Chapter 7 - Essentials of Marketing Research - Prof. Jacob Godfrey

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Chapter 7 - Essentials of Marketing Research - Prof. Jacob Godfrey Powered By Docstoc
					               Research Methods

             Jacob Godfrey Agea (PhD)
                Ethnobotany & Applied Food Security
   Dept. Extension & Innovation Studies, College of Agricultural &
Environmental Sciences, Makerere University, P.O. Box 7062, Kampala,
               Uganda. Mobile: +256 (0) 392945330;
         Email: /

• A hypothesis - a possible solution or answer
  derived from a thought process using evidence
  provided in the established body of knowledge
  in the area of research.

• A research project often tests a hypothesis to
  refute or support it.

Four criteria to be satisfied by a good
• States an expected relationship among
• Provides justification for the hypothesis from
• Is testable under the constraints of the study
• Is clear and brief.

Most hypotheses state the anticipated direction of
 the relationship of the variables – revisit your
 statistics                                          3
Forms of hypotheses

• Null hypotheses – Proposes that there is no
  relationship among the identified variables - if the
  study is an experiment, then a statistical test of
  significance will measure support for the null
  hypothesis. A null hypothesis is non directional
  since there is no relationship (Ho)

• Alternative hypotheses - remaining possible
  outcomes other than the null hypothesis. Alternative
  hypotheses usually have a direction stated in the
  relationship of variables (H,).                    4
Research questions Vs hypotheses

• Common in social survey research.

• Simply a re-sating of the objectives of various aspects
  of the research in form of questions.

• Some examples.........

Literature Review

• Done at an early stage of research after identifying the

• Learning what others have done in related area & the
  knowledge gaps needing further investigation.

• Standing on the shoulders of others (giants).

Sources of Literature

•   Text books; Periodicals
•   Technical reports; Academic theses
•   Websites
•   Published papers (peer reviewed journals) - preferably
    better (current) than other literature sources normally
    referred to as “grey” literature.

Pay attention on how to gather information from
Take trouble to learn how to quote lit both in text and at
  the reference section – examples --                    7
  Survey research
• A method of gathering data (can be qualitative or
  quantitative) to describe, compare, or explain
  knowledge, attitudes (general dispositions), systems
  of beliefs (core beliefs, general policy beliefs,
  specific beliefs), preferences (or, more disparagingly,
  “opinions”), trust, & behaviours

  Advantages of Undertaking Surveys
• Surveys have a number of advantages in terms of
  collecting, analyzing & assessing information from the
  sampled population:
   –   Quickness
   –   Inexpensiveness
   –   Flexibility
   –   Efficiency
   –   Accuracy
   –   Helpful in the decision-making process
• The advantages are only evident when surveys are
  properly conducted!
Weakness of survey research

• Poor design can easily lead to bias

• Weak on validity

• Subject to artificiality.

                 Types of Surveys
1) Cross-Sectional Surveys
• Are used to gather information on a population at a
  single point in time. An example of a cross sectional
  survey would be a questionnaire that collects data on
  how parents feel about their adolescent boys.

• A different cross-sectional survey questionnaire
  might try to determine the relationship between two
  factors, like religiousness of parents and views on
2. Longitudinal Surveys

Gathers data over a period of time. The researcher may
then analyze changes in the population and attempt to
describe &/or explain them.

There are three main types of longitudinal surveys:
   • trend studies,
   • cohort studies, &
   • panel studies.

a) Trend Studies

• Trend studies focus on a particular population,
  which is sampled & scrutinized repeatedly.

• While samples are of the same population, they are
  typically not composed of the same people.

• Trend studies, since they may be conducted over a
  long period of time, do not have to be conducted by
  just one researcher or research project.

• A researcher may combine data from several studies
  of the same population in order to show a trend.
b) Cohort Studies

• Cohort studies also focus on a particular population,
  sampled and studied more than once. But cohort
  studies have a different focus.

• For example, a sample of 2010 BCF graduates of
  MAK could be questioned regarding their attitudes
  toward the relevance of forestry education in their

• Five years later, the researcher could question
  another sample of 2010 BCF graduates of MAK,
  and study any changes in their attitude.

• A cohort study would sample the same class, every
  time. If the researcher studied the BCF. class of
  2010 five years later, it would be a trend study, not a
  cohort study.

c) Panel Studies

• Panel studies allow the researcher to find out why
  changes in the population are occurring, since they
  use the same sample of people every time.

• That sample is called a panel. A researcher could,
  for example, select a sample of 2010 BCF graduate
  students, and ask them questions on their working

• Every year thereafter, the researcher would contact
  the same people, and ask them similar questions, and
  ask them the reasons for any changes in their habits.

• Panel studies, while they can yield extremely
  specific and useful explanations, can be difficult to

• They tend to be expensive, they take a lot of time,
  and they suffer from high attrition rates. Attrition is
  what occurs when people drop out of the study.

 Potential Errors in Undertaking Surveys

       If we are to ensure reliability, validity &
representativeness of the survey findings, then we need
      to guard against all forms of survey errors.

Random Sampling Error

• A statistical fluctuation that occurs because of
  change variation in the elements selected for the
  sample (It cannot be eliminated but very large
  samples can minimize it >400)

Systematic Error (bias)

Systematic error results from some imperfect aspect of
the research design or from a mistake in the execution
of the research

    error (bias)


Respondent Error

• A classification of sample bias resulting from some
  respondent action or inaction

         – Non-response bias
         – Response bias

Non-response Error

• Non-respondents - people who refuse to cooperate

• Not-at-homes

• Self-selection bias

          – Over-represents extreme positions
          – Under-represents indifference

Response Bias

• A bias that occurs when respondents tend to answer
  questions with a certain slant that consciously or
  unconsciously misrepresents the truth. This includes:

   –   Acquiescence bias
   –   Extremity bias
   –   Interviewer bias
   –   Auspices bias
   –   Social desirability bias

Acquiescence Bias

• A category of response bias that results because
  some individuals tend to agree with all questions or
  to concur with a particular position.

Extremity Bias
• A category of response bias that results because
  response styles vary from person to person; some
  individuals tend to use extremes when responding to

Interviewer Bias
• A response bias that occurs because the presence of
  the interviewer influences answers.

Auspices Bias

• Bias in the responses of subjects caused by the
  respondents being influenced by the organization
  conducting the study.

Social Desirability Bias

• Bias in responses caused by
  respondents’ desire, either
  conscious or unconscious, to
  gain prestige or appear in a
  different social role.

               Survey Error


error (bias)


Administrative Error

• Improper administration of the research task
• Blunders
     • Confusion
     • Neglect
     • Omission

Types of administrative error:

• Interviewer cheating - filling in fake answers or
  falsifying interviewers
• Data processing error - incorrect data entry,
  computer programming, or other procedural errors
  during the analysis stage.
• Sample selection error -improper sample design or
  sampling procedure execution.
• Interviewer error - field mistakes
Survey Research Tools

• Personal interviews
       – Door-to-door
       – Focus group interviews

• Telephone interviews

• Self-administered questionnaires

Guidelines for Survey Interviewing

• Dress in a similar manner to the people who will be

• Study and become familiar with the questionnaire.

• Follow question wording exactly.

• Record responses exactly.

• Probe for responses when necessary.

Training for Interviewers

• Discussion of general guidelines and procedures.

• Specify how to handle difficult or confusing situations.

• Conduct demonstration interviews.

• Conduct “real” interviews.

Personal Interviews
A personal interview is a form of direct communication
in which an interviewer asks respondents in a face-to-face
conversational situation. It can be door-to-door or in form
of group interviews/discussions.

Advantages of Personal Interviews

• Opportunity for Feedback – Interviewer can provide
  direct feedback to the respondent, give clarifications &
  help alleviate any misconceptions or apprehensions
  over confidentiality that the respondent may have in
  answering the interviewer’s questions

• Probing Complex Answers – Interviewers can probe
  if the respondent’s answer is too brief or unclear. This
  gives interviewers some flexibility in dealing with
  unstructured questions and is especially suited for
  handling complex questions
• Length of Interview – If the questionnaire is often
  very lengthy, the personal interview is the best
  technique for getting respondents to cooperate, without
  overtaxing their patience.

• Complete Questionnaires – Personal ensures ensure
  that the respondent will answer all questions asked,
  unlike in telephone interview where the respondent
  may hang up or in mail questionnaire where some
  questions may go unanswered.

• Props & Visual Aids – Interviewers have the
  opportunity of showing respondents items such as
  sample products, graphs ands sketches, which can aid
  in their answers

• High Participation – Interviewing respondents
  personally can increase the likelihood of their
  participation, as many people prefer to communicate
  directly verbally & sharing information and insights
  with interviewers

 Disadvantages of Personal Interviews

• Cost – Personal interviews are usually more expensive
  than mail, telephone or internet surveys.

  Factors influencing the cost of the interview include the
  respondents’ geographic proximity, the length &
  complexity of the questionnaire, & the number of non-

• Lack of Anonymity – Respondents are not
  anonymous in a personal (face-to-face) interview &
  may be reluctant to disclose certain information to the

  Hence, considerable must be expended by the
  interviewer when dealing with sensitive questions to
  avoid bias effects on the respondent’s part.

• Necessity for Callbacks – When a person selected for
  interview cannot be reached the first time, a callback
  has to be scheduled which result in extra cost and time
• Dishonesty – Interviewers cheat to make their life
  easier & save time and effort.

• Personal Style – The interviewers individual
  questioning style, techniques, approach & demeanor
  may influence the respondents’ answers.

• Global Considerations – Cultural aspects may
  influence peoples’ willingness to participate in an
  interview (e.g. repressive Middle Eastern cultures
  discourage females from being questioned face-to-face
  by male interviewers).
Telephone Surveys

• In telephone interviews, respondents are contacted by
  telephone in order to collect data for surveys

• Telephone interviewing has been used for decades &,
  in some ways, has advantages over other methods of
  undertaking surveys

• With improvements in the IT-field, computers can be
  used to assist in telephone interviewing, & answers
  given by respondents can be entered by interviewers
  directly into the computer, saving effort, time & cost

• Speed – This is a major advantage of telephone
  interviewing, enabling data to be collected on very
  short notice.

• Cost – Telephone interviews are comparatively
  cheaper to conduct than personal interviews. No travel
  time and travel cost is involved.

• No Face-to-Face Contact – Bse telephone interviews
  lack the direct element of interaction, respondents may
  be more willing to provide certain information that
  they would be reluctant to disclose in a personal (face-
  to-face) interview.

• Cooperation – People may be reluctant to allow
  interviewers into their homes, but they may be willing
  to cooperate by letting themselves be interviewed over
  the telephone.

• Callbacks – Telephone callbacks are easier to perform
  than personal interview callbacks.

Disadvantages of Telephone Interviews

• No Face-to-Face Contact – Interviewer may not be
  able to record the respondent’s data fast enough and
  the respondent, who cannot see this, may continue to
  add data.

  Also, due to the visual communication gap, there is a
  greater tendency for interviewers to record no-answers
  and incomplete answers than in a personal interview.

• Cooperation – Research shows that response rates in
  telephone interviews are declining with the passage of
  time & the availability of respondents has also declined
  for various reasons.

  Also, reaching executives in workplaces can be very
  difficult due to tight schedules and the work load.

• Lack of Visual Mediums – Visual aids cannot be used
  by interviewers in telephone interviews, hence, surveys
  which need visual aids to help respondents cannot be
  undertaken with this survey method.

• Limited Duration – Length of interview time in a
  telephone interview is limited. Too long interview times
  may result in exasperated respondents hanging up the
  telephone or refusing to answer questions.

• Representative Samples – Using the telephone
  directory as the basis for sampling can be problematic
  in the sense that many persons are unlisted or do not
  have telephones, but whose opinions are nevertheless

• Global Considerations – In many countries, people are
  reluctant to divulge information over the telephone.
Self-Administered Questionnaires

• Self-administered questionnaires are those questionnaires
  that are filled in by the respondent independently, i.e.
  without the direct interaction with an interviewer

• There are many ways for distributing self-administered
  questionnaires, for example, by mailing or faxing
  questionnaires to pple, by posting them on websites, by
  distributing them at certain locations & places, by
  including them as inserts in magazines & so forth

• Researchers who have to interpret self-administered
  questionnaires have to be skillful at trying to understand
  what is being conveyed to them in written or electronic -
  rather than verbal - form
Mail Questionnaire Surveys
                          A mail questionnaire survey is a
                          self-administered questionnaire
                          dispatched to respondents thru′
                          the mail.

                          Mail questionnaires surveys
                          have several advantages &
Cost – They are comparatively cheaper to conduct
than personal interviews & telephone surveys, but can
still be quite costly bse of the costs of printing &
mailing questionnaires, & possible follow-up actions
• Interviewer Absence – Respondents may attach a different
  subjective meaning to questionnaires, which are outside the
  control or influence of the interviewer who cannot be
  consulted or queried. Respondents may thus misunderstand
  certain questions or aspects of the survey

• Standardized Questions – Misunderstanding of questions on
  the part of the respondent can create problems since no
  interviewer is present to answer queries or clarify
  misunderstandings or overcome comprehension problems.

• Wrong Respondents – Questionnaires may not be answered
  by target respondents, instead, the task of filling up the
  questionnaire is delegated to other pple.
• Time Factor – Mail questionnaire surveys may be
  inappropriate if time is very limited & information is needed
  quickly. Usually, it can take a few weeks before completed
  mail questionnaires are received, follow-up action initiated &
  the information analyzed

• Length of Mail Questionnaire – If the questionnaire is quite
  long (usually > 6 pages), respondents must give considerable
  effort & may not be willing to invest the effort. Sometimes, this
  reluctance can be overcome by using incentives.

• Social Factors – The response rate is dependent on socio-econ.
  factors such as education level of respondent & his/her econ.
  status. More educated & well-to-do respondents, & those with
  more interest in the subject of the survey, tend to reply more to
  questionnaires than respondents with less education.
• Geographic Flexibility – Mail questionnaires can be
  distributed over a geographically wide area simultaneously &
  quickly, including to respondents who may live in remote or
  not so cheaply accessible areas, & respondents who may not
  be easy to reach.

• Responent Convenience – Questionnaires can be filled out
  at the respondents convenience. The respondent has time to
  think about his or her answer which may provide more
  accurate data & information to the interviewer than would be
  possible in the case of personal interviews or telephone

• Interviewer Absence – Respondents may be willing to
  disclose sensitive information in a mail survey which they
  may not be willing to do if being interviewed personally.
 How to Increase Response Rates for Mail Surveys

• Write a cover letter
• Money helps
      - As a token of appreciation

• Advanced notification

• Stimulate respondents’ interest with interesting questions
• Follow Up
       - Keying questionnaires with codes
• Sponsorship by a well-known & prestigious institution

Fax Questionnaire Surveys

A survey in which questionnaires are distributed and/or
returned through fax machines

• Reduction in printing & postage costs for the researcher
  and faster distribution and return than through mail

• Not all respondents have fax machines & some
  respondents may not want to return the fax if transmission
  cost is high due to geographical distance. Other
  disadvantages are the as with mail questionnaire surveys.
E-Mail Questionnaire Surveys
A survey in which questionnaires are distributed and
returned via email. Surveys conducted with email are
especially suited for time-sensitive issues

Advantages- Speed of distribution, lower distribution &
processing costs, faster turnaround time, more flexibility.

Disadvantages- Not all respondents have emails. There may
be concerns on the part of respondents about confidentiality;
the format of emails can differ considerably depending on the
prog. used & the settings of respondents computer (spam
mgt). Moreover, respondents have different skill levels in
handling emails, especially complicated survey-related ones.
Internet questionnaire Surveys
• A self-administered questionnaire posted on a Website.
  Respondents provide answers to questions displayed
  online by highlighting a phrase, clicking an icon, or
  keying in an answer.


• access to a large (possibly global) audience on 24-hour
• Real-time data entry & analysis
• More accurate data capture if properly programmed
• obtaining confidential, anonymous answers quickly &
• No costs for paper, postage, data entry & administrative

• Large samples can be larger than with interviews &
  other types of self-administered questionnaires.

• Questionnaires can include use of appealing multimedia
  aids including photographs or drawings of prototypes.
• Callbacks are automated (if response incomplete or not
• email can be used to invite respondents to visit the
  website, for e.g. to participate in panels.
• Flexible & personalized questioning of respondents.
Disadvantages- internet questionnaire surveys

• Many people in the general population do not have access
  to the internet.
• Different levels of technology may be prevalent (broadband
  or dial-up connectivity) which may result in some users not
  being able to access information as quick as others.
• Hardware deficiencies &/or software incompatability
• Different computer skill levels.
• Physical incentives (e.g. inclusion of money) is not
  possible, only the promise of a future reward.
• Research on internet surveys is small & so are ideas for
  improving response rates.
   You can read about other Types of
self-administered questionnaire surveys.

Questionnaire Design
Before starting to design a questionnaire, write a study

Basic Rules
• On first page
    – Return address
    – Study title
• On all pages
    – Identifier
    – Page numbers
• Numbered questions
• Instructions
  (in bold or italic)

Structure of a questionnaire

1.   Introductory cover letter
2.   Identification
3.   Instructions on how to answer
4.   Questions
5.   Conclusion

1. Example of an introductory cover letter

Good morning,
My name is ..... , I work for ……..
You may have been already informed that a survey on risk
factors for being stung by a jellyfish will be done this week
in Kabaka’s Lake, Mengo. This study has been approved by
the national ethical committee. Only anonymous data will be
analysed. You have been randomly selected to participate in
this study. Your participation is voluntary. The interview is
about 15 minutes long.

I will start with the first question .....
2. Identification

 –   Each questionnaire/interviewed person must be
     Example :     I_I I_I_I I_I_I

      interviewer N°   district N°   person N°

 –   Demographic data : age, sex …

 –   Identifiers kept separately from names (anonymous)

3. Instructions on how to answer

• Give clear instructions about how to answer the questions
  – Use different fonts (e.g. italics)

• Give instruction which questions can be skipped
  & where to jump to.

Example: I will ask you a few questions about your
relationship with jellyfish. You will answer by yes or no

If no, go to question 27

4. Questions

A.   Content
B.   Order
C.   Format
D.   Problems & pitfalls
E.   Coding

A. Content of questions

v Clear focus on research questions
     • avoid sidetracking
     • avoid unnecessary information

B. Question order

v Decide on the order of items/questions
   • easy        ®     difficult
   • general     ®     particular
   • factual     ®     abstract

v Group questions by topic

v Be aware of ordering effects

v Don’t put the most important items last

v Where to place sensitive questions?
C. Format of questions

Read about advantages & disadvantages of
closed & open-ended question formats.

Dichotomous Questions

• When a question has two possible responses, we
  consider it dichotomous. Surveys often use
  dichotomous questions that ask for a Yes/No,
  True/False or Agree/Disagree response.
• E.g.
vDo you believe that death penalty is ever justified?
 ￿ Yes       ￿ No

vPlease indicate your sex
 ￿ Male        ￿ Female
Questions Based on Level of Measurement
Rank order question
• You might ask respondents to rank order their preferences for
  presidential candidates using an ordinal question: Rank the
  candidates in order of your preference from best to worst.
▬   Besigye Kizza Kifefe – Ipc & Forum For Democratic Change
▬   Abed Bwanika – People’s Development Party
▬   Beti Olive Namisango Kamya – Uganda Federal Alliance
▬   Samuel Lubega Walter Mukaaku – Independent
▬   Mao Norbert – Democratic Party
▬   Yoweri Kaguta Museveni – National Resistance Movement
▬   Olara Otunnu – Uganda People’s Congress
▬   Bidandi-Ssali Jaberi – People’s Progressive Party

• We want the respondent to put a 1, 2, 3, 4 up to 8 next to the
  candidate, where 1 is the respondent's first choice.         75
Interval level questions - Likert response scale

• We can also construct survey questions that attempt to
  measure on an interval level. One of the most common
  of these types is the traditional 1-to-5 rating (or 1-to-7, or
  1-to-9, etc.). This is sometimes referred to as a Likert
  response scale.

• Here, we see how we might ask an opinion question on a
  1-to-5 bipolar scale (it's called bipolar because there is a
  neutral point & the two ends of the scale are at opposite
  positions of the opinion).

18. Death penalty is justifiable under some circumstances.
   1￿ I strongly disagree
   2￿ I disagree
   3￿ I neither agree or disagree
   4￿ I agree
   5￿ I strongly agree

19. Capital punishment in the form castration is the best
    way to deal with male rapist
   1￿ I strongly disagree
   2￿ I disagree
   3￿ I neither agree or disagree
   4￿ I agree
   5￿ I strongly agree
Interval level questions - semantic differential scale

• Another interval question uses an approach call the
  semantic differential.

• Here, an object is assessed by the respondent on a set of
  bipolar adjective pairs (using 5-point rating scale).

• E.g.

Example of semantic differential scaling

Interval level questions - Cumulative or Guttman

Finally, we can also get at interval measures by using
what is called a cumulative or Guttman scale.

Here, the respondent checks each item with which they

The items themselves are constructed so that they are
cumulative -- if you agree to one, you probably agree to
all of the ones above it in the list.
Example of Cumulative or Guttman scale

Please tick each statement that you agree with:

￿ Are you willing to permit immigrants to live in your
￿ Are you willing to permit immigrants to live in your
￿ Are you willing to permit immigrants to live in your
￿ Would you be willing to have an immigrant live next
  door to you?
￿ Would you let your child marry and immigrant?
Filter or Contingency Questions

• Sometimes you have to ask the respondent one question
  in order to determine if they are qualified or
  experienced enough to answer a subsequent one.

• This requires using a filter or contingency question.

• For instance, you may want to ask one question if the
  respondent has ever smoked marijuana & a different
  question if they have not.

• In this case, you would have to construct a filter
  question to determine whether they've ever smoked
  marijuana. E.g.
Example of Filter or Contingency Questions

• The example above shows how you can make effective
  use of an arrow and box to help direct the respondent to
  the correct subsequent question.

• If you can't fit the response to a filter on a single page,
  it's probably best to be able to say something like "If
  YES, please turn to page 4" rather that "If YES, please
  go to Question 38" …..

• Because the respondent will generally have an easier
  time finding a page than a specific question.

D. Problems & pitfalls

And finally,

• Don’t forget to thank the interviewed persons.

• Tell them when the results will be available
  & where.


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