have an access to a person that is in a position to buy marketing research. You will assume the role of research consultants.
- Together with the company representative, you will identify an actual marketing problem that can be solved through consumer research.
- Conduct any necessary desk research (library and firm-related research), and report the findings.
- Write a detailed research plan
- Based on the problem, formulate a specific research question
- Identify different methods that could be used to answer the question
- Include details on how each alternative would be carried out in real life, including costs and time frame
- Based on the problem, formulate a specific research question
- Give you client a recommendation - which alternative you recommend they choose. Remember to focus on the benefits for the client! You are selling them your services.
For this option, you will complete a comprehensive analysis of a specific consumer phenomenon, that relates to social problems.
- Obesity and lack of exercise
- Body shame
- Food; food insecurity/GMOs/food waste
- Consumer education (children/youth)
- Consumer safety (unsafe products)
- Psychological and social well-being (quality of life, maternity/paternity leave)
- Vulnerable groups (poor, elderly, illiterate, etc.)
- Gun ownership
- Compulsive consumer behaviors (substance abuse, gambling, shoppaholism, gaming addictions etc.)
This list is not comprehensive of all the possible topic areas, so if you have something else in mind, please let me know.
- Write a detailed report on the social problem at hand. Include statistics and other relevant backgroud info. You aim is to convice the grant committees, that this is an important social issue to study.
- Write a comprehensive reseach proposal related to this topic - a concrete empirical study with a specific method(s) of your choice, that would increase policymakers' knowledge of your topic.
- Detail the kind of social and policy implications the findings could potentially have. Again, you are applying for funding, so empasize the social importance of the study.