Marketing Research (Exam)

Table of Content

Question 1 (7 points)

Industrial Health Technologies, Ltd. (IHT), located on the East Coast, is a manufacturer of industrial respirators.  The Research and Development (R & D) department recently designed a prototype respirator for the asbestos-abatement industry that is battery powered and would extend the operating life of current models from 8 to 30 hours without recharging.  A similar model introduced by Deep Mine Safety Apparatus (DMSA) four months earlier was marginally successful.  However, both IHT’s and DMSA’s models suffered from a technical flaw.  It was found that use of the respirators without recharging for 30 hours required 18 hours of recharging to return the batteries to a state of full charge.  Notwithstanding this technical flaw, IHT’s management team, headed by Chuck Montford, was excited about R & D’s efforts.  Carl Corydon, IHT’s marketing manager, and Chuck had decided to do a sample survey to ++A random of 100 asbestos-abatement firms was to be chosen from a list of East Coast federally licensed asbestos-abatement firms.  Mail questionnaires were designed to determine respondents’ attitudes and opinions towards this new respirator.
(2 pts)        (a) Identify the underlying research objective(s) in this one.

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The research objective in this case is setting out to gauge customers’ reactions in relation to the capability of the new battery.  The Industrial Health Technologies Ltd, (IHT) team would like to establish  how consumers perceived the prototype respirator which although which can stay 30 hrs without recharging, requires an additional 18 hours of recharging so that the full state of battery charge can be returned and maintained.

The other objective relates to the technical flaw that the respirator posses basing on the customers opinions and attitude. The technical flaw that is experienced by this prototype respiratory device is that it cannot charge for a shorter time despite its long duration in sustaining the amount of battery charge that it has. The Research and Development department at Industrial Health Technologies, Ltd has therefore embarked on a mission to establish the reasons behind this technological flaw carrying out a sample survey that will be able to establish why this prototype respiratory takes a lot of time while charging. Therefore the objectives are conceived with an aim of satisfying a need in the organization. How specific,measurable, realiable, achievable and timebound objectives are determine whether the research will achieve their goals and obtain valid results.

(2 pts)        (b) What type of research design is being used?

The research design which is used in the case above is an experiment carried out by performing a sample survey to ++A random of a total of 100 aspects – abatement firms.  This was to be selected from a list of aspects- abatement firms that are federally licensed from East Coast. In addition mail questionnaires will also be distributed to various people so that their opinions about the device can be established. This therefore makes it a quantitative research that applies the use of questionnaires in order to obtain valuable information to aid in the establishment of hypotheses and research questions.

The type of design is a causal research describes the causation elements in this case it is a field experiment.  The research design used will apply the use of questionnaires that will be distributed in order to find out individuals opinions and attitudes as regards the use of prototype respirator which currently has technical flaws. Causation will be determined in terms of explaining why people do not find the device to be effective.


(3 pts)       (c) Is the research design appropriate?  If yes, why?  If no, why not?

The above research design is appropriate.  This is because it has the capability of providing information on any relationships relating to cause-and-effect. The cause and effect analysis will be able to determine why the prototype respiratory takes a long time to charge and what can be done to solve this problem. In addition, the impact of one variable on another is also established. This variable could be explained in terms of dependent and independent variables. Independent variables influence the outcome of dependent variables and in this case the firm wants to establish what factors influence the device’s duration in sustaining its battery capacity.


Question 2 (5 Points)


2.                     Airways Luggage is a producer of cloth-covered luggage, one of the primary

advantages of which is its light weight.  The company distributes its luggage through major department stores, mail order houses, clothing retailers, and other retail outlets such as stationary stores, leather goods stores, and so on.  The company advertises rather heavily, but it also supplements this promotional effort with a large staff of sales representatives, numbering around 400.  The numbers vary because one of the historical problems confronting Airways Luggage has been the large number of sales representatives’ resignations.  It is not unusual for 10 to 20 percent of the sales force to turn over every year.  Since the cost of training a new person is estimated at $5,000 to $10,000, not including the lost sales that might result because of a personnel switch, Mrs. Brooks, the sales manager, is rightly concerned.  She has been concerned for some time and, therefore, has been conducting exit interviews with each departing sales representative.  On the basis of these interviews, she has formulated the opinion that the major reason for this high turnover is general sales representatives’ dissatisfaction with company policies, promotional opportunities, and pay.  Top management, however, has not been sympathetic to Mrs. Brooks’ pleas regarding the changes needed in these areas of corporate policy.  Rather, it was tended to counter Mrs. Brooks’ pleas with arguments that to much of what she is suggesting is based on her gut reactions and little hard data.  Top management desires more systematic evidence that job satisfaction, in general, and these dimensions of job satisfaction, in particular, are the real reasons for the high turnover before they would be willing to change things.  Mrs. Brooks has called on the Marketing Research Department in Airways Luggage to assist her in solving this problem.


(2 pts)                 (a) Does Mrs. Brooks have a specific hypothesis?  If yes, state

the hypothesis.

Mrs. Brooks does have a specific hypothesis. The hypothesis is that the major reason for high turnover of sales representatives from Airways luggage is their dissatisfaction as regards the company’s promotional opportunities, pay and policies.  Airways luggage firm is currently experiencing high turn over rates among its sale representatives and the company does not know the exact reason behind this and this is why it wants to establish the real reasons behind this.

However, Mrs. Brooks and the other top management have their own reasons and have formulated their own hypotheses. The top management on the other hand feels that the high turn over rates among the sale representatives of the firm is because they have acquired the desired job satisfaction and therefore would like a switch in order to establish change somewhere else.

(3 pts)                 (b) What type of research design would you recommend to Mrs. Brooks?

Justify your answer.

I would recommend Mrs. Brooks to use a qualitative research design.  This is because a qualitative research design attempts to keenly establish the behavior of various variables in their natural setting. The natural setting in this case means that the employee behavior is closely monitored from the workplace and this will be done through the use of interviews hence gaining response at firsthand. Qualitative research design is able to create comprehensive and in-depth information by applying interviews. By using the qualitative research design, Mrs. Brooks will be able to establish the main reason as to why there is high turn over of sales representatives at Airways luggage and find the appropriate solutions.

Question 3 (8 points)

3.   Emilie Malti, president of Jamaican Specialties, a specialty food marketing firm, was convinced that the target audience for her line of Caribbean conserves in mango, lime, passion fruit, and papaya consisted of women, age 25 to 44, with household incomes of $30,000 and up. Jamaican Specialties’ major competitor’s (Pacific Flavor) market segment appeared to be more widely dispersed with respect to both age and income.  Emilie and her marketing vice-president, Ruth Marion, attributed this difference to the type of magazines in which Pacific Flavor advertised.  Emilie and Ruth decided to conduct a study to determine the socioeconomic characteristics of their firm’s market segment.  They formed a panel of 800 women ages 18 and up. Mail questionnaires would be sent to all panel members.  One month after receiving all questionnaires, the company would again send similar questionnaires to all of the panel members.

(2 pts)        (a) What is the research objective(s)?

The research objective established in the above scenario concerns the determination of some of the socioeconomic characteristics of the Jamaican specialties’ market segment.  The reason is that Jamaican Specialties’ competitor pacific Flavor has taken control over the entire market segment with respect to income and age as seen through its target audience. Jamaican Specialties firm is unable to retain its target market effectively because it’s closest competitor Pacific Flavor has taken charge and therefore the firm has set out to establish the socioeconomic characteristics of its market segment. The firm wishes to use mail questionnaires for its research by also forming a panel that consists of 800 women who are 18 years and above.

(2 pts)        (b) What type of Research design is being used?

The above type of research design being used is the quantitative research design. Quantitative research design normally uses a large sample or population while conducting the research study.  This is seen through the mail questionnaires that Jamaican specialties firm is using to establish its socioeconomic characteristics in its market segment. Through the use of questionnaires, Jamaican Specialties will be able to establish its socioeconomic characteristics and why nit is behind its competitor in the target market segment hence formulating the appropriate research question to address the situation. The information is bound to be collected from a wider range because of the population.

(4 pts)        (c) Is the design appropriate for the research objective(s)?  If yes, why?  If not

appropriate, what is an appropriate design?

The above research design is appropriate for the research objective.  It is a quantitative research that covers a range of various techniques, in this case, a questionnaire.  The main objective of administering these questionnaires is to be able to get information which is required for effective decision making processes in the firm as regards its socioeconomic characteristics in the market segment. This is also appropriate as it mainly focuses on large group of individuals or population, unlike the qualitative one which is small. In this case, 800 women who are 18 years and above are randomly selected to be used in the firm’s research.

Question 4 (7 points)

4.         In 1985 one of the largest firms of stock brokers in the United States notes that

its option trading business was growing extremely rapidly.  This growth had occurred even though the firm had never had an active training program in options for its account executives.  The top management of the company believed that by instituting a comprehensive training program in options for its account executives, their sales performance could be further improved.  With this goal in mind, the firm’s training department put together a comprehensive training program in options utilizing a number of leading business and academic experts.  The fifty account executives in the New York area that had done the greatest volume of options trading in the first six months of 1985 were selected to participate in the course.  Before exposing further large groups of account executives to the new program, the firm decided to monitor the performance of the employees who had participated in the course.  In the first six months of 1986 the average option volume of these account executives rose by 5% over the comparable period in 1985.  The average option volume of the account executives in the New York area who had not participated in the program was 29% higher in the first six months of 1986 as compared to the comparable period in 1985.

(2 pts)              (a)   What is the experimental variable and what is the outcome variable?

The experimental variable in this scenario is the account executives who participated in the training program in options so as to determine the growth in the average option trading business in this firm.  This is also the independent variable.  The outcome variable of option trading of this firm and it is also the dependent variable. The account executives are being used as experiments through training to establish whether there will be a further increase in the company’s rate of options. On the other hand, the company’s growth in its options represents the outcome which is influenced by the dependent variable.

(2 pts)                          (b)  What type of experimental design is being used?

The type of experimental design which is being used is the true experimental design through the use of a control group.  The groups have been randomized into control and treatment groups. This experimental design is preferred due to its ability to bring out the desired outcome. The true experimental design is preferred in this particular study again due to its reliability and the fact that it is easy to administer. The expected outcome also plays a role in the choice of design as different designs can yield into conflicting results even where the variables remain unchanged. For purposes of replicability, the entire study design must be clear and easy to follow. This is the case for this study as it is clear which measurement instruments the research used.


(3 pts)                          (c)   What factors may have affected the result?

The validity of any results in a given study very much depend on whether they yield answers to the research problems highlighted in the hypothesis or research questions. Factors relating to internal and external validity factors that relate to intend validity include history, maturation, pre-testing, measuring instruments, statistical regression, differential selection, experimental mortality and interaction of factors. The process of data collection also had effects on the result. Obtaining data is the most important part of research studies since the data forms the basis upon which arguments are founded. Appropriate measures should be taken in the choice of data collection procedures to employ, defining the type of data to collect and how the data will be analyzed. Through this, one ensures accurate and dependable results.

History refers to the events that occur between the first two measures as well as experimental variable which could have an impact on the measurements.  Maturation refers to the degree of maturation which means to grow older or tired.

Factors relating to external validity include pre-testing, differential selection, experimental procedures, and multiple treatment interference. In a study of this nature, reliability of measurement tools is very central to the success of the study; usually the choice of the measurement tools is determined by the research design and the suitability depending on the sample size.

Question 5 (9 points)


5.         Steve Miles made his big move six months ago.  He quit his job as director of retail marketing at the largest bank in the state to become marketing manager for Action Federal Savings and Loan.  It had been only three-and-a-half years since he received his bachelor’s degree in marketing at the largest university in the state.  But he was bright, personable, and ambitious.  Now, after several months of orientation at Action Federal (Steve called it “Mickey Mouse”), he was beginning his own marketing operations.  Roberta Nimoy from City University was hired as his marketing research assistant.

Steve wanted to do an image study of each of the 13 branches of Action Federal

located through out the state.  The main branch and three others were located in the capital city and nearby suburbs; these were housed in tall office buildings in down town locations.  The other branches were located in rural areas, and their architecture was designed around the surroundings.  One was located in a restored colonial home.  Another, the Old Mill branch, located next to a park with a historic windmill, was designed to be compatible with the nearby river and mill.

Steve asked Roberta to develop the sampling plan for the study.  After some

investigation, she learned that all the accounts were alphabetically listed in the main

branch’s computer.  She thought that a list of names and addresses could be generated

by taking a sample of 1,300.  The computer would be programmed to randomly select

every nth name.  Since the savings and loan had approximately 112,000 customers, every 86th name would be selected.

(2 pts)        (a) What is the research objective?

The main research objective is to establish an image study each of the currently 13 branches of Action Federal Savings and Loan. This is intended to determine whether customers in the area are satisfied with the services that are being offered by the Action Federal Savings and Loan organization. This will be done through the development of a sampling plan that will be used in carrying out the research.

In the process, objectives will be established which will be helpful in the formulation of research questions. The 13 branches that are distributed will be brought together through sampling techniques by picking a portion of the population consisting of 1,300 while at the same time randomly programming the available computers picking every 86th customer for the sample study.

(2 pts)        (b) What is Action Federal’s current sampling plan?

The current sampling plan consists of all the accounts of Action Federal’s branches listed in an alphabetical order in the main branch’s computer. Action Federal has 13 branches which are located throughout the state with the main branch and the other three located in the city as well as the nearby suburbs whereas other branches are located in the rural areas having there architecture designed around surroundings. However, Action Federal wants to restructure its current sampling plan to a more appropriate one (Churchill, 99).

(2 pts)        (c) What are the limitations of the current plan?

The current plan does not have the full information as regards the names and addresses of the customers. Moreover, these names are alphabetically listed in the main branch computer. This therefore makes it difficult to conduct a comprehensive study on the company’s image since there is lack of full information as regards the firm’s 13 branches. The other limitation is that the company’s records are centralized in only one place and that is the company’s main branch computer. This is risky since the company’s records on its progress as relates to the other 13 branches which are distributed may not be sufficient.

Clearly,  Steve is faced with the constraint of finances as what he would love implemented is a comprehensive plan which the company may for the time being find quite challenging. Therefore , finances are a constraint to the study. What Steve needs to do is to convince the management about the importance of the study to the organization and therefore make the rest of he management team understand why the study is important despite the costs involved. Another constraint is time, since the organization is looking for quick problem-fixing which means that, there is pressure on Steve to deliver results. This can be challenging to researchers considering that an effective study requires proper scheduling and any sort of pressure may act negatively on the results of the study.

Finally, since a study, no matter how well designed it is, can lack in constraints, what is required is for the researchers to put in control such constraints once they are identified in order to ensure tat, they do not compromise on the reliability and validity of the results.

(3 pts)        (d) What would be an appropriate? Explain

The appropriate plan will be to take a sample of 1,300 names and addresses of its customers and carry out a random selection picking every 86th name so as to carry out a research on the image of Action Federal Savings and Loan. This plan is far much better than the one currently adopted by the study in that it promises to be less flawed and is more appropriate.


Question 6 (4 points)

6. Comment on the following statements in terms of whether they are correct or not

(1 pt)         (a)   Focus groups are useful for testing hypotheses.

Focus groups are used in exploring various issues that are specific.  Individuals who are chosen are brought together so that a specific profile is met.  These individuals could be homogeneous, heterogeneous and a structured setting which is formal is used in exploring a number of limited questions.  Interaction among members is enhanced in focus groups.

Quantitative methods such as surveys are also used in focus groups for effective discussion through the exploration of people’s feelings and thoughts.  Focus groups are therefore useful in generating hypotheses since it is a participatory method of generating news and opinions during research.  They are useful especially in the establishment of early understanding of issues that create controversy hence helps in the generation of research questions.

The generated hypotheses are used for testing later on in research work.  Moreover, focus groups are efficient, quick, flexible, and relatively easy to manage. However caution must be taken in deciding on the composition of focus groups. The first consideration is to ensure that, all ethical concerns are addressed as research subjects are likely to fail to open up whenever they think that, the questions are intrusive.

(1 pt)         (b)   A literature search is one of the quickest and most economical ways to develop hypotheses.

Also known as literature review, literature search demonstrates that, a researcher is ready to give credence to past research in his/her area of study. Indeed the literature search process calls for a researcher to consult past similar studies and identify research gaps which informs the kind of hypothesis to guide the intended study. With the advent of online libraries, it has become increasingly easy for researchers to retrieve information from any part of the world making it very possible to identify research gaps and come up with researchable ideas. A hypothesis must be answered at the end of the research process and therefore a good hypothesis is all that, matters in any given study.

There is a direct relationship between hypotheses and theory and hypothesis enables a researcher to determine if at all the research theory is correct. Hypotheses are developed in several ways and literature is one of the methods used in the development of hypothesis. It could be termed as one of the quickest as well as economical methods used in the development of hypotheses that would be used in the later stages of research to develop research questions.

Literature search is quick and effective since it gives permanent record of information which could literature on be referred back to. It is economical in that one does not have to use a lot of money to search for information as seen through the use of web information through the internet.





(1 pt)         (c)   Ideas of one focus group member can stimulate responses and ideas from other group members.

Focus groups have multiple reasons concerning their use.  Such reasons include determining if there are ready markets for a particular product, whether a product is acceptable as well as the level of awareness amongst consumers.

Ideas from one focus group member can stimulate responses and ideas from other group members since these participants mostly build themselves on the ideas of each other. Often, focus groups sessions are opportunities for members to learn and freely contribute to questions; this affords the researcher an opportunity to direct the group to the main issues. In addition, the researcher gets an opportunity to make sure that the discussion stays on course. Stimulation of new thoughts among the group members is generated in focus groups.

(1 pt)         (d)   What is the most appealing aspect of web surveys?

Surveys aim at garnering the required information in regard to the area of study. A good survey should be affordable, easy to administer, reliable, valid, not time- consuming as well as ability to reach as many respondents as possible and get the maximum number of responses possible.

Of all types of surveys, web surveys meet majority of the criteria listed above and this to a big extent makes them very appealing.

Web surveys are mostly used for data collection.  However, they pose methodological problems such as estimation problems, non response and coverage problems.

The most appealing aspect of web survey is that the design experiments that are conducted on population have findings that do not confound with errors related to coverage.  Population lists include email addresses and this allows easier matching of samples.  It may also include quite a number of elements such as visual, verbal and interactive.























Work Cited
Churchill, G, Jr. Marketing Research: Methodological Foundations, Seventh Edition, Fort

Worth: Dryden Press, 1999.



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