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Integrating Quantitative and Qualitative Methods in Social Marketing Research by Nedra Kline Weinreich Introduction Traditionally, research in the field of health promotion has followed in the footsteps of its "older brother," medicine.
However, the reductionistic model of disease causation cannot adequately describe the complex mechanisms that influence health behavior. Social marketers working to promote health have learned that rigorous quantitative research surveys do not necessarily provide all of the data needed to develop effective communications.
Consequently, qualitative methods such as focus groups and in-depth interviews, as well as less precise but useful semi-quantitative approaches, such as intercept surveys, have emerged as part of their research repertoire.
In Objective of marketing research ideal social marketing program, researchers use both quantitative and qualitative data to provide a more complete picture of the issue being addressed, the target audience and the effectiveness of the program itself. The purpose of this paper is to look at how these two different research approaches can be integrated to inform the development of an effective social marketing program.
Qualitative and Quantitative Methods: A Comparison An examination of the quantitative and qualitative paradigms will help to identify their strengths and weaknesses and how their divergent approaches can complement each other.
In most cases, researchers fall into one of the two camps--either relying exclusively upon "objective" survey questionnaires and statistical analyses and eschewing warm and fuzzy qualitative methods, or using only qualitative methodologies, rejecting the quantitative approach as decontextualizing human behavior.
However, social marketing researchers recognize that each approach has positive attributes, and that combining different methods can result in gaining the best of both research worlds. Quantitative research uses methods adopted from the physical sciences that are designed to ensure objectivity, generalizability and reliability.
These techniques cover the ways research participants are selected randomly from the study population in an unbiased manner, the standardized questionnaire or intervention they receive and the statistical methods used to test predetermined hypotheses regarding the relationships between specific variables.
The researcher is considered external to the actual research, and results are expected to be replicable no Objective of marketing research who conducts the research.
The strengths of the quantitative paradigm are that its methods produce quantifiable, reliable data that are usually generalizable to some larger population. Quantitative measures are often most appropriate for conducting needs assessments or for evaluations comparing outcomes with baseline data.
This paradigm breaks down when the phenomenon under study is difficult to measure or quantify. The greatest weakness of the quantitative approach is that it decontextualizes human behavior in a way that removes the event from its real world setting and ignores the effects of variables that have not been included in the model.
Qualitative research methodologies are designed to provide the researcher with the perspective of target audience members through immersion in a culture or situation and direct interaction with the people under study. Qualitative methods used in social marketing include observations, in-depth interviews and focus groups.
These methods are designed to help researchers understand the meanings people assign to social phenomena and to elucidate the mental processes underlying behaviors. Hypotheses are generated during data collection and analysis, and measurement tends to be subjective.
In the qualitative paradigm, the researcher becomes the instrument of data collection, and results may vary greatly depending upon who conducts the research. The advantage of using qualitative methods is that they generate rich, detailed data that leave the participants' perspectives intact and provide a context for health behavior.
The focus upon processes and "reasons why" differs from that of quantitative research, which addresses correlations between variables.
A disadvantage is that data collection and analysis may be labor intensive and time-consuming. In addition, these methods are not yet totally accepted by the mainstream public health community and qualitative researchers may find their results challenged as invalid by those outside the field of social marketing.
Social Marketing Research The traditional health promotion professional conducts research at the beginning of a project to develop an intervention, and again at the end to evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention. In contrast, social marketers utilize research throughout the planning, development, implementation and evaluation phases of the program; social marketing is a process of continuous development and testing.
Many of the tools used to develop social marketing programs--focus groups, consumer marketing databases, intercept surveys--have their origins in the field of commercial market research, and are based on "what works" for gathering various types of needed data.
Social marketing relies upon consumer-focused research to learn as much about the target audience as possible by looking at their lives from many different angles--both quantitatively as part of a larger group and qualitatively to investigate individual attitudes, reactions, behaviors and preferences.
Social marketing programs use research throughout the life of a project. Research in social marketing is conducted specifically to help make better decisions at key points in the process Andreasen, These decisions may include which target audience, messages and media to choose; whether to make changes in program strategy during implementation; and whether to continue the program.
Pinpointing the facts needed to make these decisions will help to identify the best methods for subsequently collecting this data. Some types of information may require quantitative data collection methods, such as detecting any measurable differences in knowledge or behaviors once the program has been implemented.
Soliciting audience reactions to a selection of program messages, on the other hand, may be best done through qualitative methods.
An effective and responsive program requires a combination of research approaches in order to have the data needed for decision making. Professionals who come to social marketing from a traditional health promotion background may have a difficult time in reconciling their notion of "what research is" with some of the methods that social marketers have appropriated from the commercial marketing tool kit.
Even those who are committed to using a mix of research methods may encounter institutional resistance to deviating from the quantitative paradigm, particularly when the proposed research will occur in a governmental or academic setting.
However, as the field of health promotion evolves from a focus on individual lifestyles and risk factors to a broader concept of social and environmental factors influencing morbidity and mortality, researchers must employ a variety of methods to reflect this new perspective.
In the first approach, qualitative methods contribute to the development of quantitative instruments, such as the use of focus groups in questionnaire construction. The second model consists of a primarily quantitative study that uses qualitative results to help interpret or explain the quantitative findings.Marketing research is the systematic, objective and exhaustive search for study of the facts relating to any problem in the field of marketing.
It is systematic problem analysis, model building and fact-finding for the purpose of decision-making and control in the marketing of goods and services. Since , Performance Research has been supplying objective answers to this critical question.
Intelligence and insights that are based on solid consumer research and unbiased evaluation. Marketing research is the function that links the consumer, customer, and public to the marketer through information.
This information is used to identify and define marketing opportunities and problems; to generate, refine, and evaluate marketing actions; to monitor marketing performance; and to improve understanding of the marketing process. “Marketing research is the careful and objective study of product design, markets, and such transfer activities as physical distribution and warehousing, advertising .
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The main objective of marketing research (MR) is to provide information to the marketing manager. The marketing manager uses this information to make marketing decision and to solve marketing problems.