The goal of this assignment is to help you research and practise the APA (American Psychology Association) style of writing, citing, formatting and referencing. It is a style of writing of research papers in the social sciences. The grading is based on how well you can master APA style in writing a research proposal, not on the content of the proposal itself. However, your Open Learning Faculty Member must approve this proposal before you can submit any future assignments. The proposal approval is based on your understanding in drafting a good marketing research problem statement.
% of Final Grade
Using APA style:
(1) In-text citations (min. 5)
(2) Reference list (min.5)
(3) Page layout: Cover page and running head, headers, headings, subheadings, font style, font size, margins, paragraphs alignments, punctuations, endnotes, etc.
Writing a research proposal
Pass or resubmit
*To obtain full marks for each component, your work must satisfy the grading criteria at the end of the Assignment 1 instructions.
** If your proposal is not approved in the first submission, you will need to resubmit until it is approved. The assigned grade is for the first submission and will not be changed.
PART A: RESEARCH APA STYLE
You are required to research publications on how to prepare an APA paper. Find creditable sources for your information. For example, the reference format for APA Style is described in the sixth edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association at apastyle.org. You can also find APA Citation Style under the APA Citation Style link at TRU Library at http://libguides.tru.ca/apa. Some students find watching a few YouTube videos helpful. Be cautious when choosing which to watch and believe. That will sharpen your research skills.
APA Style is more than citing and referencing your sources properly. It also includes specific requirements in formatting a paper and using punctuation. You are required to use this style in writing all assignments.
Learning APA takes time, and this assignment is the first step in beginning this process (if you haven’t done so in a previous course). Be sure to give full and complete references for all of your research while writing your research proposal.
PART B: REVIEW ASSIGNMENT REQUIREMENTS AND CHOOSE A PRODUCT
To ensure that you have enough users and sellers for you to conduct your research, choose a consumer-branded product that is purchased frequently. If you are stuck for an idea, visit the trendwatching.com at http://www.trendwatching.com/trends/ to see what trends might make certain product categories more interesting. Think along the line of your personal hobbies, but not your current or previous employment. Be aware that all research projects must uphold research ethical standards written in the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (see: http://www.pre.ethics.gc.ca/pdf/eng/tcps2/TCPS_2_FINAL_Web.pdf). This is NOT a good idea to use your employer’s product/service because it can potentially violate the Privacy Act of Canada and involve situations with power dynamics. Remember, most data collected by your employer are for conducting business; not to be used for any research project (unless consent has been obtained from their customers). Imagine if you are a branch manager of a bank who ask your subordinates to fill out your survey, do they really have freedom to reject your request? This is the power dynamics that may arise (i.e. violate the tri-council policy).
Consider some practical issues when making your choice:
Is there substantial secondary research available on this product? Take some time to do an Internet search for resources such as trade magazines, industry associations, Statistics Canada, and competitor websites. Do not use a company that does not have publicly available information or is not currently operating.
Can you reach enough customers of this product to get some good customer information (i.e. to meet the sample size requirements)? Perhaps you or a friend or relative have a network of people that use this product. You may find an expert in the field willing to let you approach their customers, but do not count on this—make arrangements now if this is what you are hoping to do. Do not consider your current employment resources (internal information or client lists, etc.) without permission from supervisors/owners and/or consents from the company’s clients. It can become junk mail or spam.
PART C: SUBMIT YOUR ASSIGNMENT PLAN TO YOUR OPEN LEARNING FACULTY MEMBER
Prepare to send your Open Learning Faculty Member a 750-word research proposal, written in APA style. Include the following seven (7) parts in the proposal. Ensure that you use the following headings to help readers navigate your paper.
- Introduction: Write a brief paragraph to tell the reader what this paper is about and what you are trying to achieve.
- Product overview: This is the name-brand product (not just a product category) that you will be using for your assignments. Include a brief description of what the product is and why you have chosen it. Include a link to the product website, if available.
- Problem definition: Think about the major issues the manager is facing. Is it a new product that needs to increase awareness or secure wider distribution? Is it a mature product that is facing fierce price competition or “me-too” products? Write one or two management decision questions that your assignments will address.Use the conceptual map to develop a marketing research problem statement that reflects what information is needed for the management decision problem. You need to clearly demonstrate what the relationships are between the management decision problem and the marketing research problem. What kind of question is research-able? This is an important starting point because the other assignments build upon your marketing research problem statement. If you like, you can also include the specific research components, the sub-questions that this research will address. You must include one (1) marketing research question. This question will guide the entire project in data collection.Hints:For a better understanding of the management-decision problem, the marketing research problem, and of the differences between the two concepts, review and read pages 47–50 of the textbook.
- Assignment 2, Part A: Secondary Research: Think about where you will find good information about your product, consumers, competitors, and industry. Take some time to search the web to see if good information is likely to be available on your product. Write two to three sentences that describe what you expect to be the best sources of information. You need to be confident that you can find ten creditable sources of secondary information.
- Assignment 3, Part B: Focus Group: Think about whom you want in your focus group—current customers, prospective customers, customers from a certain target market. How will you get a group like this together and willing to volunteer their time to participate in this research? You probably do not want to count on finding strangers to do this with—so consider your friends, colleagues, your family and their friends and colleagues, and your neighbours. Write a couple of sentences about what your plan is. You’ll need a minimum of six people to participate for a 45-minute discussion. It needs to deal with three research components or issues. Plan for extra people, in case some are not available at the last minute.
- Assignment 4, Descriptive Research: Think about what kinds of questions you might ask on your questionnaire. These will relate closely to the marketing research problem and the associated components that you have defined in this proposal. Also, think about where and how you will conduct the research. Who do you want to participate in the research—current customers, prospective customers, or a certain target market of your product? Write a couple of sentences that summarize your thoughts. You’ll need to have twenty-five participants or more (different from your focus group participants) complete a ten-question survey in person or online, which should take them about five minutes.
- Assignment 5, Part A: Report: Think about what topics (or research components) you will want to cover in your report. Make sure that these topics are closely related to the management decision problem and the marketing decision problem that you outlined in this plan. Write a few sentences to explain how the data can be analysed and interpreted, and what kind of recommendations and conclusion you can draw. Does the analytical tools appropriate to your marketing research problem? Make sure that you have access to Excel so you can complete the necessary data analysis.