Welcome toÖ

MKTG 526 - Applied Business Research

WIU College of Business and Technology
Accredited by AACSB,
The International Association for Management Education

Fall 1999


Instructor: Dr. John T. Drea
Office: 430-E Stipes (4th Floor, NE corner of the building)
Telephone: Office: 298-1272 (if no answer, please leave a message)
e-mail: jt-drea@wiu.edu
Home Page: www.cbt.wiu.edu/John_Drea/index.html
Office Hours: MWFMWF 9:30-10:50 a.m., TH 10:00-11:00 a.m., and by appointment
Meeting Time: MW 2:00-3:15 p.m.
Location: ST 210


COBT Mission
The Mission of the College of Business and Technology at Western Illinois University is to provide a focus for educational excellence which promotes the intellectual and personal growth of participants and enhances their contributions to individuals, organizations, and society.


Course Description (from the WIU Graduate Studies catalog):
A general outline of the methods of conducting research in business, including research design, data collection, and analysis, and presentation of results. The emphasis is on the methodology of conducting applied business research.


DS 503 or equivalent

Course Focus:
The focus for this particular course will be two fold: First, students will understand the overall process for conducting an effective business research project involving primary data. This will be achieve through a semester long project in which students will develop a data collection instrument, test it, implement it, collect the results, and analyze and interpret the information. Second, students will understand how to conduct selected types of business research using secondary data sources and common statistical procedures. These will be conducted individually and due periodically as homework assignments.


3 semester hours


Required Learning Materials:
McDaniel, Carl, Jr., and Roger Gates (1999) Contemporary Marketing Research, Fourth Edition. South-Western College Publishing: Cincinnati.

You will also need access to SPSS for Windows (available in the computer labs) to complete certain assignments.

Course Goals:
Upon completing this course, the student should be able to:

  1. Understand the steps in the business research process.
  2. Define a problem so that it can be answered through research.
  3. Identify alternative courses of action for a defined problem.
  4. Use Bayesian Analysis to determine when additional information is necessary to solve a problem.
  5. Identify the uses and limitations of the following four types of exploratory studies:
    a. Literature search
    b. Experience survey
    c. Focus groups
    d. Analysis of selected cases
  6. Differentiate between a longitudinal study and a cross sectional study, and be able to select when each is most appropriate.
  7. Diagram and explain the strengths and weaknesses (particularly as they apply to validity) for each of the following experimental designs:
    a. One-shot case study
    b. One-group pretest-posttest
    c. Static group comparison
    d. Before-after with control group design
    e. Four-group six study design
    f. After-only with control group design
    g. Time series experiment
  8. Analyze a source of secondary data and determine its appropriateness for inclusion in a research study.
  9. Read and interpret the following secondary sources of data:
    a. Nielsen television index
    b. Starch surveys
    c. Simmons media/marketing service
    d. Sales and Marketing Management Survey of Buying Power
    e. US Department of the Census
    f. US Department of State (international economic data)
  10. Select the most appropriate means of collecting primary data (communication vs. Observation)
  11. Select the most appropriate means of collecting communication-based primary data, balancing the potentially conflicting issues of time, cost, validity, and bias.
  12. Explain why multi-item measures are preferable to single item measures, using classic measurement theory as the basis.
  13. Understand the difference between nominal, ordinal, interval, and ratio data.
  14. Write objective, non-leading survey questions that address a defined marketing problem.
  15. Define and demonstrate how to check for each of the following in measurement:
    a. Unidimensionality
    b. Reliability
    c. Convergent validity
    d. Discriminant validity
    e. Nomological validity
  16. Select and defend the most appropriate type of scale for a given research problem:
    a. Likert scale
    b. Semantic differential
    c. Magnitude scale (graphic rating scale)
    d. Rank order scale
    e. Constant sum scale
  17. Understand the benefits and limitations of the following types of samples:
    a. Simple random sample
    b. Stratified sample
    c. Non-probability sample
  18. Calculate an appropriate sample size.


Course Outline



1 8/23-25 Review of syllabus and discussion of course projects
Read Chapter 1, The Role of Marketing Research in Management Decision Making
Read Chapter 3, The Marketing Research Process
2 8/30-9/1 Read Chapter 6, Primary Data Collection, Survey Research
Read Chapter 9, Understanding Measurement
Form teams for research projects
3 9/6-8 No class (9/6), Labor Day
Read Chapter 10, Using Measurement Scales to Build Marketing Effectiveness Read Chapter 11, Questionnaire Design
Take Home Quiz #1 Due, Chapters 1, 3, 6, 9
Determine research question for each project
4 9/13-15 Exam #1, Chapters 1, 3, 6, 9, 10, 11
Read Chapter 8, Primary Data Collection: Experimentation
5 9/20-22 Read Chapter 8, Primary Data Collection: Experimentation (continued)
Read Chapter 4, Published Secondary Data, Databases, the Internet, and Decision Support Systems
6 9/27-29 Draft of Survey Instrument Due (9/28)
Read Chapter 12, Basic Sampling Issues
Read Chapter 13, Sample Size Determination
7 10/4-6 Pre-Test Data Collection Instrument
Exam #2, Chapters 4, 8, 12, 13
Read Chapter 14, Data Processing and Fundamental Data Analysis
8 10/11-13 Data Collection Begins
Read Chapter 15, Data Analysis: Statistical Testing of Differences
9 10/18-20 Data Collection Completed
Read Chapter 15, Data Analysis: Statistical Testing of Differences (continued)
Read Chapter 16, Data Analysis: Bivariate Correlation and Regression
10 10/25-27 Read Chapter 16, Data Analysis: Bivariate Correlation and Regression (continued)
11 11/1-3 Read Chapter 17, Multivariate Data Analysis
Take Home Quiz #3 Due, Chapters 14-16
12 11/8-10 Read Chapter 17, Multivariate Data Analysis (continued)
13 11/15-17 Data Analysis Assignment Due
Read Chapter 17, Multivariate Data Analysis (continued)
Exam #3, Chapters 14, 15, 16, 17
14 11/22-24 No Class - Thanksgiving Break
15 11/29-12/1 Preliminary Written Report Due
Read Chapter 18, Communicating the Research Results
Read Chapter 20, Competitive Intelligence
16 12/6-8 Final Report, Group Presentations of Research Findings to Clients
17 12/13 Exam #4, Chapters 18, 20 (3-4:50 p.m.)



Related Class Information

Please Read the Following Information Carefully

Participation and Attendance

You are expected to attend each class. I try to take attendance each class, but I do not deduct points for missing class - attending class is your responsibility. I do make a note after each class which students have participated in the class in a meaningful way, and which have not. This forms the basis for the participation grade you will receive at the end of the semester. To receive the maximum number of participation points, a student should attend every class and actively participate in every class.

It is important to note that participation is more than simply coming to class. Participation is actively participating in class discussions, asking questions and making comments that show a good basic knowledge of the material. To get the maximum number of participation points, you should be in class and actively participate every day.

Reading Assignments

All reading assignments for the semester are listed in the course outline. You are expected to have read the assignments prior to the class meeting, since the discussion in class will assume that you are knowledgeable of the material.


There are four examinations scheduled throughout the semester. The purpose of each examination is to test your understanding of the materials covered in the text and in the classroom. These exams will consist of a combination of multiple choice, short answer, and interpretation questions. In the latter, you will be asked to examine data/results and specify the meaning of the data/results. It is not enough to be able to calculate a particular statistic - you must understand what the statistic means in practical terms (remember, the course is called Applied Business Research!)

Please note that the exams are not all worth the same number of points. This is because of the different amounts of material on the exams, and the difference in the level of importance of the content covered in each section of the course.


There are three take-home quizzes in the course. The purpose of these quizzes is to provide a formative check of you understanding of the material in preparation for an upcoming examination. These quizzes will be distributed to you at least one week in advance of the due date and are to be completed on your own outside of class. Do not work with other students in the completion of these take-home quizzes - doing so will only make you less prepared for the subsequent examination.


Each student is required to complete a research assignment as specified in the syllabus. Please be sure to prepare your work in a professional manner (i.e., no typos, no printer errors, all pages numbered.) Sloppy work will be graded significantly lower.

A late assignment will be accepted. However, the grade for a late assignment will be reduced by five points for every 24-hour period it is late. For example, an assignment due at 2:00 on Monday but submitted on Tuesday at 9:00 am would lose five points. If the assignment was submitted at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, it would be two days late. If you know you will be unavailable on the day an assignment is due, it is your responsibility to make the necessary arrangements before the time it is due.


Each student will be assigned to a group, and each group will be assigned to a specific project. Students will develop a survey questionnaire and refine it, collect data, analyze and interpret the data, and write up and present the results to the instructor and a member of client organization. The purpose of the project is to provide a means for each student to apply what they have learned from the text and class into a real-world application. The project is also intended to demonstrate that "doing" research can be very challenging and is different that simply studying it! You cannot depend upon others in your group to do the work on your portion of the project. At the same time, you will need to work as a team to ensure that the overall quality of the project is satisfactory for the final report. If you are having difficulties working with other members of the team, you should attempt to work these difficulties out through every means possible before coming to see me (i.e., you may not like my solution to your groupís problem.)

Academic Honesty

One of the foundations of any meaningful evaluation system is that each student is accountable for his/her own work. You are expected to do your own work. Copying information from another on exams or assignments (or allowing someone else to copy your work), bringing unauthorized materials into a quiz/examination, writing information on table tops, or representing the work of another as your own (plagiarism) are all acts of academic dishonesty. Such incidents can result in severe penalties, including a grade of "F" for the entire course. If you are in doubt as to whether an action is academically honest, please see me in advance. Failure to understand that an action is academically dishonest is not an acceptable excuse.

The course grade will be determined using the following criteria:


Max. Points

Your Points

Exam #1 80
Exam #2 70
Exam #3 100
Exam #4 50
Data Analysis Assignment 60
Take Home Quiz #1 15
Take Home Quiz #2 15
Take Home Quiz #3 20
Group Project
Draft of Survey Instrument 40
Preliminary Written Report 60
Final Report 50
Presentation 40
Class Participation 50
Total 650

Grading Scale:

585 points or more = A (100-90%)
5205520-584 points = B (89-80%)
455-519 points = C (79-70%)
390-454 points = D (69-60%)
389 points or less = F (59% and less)


What If I Need Help?
If you find you are struggling, please see me as soon as possible. WIU has many resources to help you succeed, and I will also do what I can to help you learn the material. If you will be absent from class due to participation in athletics or other college extracurricular activities, please alert me to this early in the semester. If you have a disability that requires special accommodation, please contact the office of disability support services. Finally, feel free to stop by my office during scheduled hours, or see me outside of class whenever you have questions.

Remember, the sooner you see me with any problems you are having, the sooner we can work together to help you master the material. If you are having trouble, see me early in the semester and I may be able to recommend some changes in your examination preparation. The sooner you see me, the sooner we can get you on the right track. Unfortunately, many students wait until after three examinations to indicate they are having trouble, and at that point there is little that can be done. Don't wait if you are having difficulty -- come see me ASAP and I will help you if I can!