Date of Award

12-2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Department

Management

First Advisor

Stacey Hills

Abstract

Qualitative research plays an integral part in marketing research (Denzin and Lincoln, 1998). In fact, a search of the website for the American Marketing Association for the term “qualitative research” reveals literally hundreds of documents (white papers, case studies, etc) discussing methods of conducting observational research, examples of observational research studies, and the importance of observational research in marketing. Interestingly, though qualitative methods are used frequently by practitioners, they receive very limited attention in marketing textbooks. This seems particularly true of observation research, which is among the least expensive and easily conducted qualitative methods (Mann, 2003). The purpose of this research is to provide a substantive review of marketing texts to determine how observational research is being introduced to a student audience, and to confirm the existence of an education gap in the instruction, as well as to offer recommendations for improvement. Qualitative reviews performed in both practitioner and academic areas confirmed that treatment of observational research in the marketing classroom seem relatively less than its use in the field. To help address these differences, a guidebook is developed outlining the benefits, challenges, and methods of conducting elementary observational research techniques.

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