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Bus642 Week 5

In: Business and Management

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Running Head: Case Assignment Week 5

Bus 642: Business Research Methods and Tools

Name

Instructor

September 3, 2012

Case Study: Inquiring Minds Want to Know – NOW. Questions 1 - 9

1. Build the management-research question hierarchy.
a. The management dilemma
Penton Media, a publisher of business magazines, was experiencing a declining number of reader service cards being returned, indicating a smaller number of reader enquiries and a declining number of sales leads for advertisers.
b. The management question
How can Penton Media increase the number of reader service cards being returned by readers; or, how can Penton Media increase the number of reader enquiries and the number of sales leads for its advertisers?
c. The research question (s)
Should Penton Media retain, modify, or discontinue the reader service card program? Instead of requesting product or service information by mail, should the publisher use alternate inquiry response options such as sending an e-mail, visiting an advertiser’s website, or using a toll-free telephone number?
d. Investigative questions
What kind of information do readers most often seek? What is the time frame in which information is most often sought? What response options do advertisers offer to obtain information about their products and services? Is there an emerging trend which shows that readers are changing their choice of response options? Does the declining number of service cards being returned reflect an emerging trend which shows that readers are changing their choice of response options? What are the factors which determine preferences in response options among readers? Do demographic factors help determine preferences in response options among readers? How many advertisers offer the e-mail, website, or toll-free telephone response option? How many readers use the e-mail, website, or toll-free telephone response option?
e. Measurement questions
What would be your level of acceptability if Penton Media advertisers should change from the current method of requesting product or service information by mail to a method of requesting information using alternate inquiry response options such as sending e-mails, visiting advertisers’ websites, or using toll-free telephone numbers?
For each outcome, indicate a number between 1 and 5 where 1 = Not at all acceptable, 2 = Slightly acceptable, 3 = Moderately acceptable, 4 = Very acceptable, and 5 = Completely acceptable.
Response options:
-------- Sending e-mails
-------- Visiting advertisers’ websites
-------- Using toll-free telephone numbers
f. Management decision

2. What ethical issues are relevant to this study? The researcher needs to ensure that the questions are framed in an unbiased manner so that respondents are not influenced to respond in favor of a particular option. The research design should facilitates objectivity and should not show favoritism towards any of the response options; whether it is the reader service cards, e-mails, advertisers’ websites, or the toll-free telephone numbers.
3. Describe the sampling plan. Analyze its strengths and weaknesses.
Describing the survey sample, Cooper and Schindler (2011) said that: The survey sample was constructed using stratified disproportionate random sampling with subscribers considered as belonging to one of 42 cells (seven industry groups by six job titles). A total of 710 completed questionnaires were received, with 676 of the respondents indicating that they were purchase decision makers for their organization. Penton analyzed only the answers of these 676 buyers. Data were analyzed by weighting responses in each cell by their percentage makeup in the overall population. The overall margin of error for the survey was ± 4 percent at the 95 percent level of confidence. In-depth follow-up telephone interviews were conducted with 40 respondents, to gain a deeper understanding of their behavior and attitudes. (Cases: Inquiring Minds…, para. 4).
The domestic database of 1.7 million subscribers was used, from which about 4,000 people were selected at random. This included a cross-section of industries and designations. An obvious strength of the sampling plan is that since it used random sampling and since it represented a wide cross-section of industries and designations, then the sample was a close representation of the population. An apparent weakness is that only 700 responses were collected of the total 4,000 that were sent out. This was no doubt a result of the fact that the responses were sent out and collected by mail. A greater number of responses would have meant that the sample would have been more representative of the population.
4. Describe the research design. Analyze its strengths and weaknesses.
The research design included a comparison of inquiry response options which appeared in 12 Penton magazines for the years 1992 and 1997. Penton Media also conducted two pretests sent to smaller groups and a final questionnaire sent to the larger group of pre-selected respondents. Hence, by using an exploratory survey and by subsequently conducting a descriptive research, Penton can now tailor a survey to finding answers to more specific questions.
5. Critique the survey used for the study.
Strengths: Including a cover letter was a great idea. The cover letter offers, at the very start, a chance of winning a substantial incentive for completing and returning it and describes its purpose very clearly. In addition, the survey assures respondents that their personal information will be kept totally in confidence. The cover letter is very to-the-point and brief. The survey itself contains clear instructions on how to complete the questionnaire. For the most part, the questions are simple and easy to understand, and the method of response, a check mark in the appropriate box, can be done quite simply.
Weaknesses: Some of the questions seem too wordy and give too many response options which can be confusing. Some of the responses are written vertically downwards while others are written horizontally, going from left to right. This can be confusing to respondents.

6. Prepare the survey for analysis. Set up the code sheet for this study.
How will this study be set up to be tabulated by a statistical analysis program like SPSS?
7. Assume you are compiling your research report. How would you present the statistical information within this case to the Industry Week decision maker, the manager who must decide whether or not to continue to publish reader service cards
In order to present the statistical information within this case to the Industry Week decision maker, it would probably be best to use diagrams such as column graphs. These graphs would show frequency of use on the vertical axis plotted against increase or decrease usage for, say, the two years given in the study. The column graphs would no doubt enhance understanding of the information as they will be presented in picture form, and they can show declining or increasing trends even at a glance.
8. Assume you are compiling your research report. What are the limitations of this study?
In my view, the primary limitation of this study is the fact that it does not allow for trend analysis because it only gives data for the two years 1992 and 1997. The results would have been more believable if data for even five years were available for analysis. Another limitation of this study is the limited number of respondents who returned the survey due no doubt to the fact they had to mail in their responses. In other words, I believe the relatively small size of the sample is a drawback of this study. In addition, the study does not give some critical information; for example, was the decline in reader service cards the same for all industries?

9. Assume you are the decision maker for Industry Week . Given the declining value of the reader response card to subscribers, originally designed as a value-enhancing service to IW readers and advertisers alike, what further research might be suggested by the findings of this study? Or do you have sufficient information to stop the use of reader response cards in Industry Week ?
Additional data is needed to establish clear industry trends. There is a need to establish if there is an observable trend across all groups within the industry. It is quite possible that the increase in the use of information technology over recent years, and the forecasted increase in technology for the next five years will significantly impact the use of reader service cards. Hence, it is my view that with more data, very clear trends within various groups in the industry could soon arise. Hence, more research is required before a decision is made regarding the use of reader response cards.

Making Research Decisions, 2, page 450
2. Suppose you were preparing two-way tables of percentages for the following pairs of variables. How would you run the percentages?
a. Age and consumption of breakfast cereal.
As age increases, consumption of breakfast cereal increases
b. Family income and confidence about the family’s future.
As family income increases, confidence about the family’s future increases
c. Marital status and sports participation.
As marital status changes – from single to married – sports participation decreases
d. Crime rate and unemployment rate.
Crime rate increases as unemployment rate increases.
From Concept to Practice, 7, page 450
Use the data in Exhibit 16-5 to construct a stem-and-leaf display.
a. Where do you find the main body of the distribution?
The main body of the distribution is clustered from 50 to 110
b. How many values reside outside the inner fence(s)?
Values that reside outside the inner fences are called outliers. In the Stem-and-leaf plot below, there are about 10 outliers ranging from 130 to 210.
Stem-and-Leaf Plot of Prime Sell’s Top 50 Customers’ Average Annual Purchases 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 9 0 0 0 0 0
11 0 0 0 0 0
13 0 0
15 0 0 0
17 0 0
19 0
21 0 0

References
Cooper, D.R. and Schindler, P.S. (2011). Business Research Methods, 11e. Retrieved September 1,2012 from http://highered.mcgraw-
hill.com/sites/dl/free/0073373702/855241/RamadaDemonstratesItsPersonalBest.pdf

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