Research Proposal for a Marketing Research Project

Assignment 1. Preparing a Brief Research Proposal for a Marketing Research


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 3 weeks prior to the assignment due date.

Option A – Drive-in Cinema

One of the few industries that might experience growth during the coronavirus pandemic is drive-in cinema. With most regular cinema closed, drive-in cinema offers both the comfort and security of social distancing. Ben Schwartzman, an Australian entrepreneur based in Melbourne, is eager to grab this business opportunity. In particular, he needs to find out the key factors that influence consumers' decision to visit a drive-in cinema. Imagine that you are working for a marketing research company and has been tasked to draft a marketing research proposal to help Ben 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 April 6. The application should include the following information.

  • you and your group members’ names
  • 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)
  • 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

Required structure of the proposal

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 toknow 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 2000 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: expansion of Covid-19; please note that some countries already have implemented this concept few years ago, i.e. before widespread of Covid 19). Please read the history of this concept

(Drive-in Cinema) and how it can be adapted to one of the cities in Australia. It 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. This should be based on what you write below in section 2 where you discuss the potential managerial implication of the research.

Hint: when you do your reading and preliminary search, focus your attention on identification of key factors that may help to address the Management Decision Problem. Please note that the data must exist in the public domain (i.e. you cannot use confidential company information or data).

(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.

  1. Research approach (30%)

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.
  • 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”
  • Specification of Information Needed:

Specifically, for each of the variables identified above, clearly indicate how you would measure it in a conclusive research study. This is closely related to the research design you choose (see section 3 (a) below).

For an experimental research design, this would entail listing measures for the outcome and the key variables that are experimentally manipulated.

For a descriptive research design, this involves specifying which question in your questionnaire (see section 3.b and section 4 below) provides a measure of that variable (for example, if your RQ involves the variable “gender”, indicate which question in your questionnaire asks about the respondent’s gender)

  • 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 (45%)

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. 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 –

  • of experiments conducted (Hint: Each experimentally manipulated variable will require its own experiment)
  • Outcome, treatment and extraneous variables for each experiment
  • Experimental design for each experiment
  • 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 scale used

(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?
  • What is the sample size you need? Briefly explain.
  • Provide a brief explanation on how the sampling process ensures representativeness. In particular, discuss what are the key segments for your target population and whether the proposed sampling plan captures these segments

(d) Timing and budget

  • Deadlines and budgets are important for all concerned. They often determine whether the research is feasible. Similarly, the deadlines and budgets need to consider the audience for whom the research is intended. When will they expect the results?
  • It is often important to also include a comment on the expected format of the report in this section. Reporting formats may include interim reports, progress reports, final reports, conference style reports, tele-conference reports, written reports etc.

4. Appendix A: Survey Questionnaire

In this section, provide the survey questionnaire (if you have chosen a Descriptive Research Design). You may use Qualtrics to design the questionnaire (optional). If so, export the survey to a Word File and include it here.

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)

Note that the references (appendix B) are not included in the 2000 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 2,200 words).

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
  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 justifications 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., there is a good fit between the data you use and your research problem)?
  6. Research Design: Is the justification for choosing the research design appropriate? Would the chosen research design answer all the RQs?
  7. Experiments: Is the experimental design appropriate? Is the implementation of experiment in lab or field sensible? Is discussion of internal and external validity technically sound?
  8. Questionnaire: 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. The sampling process of the research design are carefully considered, properly explained and technically sound. Did you discuss how your sampling process ensures representativeness?
  10. Quality of writing and communication –clearly explained; writing is cogent, lucid and flows naturally
  11. 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 captures all the information needed to answer the questions?