These individuals will be recruited via email, similar to that of the journal recruitment email. However, the email will only detail that they have been selected to participate in a free shopping spree at a given time and place in appreciation for their loyal patronage. Another possibility is to set up a drawing at the selected store. From the individuals who register, random participants can be selected.
The experiment itself will utilize a simulated shopping environment will be set up. Half the participants will be bombarded with advertisements while shopping and prior to shopping (such as having ads mailed and emailed to them). The other half will not be bombarded with the advertisements for that particular brand and products. All other variables will be the same. After the experiment, the observer will be able to compare the purchases of the two groups to see if the advertisement group purchased the advertised brand and product more than the non-advertisement group.
Another potentially beneficial method to be used is the focus group. The focus group is essentially the foundation of the journal portion of the research. A focus group typically involves gathering together a group of six to twelve consumers to discuss the role of advertisements. Focus groups are most useful in situations where one does not have specific questions to ask, therefore making it an excellent starting point for the Brisbane Metropolitan Consumer Research study. (Girden, 2001, p. 186). Further, by starting with a focus group, the survey questions will be less likely biased as they will be based on the unbiased information gathered from the initial focus group. Therefore, in the Brisbane project, the various consumer focus groups will be given journals to keep track of all of the purchases for one week and all of the advertisements they see the following week. The data will then be gathered to see what, if any, correlation there is between the consumer's purchases and the advertisements that they were aware of. From this general, focus group based information, the survey questions will be able to be drawn up in order to delve deeper into the reasons for the correlations or lack thereof.
It may be helpful to immediately follow up the focus group study, prior to the survey questions, with a personal interview. This will allow the observer to fill in some blanks by asking in-depth questions that will be helpful in formulating proper survey questions. Because personal interviews are extremely vulnerable to interviewer bias, this portion of the research should be given little credibility and serve merely as a way to formulate the survey and to gain feedback on how the focus group research portion worked and where it may have been improved.
In conclusion, it is felt that the results of this thorough, multi-dimension qualitative research study on the effect of advertisement on consumer purchase motive will demonstrate a direct correlation between advertising and consumer purchase motive. Although this correlation may vary between sub-consumer groups such as gender, age and income, when looking at the consumer group as a whole, consumer purchase motive will be effected by advertisement.
This prediction is made both from the general premise that advertisers continue to spend millions of dollars a year on advertisements and the general results presented in prior, similarly conducted research. If advertising did not have a positive effect on consumer purchase motive, advertisers would not spend the money to advertise. Yet, this general fact does not mean that consumer research no longer needs to occur. The purpose of this proposed research and that of others endeavors to further understand the details of just how advertising effects consumer purchase motive. (Schor, 2005, et. al.).
The purpose of the proposed research project is to study the particular details of how advertising effects the consumer purchase motive of the population.
Specifically, because of its use of multiple research approaches and a sampling of a diverse array of the sub-populations that make up the consumer population, the results of this study will show a clear, representative picture of exactly how advertisement effects consumer purchase motive.
There are little, if any, ethical considerations involved in this research proposal. Because the initial focus group will be selected via email and the subsequent surveys sent via email, there will have to be some consideration as to sensitivity of sending to certain email addresses and how this information is gathered. If people receiving the email feel that it is unnecessary SPAM, they will most likely not respond. The initial contact should also be clear to state where their email information was gotten.
Further, in the controlled shopping environment experiment, the individuals will not know that they are part of an experiment. Likewise, they will not know that their purchasing practices are being observed and, in the case of the advertisement control group, being purposely influenced. Because one cannot ethically try to influence the customers spending of their own money, this experiment will be carried out as a promotional event, where each participant will be given a set amount of money to spend at the store, awarded in the guise of an award.
Finally, all participants will eventually have to be informed of the nature of the research. This is particularly true if the research results will be using names or other identifying information. All consumer participants should be required to sign a waiver and release of information.
Girdner, Ellen R.R. (2001): Evaluating Research Articles from Start to Finish. London: SAGE Publications.
Graydon, Shari. (2003): Made You Look: How Advertising Works and Why You Should Know. Toronto: Annick Press.
Johnson, J. Douglas. (1978): Advertising Today. Chicago: Science Research Associates.