Digital or e-Marketing Research for Strategy Development
Conducting Qualitative and Quantitative Feedback – Focus Respondent Interviews for Survey Instrument Development
Following outlines steps in applying research techniques for marketing using a MBA cohort of professionals of diverse backgrounds mostly based in Europe.
Limited interviews, both face to face and email based, were conducted with selected former students and industry stakeholders for experiential feedback to ascertain or confirm important factors. After analysis of feedback, this led onto the development of a simple survey instrument with the factors or clusters of elicited, making up dimensions or phases (Saunders et al., 2009). One could then measure or relate the importance of each factor in the information search amongst a related population or student cohort, then drawing inferences, but neither correlations nor causal relationships.
While optimal language and communication skills are important for questionnaires, there must be a process of researching, identifying and forming the questions to be included in a survey, that leads to valid and reliable data for analysis; one cannot go back after collecting survey data.
Ordinal Likert scales can be used to assess the strength of perceptions on relevant factors, on a three, five or seven-point range and can indicate order e.g. not very important through neutral to very important. Ideally scales are applied to many factors or questions leading to inference of a construct explaining the research focus. In this study, simply assessing relevance of each factor grouped as phases or dimensions for inclusion e.g. if deemed to be important or very important by students (Bell, 2005).
While the quantitative data collection or survey was a ‘probability sample’ or ‘representative sampling’ i.e. all from the same online MBA cohort, to allow inferences to be made about the population, the ‘Focus Respondents’ informing the survey development represented ‘non-probability’ sampling for convenience or streamlining.
By accessing ‘Focus Respondents’ and gaining input from potential population, also including informed input from industry personnel, industry and scholastic research; a valid survey instrument could be developed (Saunders at al., 2009).
The sample population of university students surveyed represent the population’s ‘information seeking’ behaviour, through collecting quantitative data from this representative sample of enrolled European University students in online MBA program.
Ideally this could have been expanded further amongst other sample populations for comparison and cross tabulation, but the scope of this study precluded inclusion, however actual colleges, public organisations and SME business workplaces can replicate the process.
Bell, J. (2005) Doing Your Research Project. (4th Ed.). Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Saunders, M., Lewis, P. & Thornhill, A. (2009) Research Methods for Business Students. (5th Ed.) Harlow UK: Pearson Education Ltd.