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Exploratory, Descriptive, and Causal Research Designs

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Robert Patterson

on 17 February 2015

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Transcript of Exploratory, Descriptive, and Causal Research Designs

Exploratory, Descriptive, and Causal Research
By: Robert Patterson and Steven Liu

Types of Exploratory Research
Literature search
– Professor Geddes is teaching us. (Uncle Google)

Depth interviews
– Tap the knowledge and experience of people who have encountered this problem before.

Focus groups
– Interview with a small number of people.

Case Analysis
– Studying examples of the problem.

EX: When the CEO of Aeropostale was asked how they select which clothes are carried in their stores, he said “We don’t look at what’s on the selling floor of our competitor, we look at what’s on the backs of our customers” (Brown, 2014)

Brown, T., & Suter, T. (2014). Mr 2 (2nd student ed., p. 32). Mason, OH: South-Western, Cengage Learning.


Two Types of Descriptive Studies
Continuous panels
*We hope that you can apply these 3 steps of research into your future decision making processes!
Exploratory vs. Descriptive vs. Causal
Exploratory – Major emphasis is on gaining ideas and insights.

Descriptive – Emphasis on determining the frequency with which something occurs, or the covariance between two variables.

Causal – Emphasis on determining cause-and-effect relationships.
Exploratory Research
Provide better understanding of a situation.

Not designed to come up with final answers or decisions.

Used to produce a hypothesis.*
*(statement that describes how two or more variables are related)

Basic Example
Particular line of vehicles dropped in sales last quarter.

You conduct interviews with potential car buyers and notice that they
seem to be more excited about new styles.

Hypothesis = Style preferences have changed, resulting in lower sales.

Example Video
*Note – When you conduct interviews or surveys, try to avoid asking close-ended questions. (ex: multiple choice)

*Close-ended questions force respondents to come up with answers the researcher has come up with, leading to information bias.

*Can include “other, please specify”.

Group Assignments
Group 1 – Should the U.S. lower the drinking age to 18?

Group 2 – Is outsourcing unethical? Can it be?

Group 3 – Should college athletes be paid?

Group 4 – Should fast-food restaurants be blamed for obesity?

Group 5 – Should illegal immigrants be made legal citizens?

Group 6 – Is it fair to limit where sex offenders can live and work?

Descriptive Research
Descriptive research
is used to describe characteristics of a population or phenomenon being studied. It does not answer questions about how/when/why the characteristics occurred.
Descriptive Research Requirements
Descriptive research requires a clear specification of the
, and
of the research.

DO not collect data
until hypotheses are developed and clear answers about who, what, when, where, why, and how are available.
Dummy Table
a table with no entries used to show how the results of the analysis will be presented. It forces you to think carefully about each piece of information to be collected.
Magic tool
Two Types of Descriptive studies
Cross-sectional study
Cross-sectional study involves drawing a sample of elements from the population of interest. Characteristics of the elements, or sample members, are measured only once.
Sample survey
Cross-sectional study in which the sample is selected to be representative of the target population and in which the emphasis is on the generation of summary statistics such as averages and percentages.
Longitudinal Study
A longitudinal study involves a panel, from which measures are taken over time, in contrast with one-time measurement in a cross-sectional study.
Continuous panels rely on repeated measures of the same variables.
Discontinuous panels
A fixed samples of respondents who are measured repeatedly over time, but on variables that change from measurement to measurement.
Causal Research Design
*Investigation of cause and effect relationships.
*Used to test your hypothesis.
Experiments and Market Testing
Market Testing
Thank you!
Four types of experiments
Laboratory experiment
Field experiment
Marketing testing
Market Testing
The use of a controlled experiment done in a limit but carefully selected section of the marketplace. Marketing testing is often used to predict the sales or profit.
Key issues
is a big issue in test-marketing.
required for an adequate test market can also be substantial.
Three Types of Test Markets
Standard test market
A test market in which the company sells the product through its normal distribution channels.
Controlled test market
An entire test program conducted by an outside service in a market in which it can guarantee distribution.
Simulated test market
A study in which consumer ratings and other information are fed into a computer model that then makes projections about the likely level of sales for the product in the market.
*Prolonged observation of consumers
Ethnographers - Use Interviews, video and audio recordings (vs. Anthropologists)
Allows insights based on behavior, not just what people say.
Not meant to discern final answers and making decisions.

Only creates a hypothesis about the truth based on a group of people.
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