This assignment connects to class #3, Planning a Qualitative Research Project, and is to be completed after the lecture. The goal of the assignment is to have students choose a particular topic for their research and argue why it would make for a good study. Note that whatever you pick in this assignment will not “bind” you forever, as you are expected to work on your research framing throughout the course. To summarize, this assignment is ultimately about matching Research Context with Theoretical Interest. You may emphasize either one of these two, but for completing this assignment, you must find a match between the two! See especially the reading “Making Context Matter” to understand how you can argue for either a theory-driven or context-driven project.

Your proposal should be no more than two pages, preferably one, (12 point font, 1,5 line spacing, 1” margins) and should include: 

1.    Brief description of context:

    1. Explain your context and why you choose to work on it. Also discuss why it is important.
    2. Who are these consumers? (Like “Knitting enthusiasts” or “Rock climbers” or “refugees in Finland”)
    3. The novelty or peculiarity of this context (particularly if you want to claim that this context might illuminate something understudied, you might want to contrast it to prior “known” consumer populations)

2.    Brief description of theoretical interest

    1. Identify some key articles in marketing or consumer research in the given area or ‘stream’, discern potential research gaps and then select one for your study.
      1. Tip: A good way to find research gaps is to look at the “Future Research” sections of recent articles
    2. What kind of theories from consumer research do you currently think (remember, these always change as projects evolve!) might help illuminate this context
      1. Identity theory? Community theory? Relationship theory? Taste theory?
      1. Don’t just name the theory! Explain why you think this is a good match with the context and what you expect to find!

 3.    Offer a preliminary research question

    1. It is taken for granted that your research question will change during the course, but please offer some sort of guiding question going in!
      1. “How do knitting enthusiasts construct their identities?”
      2. “How do refugee communities in Finland consume?”
      3. “How do rock climbers express and evaluate taste?”

This assignment is 7,5% of the final grade. Note that you may be asked to revise this work if it is not satisfactory, as choosing the right context is essential moving forward.  

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