RESEACH PROPOSAL GUIDELINESObjectivesto identify organizations in need of information for improved managerial decision makingto conduct preliminary research that identifies the information needs of the organization for a specific area of concernto finalize the research design, focus of investigation, and proposed data collection methodsto create a valid and reliable survey instrumentto prepare a written research proposal that provides details for the proposed marketing research investigationResearch ProceduresStep 1: Identify a specific organization (or topic area) that might be the basis for a marketing research study. This process can start with online research, discussions with managers or consumers, or your observations in society or the marketplace. Your selection is likely to fall into one of these categories: local business—a restaurant, service provider, or other retailer with information needs related to customer satisfaction, product line, promotional activities, or marketing decisions nonprofit or community organization—attempts by agencies to increase donations,expand volunteer participation, or expand citizen awareness of various social concerns; these can include museums, blood donation agencies, youth assistance services, literacy programs, and food pantries.Step 2: Research the organization—prepare an in-depth analysis of the organization’s recent activities and potential areas of concern.Step 3: Select a specific topic area that could assist the organization with improved managerial decision making related to customer (client) satisfaction, product development, promotional message and media, pricing, donations, distribution, or other behaviors.Step 4: List the information needs of the organization related to this topic area. Identify specific data that would be desirable for improved managerial decision-making.Step 5: Additional suggested preliminary research might include:a library or web search for information related to the organization’s situation and related topics.interviews with organizational personnel or others familiar with the organization, industry, or topic area. (Note: a “client” meetingmay be appropriate to help you focus the direction and information needs of the study.)observations of consumer behavior, promotional activities, in-store displays, package design, competitor actions.Step 6: Create a problem statement to communicate the focus of the proposed research study. Examples may include:The problem of this study is to determine promotional activities to increase awarenessf volunteer opportunities;The problem of this study is to determine the attitudes and behaviors of college students regarding online buying of clothing;The problem of this study is to compare the influence of different advertising messages on consumer perceptions of customer service.Step 7: Develop research objectives (also called research questions) related to the specific topic area you will investigate. These objectives should prescribe the specific information needs of the study. Research objectives may be in one of two forms:as a statement, such as:To compare the attitudes of females and males regarding online financial services;To compare volunteer participation among freshman and seniors;To determine promotional messages for increasing nutritional awareness among young consumers (ages 7-10).or, in a question format:What are the promotional messages that could increase volunteer participation among college students?How do college students most frequently obtain information about the wise use of credit?Do females eat breakfast more often than males?Step 8: List hypotheses that could be tested statistically, such as:No significant difference exists between females and males regarding attitudes toward biologically modified food products;No significant difference exists between those majoring in business and those with other majors with regard to buying online. Other format variations for hypotheses include:Female consumers have a stronger brand preference than male consumers;Children exposed to more children’s television programming will respond more positively to products advertised on those programs than do children exposed to less children’s television programming.Step 9: Identify survey questions that would measure the objectives and hypotheses for the study. Have the proposed survey items reviewed for content validity by people knowledgeable in survey design and experts of the topic area. Step 10: Design the survey instrument considering the format (including codes) and flow of questions. Step 11: Develop recommendations for potential uses of findings. Step 12: Prepare the components of a research proposal as detailed below.TITLE PAGEINTRODUCTIONBACKGROUNDPOPULATIONPROBLEM STATEMENTRESEARCH OBJECTIVESHYPOTHESESPROPOSED DATA COLLECTION METHODSPROPOSED SAMPLING PLANPROPOSED SURVEY INSTRUMENT (include the survey document)PLANNED DATA ANALYSIS METHODS (provide details about SPSS-based statistical procedures to be used)POTENTIAL USES OF FINDINGS (provide managerial recommendations for alternative statistical test results)REFERENCES
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