Descriptive and Causal Research - Radford University
Descriptive Research Marketing Research MKTG 446 Angela DAuria Stanton, Ph.D. Descriptive Research Descriptive research (often referred to as survey research) is aimed at characterizing phenomena and identifying association among selected variables. Descriptive research can be used to: describe the characteristics of certain groups estimate the proportion of people in a specified population who behave in a certain way make specific predictions Some specific examples of descriptive studies include: The proportion of companies that have an electronic storefront Target customer's evaluation of key product attributes Measuring employee satisfaction Classification of Descriptive Studies Longitudinal
the true panel the single measures over time field studies/surveys Longitudinal Surveys Cross-Sectional Provides a series of pictures that, when pierced together, provide a movie of the situation the changes that are occurring. The sample remains relatively constant through time and the sample members are measured repeatedly. Cross-Sectional Studies Provides a snapshot of the variables of interest at a single point in time. The sample is typically selected to be representative of some known universe. Longitudinal Data Advantages Single Measures Over Time: The Tracking Study Consumer or Business Panel Allows turnover analysis
Allows collection of a great deal more classification information from respondents Tends to produce more representative samples of population of interest Produces fewer errors due to respondent's behavior being affected by the measurement task Allows the investigation of a great many relationships Allows longer and more exacting interviews Produces fewer error in reporting past behavior because of natural forgetting Produces fewer interviewerinterviewee interaction error An Example of a Panel Design Number of Households in Panel Purchasing Each Brand of Detergent
TABLE 1 Brand Purchased At Time Period 1 At Time Period 2 A 200 250 B 300 270 C 350 330 D 150 150 Total 1,000 1,000 TABLE 2A Turnover Analysis At Time Period 2 At Time Period 1
T1 Total Bought A Bought B Bought C Bought D Bought A 175 25 0 0 200 Bought B 0 225 50 25 300 Bought C 0 0 280 70
350 Bought D 75 20 0 55 150 T2 Total 250 270 330 150 1,000 Another Way of Looking at It Loyalty Analysis At Time Period 2 At Time Period 1 T1 Total Bought A Bought B Bought C
Bought D Bought A 87.5% 12.5% 0.0% 0.0% 100% Bought B 0.0% 75.0% 16.7% 8.3% 100% Bought C 0.0% 0.0% 80.0% 20.0% 100% Bought D 50.0%
13.3% 0.0% 36.7% 100% Survey Research Methods Personal Interview Telephone Self-Administered Online (computer administered) Survey Research Methods Personal Interviews (or Person Administered Surveys) requires the presence of a trained human interviewer who asks questions and records the subjects answers In-home or In-office Executive interview Mall intercept Purchase intercept Personal Interviews Advantages
By physically being there, the interviewer may persuade the person to supply answers (probably the highest response rate). Information on the situation may be observed, without asking. Best for getting response from specific, identified person. Versatility of questioning methods (and flexibility in sequencing) and use of visual materials. Allows for probing of open-ended questions and clarification of ambiguous questions. Long questionnaires may be used successfully under interviewer's urging. If the respondent is having trouble understanding, interviewer may notice and remedy this. Selection of sample members can be more precise. Disadvantages
Expensive and time intensive. Generally narrow distribution. People may be reluctant to talk with strangers. Often difficult to identify individuals to include in the sampling frame. Interviewer's presence, mannerisms and inflections may bias responses. Respondents know that they can be identified, which may inhibit their willingness to give information. Great difficulty in trying to supervise and control field interviewers. Staffing with capable interviewers, especially when conducted in distant places. May inaccurately record respondents answers Survey Research Methods Telephone Interviews personal interviews conducted via telephone technology typically from a central location Advantages Relatively low cost
Wide distribution eliminates distance obstacle Callbacks Avoids personal travel to interview Rapid coverage of even widely scattered sample. Interviewers can be closely supervised Less interview bias due to anonymity Allows easy use of computer support (CATI/CAI) Disadvantages Representative sampling frame difficult to establish due to unlisted numbers and increased use of cell phones Inability to observe a respondent Limitation to audio materials Difficulty of conducting long interviews; no way to prevent hang-ups More difficult to establish rapport over the telephone than in-person Difficult to determine that appropriate respondent is being interviewed Restrictions on types of data collected Misperceptions and sugging Telephone Interviews Results of First Dialing Attempts Result
No answer Busy Out of service No eligible person Business At home: Refusal Completion Total Number of Dialings Probability of Occurrence 89,829 5,299 52,632 75,285 10,578 25,465 3,707 21,758 259,088 .347 .020 .203 .291 .041 .098 .014 (.146)* .084 (.854) 1.000 * Probability of occurrence given eligible individual is at home What to do about lack of listed numbers & cell phones?
Plus-one dialing Random digit dialing Systematic random digit dialing Survey Research Methods Self-Administered the respondent reads the survey questions and record his/her own answers without the presence of an interviewer. Typically done via mail, fax or drop-off. Advantages Sampling frame easily developed when mailing lists are available Respondent reads and answers questions without interviewer influence May respond whenever convenient and without pressure Any visual materials can be used Relatively less expensive More confidential information may be divulged Anonymity of respondents easier to achieve Eliminates the need for an interviewer Disadvantages
A majority may not respond, and those who do may not be typical Significant time lag between the time the survey is mailed and when returned Nothing can be learned except what is written on the questionnaire The apparent low cost becomes relatively high when response is poor Questions may be misunderstood or skipped A person may read the entire form before answering any questions, so later questions can influence answers to earlier ones. Significant problems in "pass along" effect. Survey Research Methods Online typically conducted via e-mail or the Internet Advantages
Survey setup and execution can be done very quickly Visual materials can be used Respondent responds without being influenced by the interviewer May respond whenever convenient and without pressure Typically the least expensive Can permit the respondent to be interrupted and later resume where he/ she left off Eliminates the cost of the interviewer. Permits real-time data cleaning Disadvantages Response rates are becoming an issue May be confused with spam. Will not be able to reach people without access or desire to use the Internet Nothing can be learned except what is written on the questionnaire No one present to stimulate replies or offer instructions. Potential for "pass along" effect. Respondent frustration if questionnaire forces response. Issues with projectability of the sample
Selecting a Survey Method: Factors to Consider Situation Characteristics Task Characteristics Budget Time frame Quality requirements (e.g. completeness of data, generalizability, of the results, etc.) Difficulty of the task Stimuli need to elicit response Amount of information needed Research topic sensitivity Respondent Characteristics Diversity Incidence rate Respondent participation Errors (or Bias) Affecting Survey Research Total Error = Sampling Error (difference between the
actual sample results and the true population results) + Non-Sampling (Systematic) Error Non-Sampling Errors Respondent Errors Non-response error Response Bias Deliberate falsification (social desirability error, auspices error, hostility, yea and naysaying) Unconscious misrepresentation (faulty recollection, fatigue, acquiescence error, extremity bias) Non-Sampling Errors Measurement/Research Design Errors Construct development error Scale measurement error (inappropriate questions, scale attributes or scale point descriptors) Survey instrument error (improper sequence, length, poor or no instructions, etc.) Data analysis error (use of wrong analytical
technique, etc.) Misinterpretation error (making the wrong inference, using only a selected portion of the study results) Non-Sampling Errors Problem Definition Errors Misinterpreting the true nature of the problem situation Administrative Errors Data processing errors (coding, data entry or editing) Interviewer error (cheating, recording error, misinterpretation, carelessness Sample design error (sample selection error, sampling frame error, specifying the wrong population, etc.)
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