Preparing a Brief Research Proposal for a Marketing Research Project

Assignment 1. Preparing a Brief Research Proposal for a Marketing Research
Project
The assignment requires you to draft a research proposal for a marketing research project.
The required structure of the proposal is described in detail on the next page. Please read it
carefully. In addition, please make sure that you follow the approach and examples from
the lecture and tutorial in completing this assignment.
In terms of the topic of your research proposal, the two options for you to choose from are
described below. You only need to do one of them. Note that if you were to choose option
B, your topic needs to be approved by the unit coordinator and the application to do so is
due 2 weeks prior to the assignment due date (March 31, 2022).
Option A – Qantas
Qantas (qantas.com.au) is Australia’s largest airline by fleet size and destinations offered.
However, its growth in recent years has hit a
snag due to global events such as travel
restrictions due to Covid-19 pandemic.
Currently, the airline is facing increasing criticism from ecological groups due to jet-fuel
emissions contributing to climate change. The airline recently announced its move to
introduce Green Tier Membership for customers to offset emissions from their flights and
improve sustainability credentials (see Sydney Morning Herald article).
Ms. Jo Boundy, CMO of Qantas Group, is planning to start a new promotion campaign for
this new Green Tier Membership program. However, it is unclear whether consumers
would opt for the membership tier and whether they find the benefits attractive. In
particular, she wishes to find out key factors that influence consumers’ decision to book
tickets on Qantas. Imagine that you are working for a marketing research company and has
been tasked to draft a marketing research proposal to help Jo with his endeavour.
As the marketing analyst, you have decided to propose a conclusive research design for this
proposal.
Option B – Choose your own topic! (prior approval required).
Pick a real business (i.e., a business with a physical presence in Melbourne or a website (if
online only)) and draft a research proposal to investigate the key components/determinants
of a customer attitude/behaviour variable that is important to the business. Before you
proceed further, you need to submit a one-page application to your unit coordinator
(Bhoomija) for approval. The last day to submit this application is March 31. The application
should include the following information.
• Your name
• the name of your tutor
• the name of the business, its physical address or url (whichever applicable)
• a brief description of what the business is about (no more than 80 words)
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• the marketing research problem (MRP) with components
• A brief (no more than 80 words) description of the managerial implication of the
research
• A brief explanation for your reason of choosing this business to study
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Required structure of the proposal
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In this unit, a research proposal states the researchers’ understanding of the purpose of the
study (MRP), the main research questions (RQ), the information needs, the research design
for gathering and analysing data, and the implementation of the proposed research design
through experiments or a survey questionnaire.
As you work on this assignment, it is important to keep in mind your target audience—i.e.,
the manager who is the decision maker. Think about what information he/she would like to
know before agreeing to commission the marketing research project and paying for its cost.
The sections of a research proposal and their contribution to the overall mark are described
in detail below. Note that the report must not exceed 1500 words in total.
1. The research problem (20%)
(a) Background
This section is designed to provide a short overview of what prompted the
need to seek marketing research (hints: key industry features of the airline
industry, effect of CoViD-19, main competitors). Please read the history of
this concept and how the company, Qantas, is functioning in Australia. This
section will include a description of the management problem facing the
organisation.
This section may explain recent changes in the marketplace, the competitive
situation and even explain previous research that has been conducted. The
information presented in this section will draw heavily from secondary data
sources (exploratory research). This should be based on what you write
below in section 2 where you discuss the potential managerial implication of
the research.
Hints: (1) when you do your reading and preliminary exploratory search,
focus your attention on identification of key factors that may help to address
the Management Decision Problem. (2) Please note that the data must exist
in the public domain (i.e. you cannot use confidential company information
or data).
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(b) Purpose of Research
This section is designed to provide a detailed description of the purpose of
the research and research objectives. That is, why is it important to
commission this research and why it is felt that research may be of use to
decision-making?
Research objectives are the detailed objectives of what you need to know
e.g. attitudes, behaviour, usage expectations, perceptions. Is it to
understand, evaluate or explore (qualitative objectives) or is it to measure,
record, or ascertain (quantitative objectives).
Well-articulated research objectives are essential to a good research project
even though they may be extremely difficult to formulate.
(c) Statement of the Problem
State the marketing research problem (MRP): the overall statement has been
provided to you in the topic section of this document. You need to formulate
and describe the main components of the MRP. Briefly explain what each
component is. You need to have at least 2 components.
2. Research approach (20%)
This section should describe your research approach.
(a) Research questions (RQs)
• Come up with at least 10 to 15 comparative and relational research
questions. Clearly identify which component each RQ corresponds to.
Collectively, they should cover ALL the components of your MRP.
• Justify the MRP components and RQs you proposed. Ideally, the justification
should be a discussion of at least two related studies from which you
identified the key factors to further investigate with your primary data
collection. If you propose to study how the focal customer attitude/behavior
could potentially vary across different demographic or customer groups,
briefly explain why you believe so.
You can use the studies that you found for exploratory research for the
Background section, or other studies relevant to your MRP components and
RQs.
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• Briefly describe the analytical model that encapsulates the MRP components
and RQs you proposed. This could be in the form of a diagram and/or textual
description.
• For each RQ, clearly identify the variables that need to be measured to
answer the research question. For example, if the research question is “do
women consume fast food more frequently than men?” The variables would
be “gender” and “fast food consumption”
(b) A brief discussion of the managerial implication of your potential findings.
Discuss the potential managerial implication. For example, if you do find that
customer satisfaction varies by income, how could your client use this
information for their business decision making? This discussion should be
based on the specific questions you proposed. This serves as a justification
for your proposed research questions.
3. Research design (50%)
In this section, you need to describe the research design(s) you use to formulate and
address your research questions.
(a) Choice of Research Design
The choice of research design decides how the research study would be
conducted. For this proposal, you can choose among conclusive research
designs – Causal or Descriptive (or a hybrid of both). The choice of design also
depends on the nature of MRP and research objectives – whether the aim of
the research study is to describe an association and predict outcomes or
unearth a causal relationship between the outcome and components.
Please justify why a research design or combination of several research
designs is appropriate for these Research Questions and overall purpose of
your research.
(b) Research Design Conceptualization
This section describes in detail how the proposed research design is
implemented. This includes a description of the study/studies conducted, key
variables measured and any issues in design conceptualization. The
implementation plan depends on the choice of research design in part 3(a)
above.
For experimental designs, this includes a detailed description of –
• Outcome, treatment and extraneous variables for each experiment
• Experimental design for each experiment
• Operationalization of experiment(s) – how they would be conducted
in the field
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• Specific examples of extraneous variables that need to be controlled
• Where the experiment(s) would be conducted – lab vs field
• Internal and external validity of each experiment
For descriptive designs, this includes a survey questionnaire (include the
actual questionnaire in Appendix A) to collect the necessary data to address
all your research questions. Explain how it relates to the research approach
(section 2 above). For each question in the questionnaire, specify the –
• Variable measured
• Primary measurement scale used for that variable
• Which question in your questionnaire (see section 4 below) provides a
measure of that variable
For hybrid designs, describe both the experimental and descriptive design
aspects. The description of experiment gives information on the experimental
manipulation of treatment (causal variable). The detailing of the descriptive
design informs the control/descriptive variables collected in the survey.
(c) Sampling process and sample size
This section details the (recommended) population under study (i.e. who
should potentially be a member of the population). It also provides
information on how subjects are enrolled into the study. For this part,
provide –
• A precise definition of your target population
• Sampling frame: a list or a set of directions?
• Describe the survey method and sampling technique. For this part, focus
on probability sampling techniques. And be as specific as you can. For
example, if you propose to collect data online, which website you are
going to use to recruit subjects? If you propose to do this on-location,
where and when do you plan to do this?
For experimental/hybrid designs, the sampling technique would refer to
how subjects are allocated/selected to experimental and control groups.
• What is the sample size you need? Briefly explain.
• Provide a brief explanation on how the sampling process ensures
representativeness. Discuss what are the key segments for your target
population and whether the proposed sampling plan captures these
segments.
For experimental/hybrid designs, additionally discuss how construction of
experimental and control group samples controls the problem of
extraneous variables.
4. Appendix A: Survey Questionnaire
In this section, provide the survey questionnaire (if you have chosen a
Descriptive/Hybrid Research Design). You may use Qualtrics to design the
questionnaire (optional). If so, export the survey to a Word File and include it here.
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We will not accept Qualtrics survey links as part of the Appendix. The full survey
must be available in the Appendix.
Make sure that you start with a paragraph briefly introducing the objective of the
survey to the survey participants
Appendix B: References (for any existing literature that you have consulted or cited
in this report). Please use APA referencing style (refer to Monash Q- Manual:
https://www.monash.edu/business/5931328906e0c/pdf_file/currentstudents/qmanual.pdf)
Note that figures and appendices are not included in the 1500 word limit. In-text tables
will count towards the word limit. There will be a 10% penalty if you exceed the word
count by more than 10% (i.e., if your word count exceeds 1,650 words).
Submission Instructions
1. The due date/time of the assignment is by 11:59pm on the Thursday of week 7 (April
14).
2. The assignment is an individual assignment. In the case that unforeseen technical issues
on Moodle prevent you from completing the submission process, you are required to
email the report to your tutor.
3. File Submission – All files must be submitted in PDF format. No other formats will be
accepted. If you have prepared your proposal in Microsoft Word (.doc) format, you can
use the Export to PDF option to create the PDF document.
4. You need to first agree to the “plagiarism statement” above before you are allowed to
submit this assignment. Do NOT include cover sheets in your submission.
5. Students are required to keep a soft copy of their report until they get the marked
report back.
6. There are no specific formatting criteria for the assignment, these are left to students’
discretion. But you will be evaluated on the formatting consistency of the report.
Ensure that you use a professional font (no Comic Sans!) and maintain same formatting
criteria (page numbering, fonts, page margins, etc.) throughout the document.
If you have any questions, please feel free to speak to your lecturer or tutor.
Marking criteria – the key consideration would be correctness, consistency and
justification. Below are the specific criteria that will be used in assessing the assignment
1. Follows the prescribed structure
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2. Consistency between different parts of your research project (e.g., clear
correspondence between components and the RQs)
3. Components and RQ are well thought out and properly address MRP (i.e., no
important aspects of MRP missing). The justification for RQs are well thought out
and well explained.
4. Variables are clearly and precisely articulated. In particular, are the variables
correctly identified?
5. Are the secondary data used appropriately (i.e., is there a good fit between
secondary data sources/references and proposed MRP)?
6. Research Design: Is the justification for choosing the research design appropriate?
Would the chosen research design answer all the RQs?
7. Causal Design: Is the treatment variable correctly identified/manipulated? Is the
experimental design appropriate? Is the discussion of extraneous variables
appropriate and relevant to the context? Is the operationalization of experiment in
lab or field sensible? Is discussion of internal and external validity technically sound?
8. Descriptive Design: are all the variables specified in section 2 collected by your
questionnaire? Are questions in the questionnaire correctly formatted, precisely
worded and able to extract meaningful information? Are survey questions properly
measuring variables in an appropriate scale?
9. Hybrid Design: Are the causal and descriptive RQs correctly identified? Do the causal
and descriptive parts satisfy the criteria for their respective parts?
10. Sampling: Is the sampling process of the research design carefully considered,
properly explained and technically sound. Did you discuss how your sampling
process ensures representativeness? For experimental/hybrid designs, does the
chosen experimental design effectively control the problem of extraneous variables?
11. Quality of writing and communication –clearly explained; writing is cogent, lucid and
flows naturally
12. Overall quality – are the components and proposed RQ generally sensible,
appropriate for the situation and important for the marketing research problem we
are trying to study? Does the questionnaire capture all the information needed to
answer the questions?

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