module specification

MC7077 - Marketing Research in Practice (2021/22)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2021/22
Module title Marketing Research in Practice
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School Guildhall School of Business and Law
Total study hours 200
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
155 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Group Presentation 10%   Group Presentation and supporting material (presentation handouts) - 10 minutes
Group Coursework 30%   Group written Report - 2000 words (excluding bibliography and appendices)
Coursework 60%   Research proposal 2500 words (excluding bibliography and appendices)
Running in 2021/22
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Tuesday Morning

Module summary

The Marketing Research in Practice module provides a practical insight into research methods and techniques utilised by both marketing practitioners and marketing academics. The module introduces students to different ontological, epistemological and axiological assumptions as well as methodology, methods and techniques. Besides learning the basics of research problem formulation, literature review and questionnaire design, sampling and methods for data collection, the module will introduce students to a variety of statistical methods using the latest version of SPSS/Excel and qualitative data analysis techniques, with an emphasis on the interpretation and use of results. It will address validity and reliability issues in qualitative research and quantitative research.

The module will also prepare students to undertake a compelling and persuasively argued research proposal, fulfilling both academic and professional standards.

Module aims

The module aims to:

• Introduce students to different business research philosophies, paradigms and
   methodology which are significant for business/marketing research.
• Critically explore the nature and role of marketing research in the research process.
• Provide an understanding of the marketing research approaches appropriate for providing
    effective solutions to a variety of marketing problems.
• Formulate internally coherent research proposal, fulfilling both academic and professional
• Provide students with an understanding of the value of evidence-based/research-driven
   decision making within the marketing domain.
• Give students an academic basis for further study of marketing research at the
    postgraduate level.
• Enable students to gain analytical skills and practical research experience, and prepare
    them for their Business Research Project.


The module is organised around six principal blocks reflecting the learning outcomes

Part One- The nature and process of marketing research

- An overview of the marketing research process
- The role of marketing research in marketing and business decision making
- Defining the marketing research problem: management decision problem vs. marketing research problem 
- Planning a research project, clarifying research topic, aims and objectives
-The role of theory and dealing with the literature- the multiple purposes of a literature review;alternative methods of carrying out a thorough and systematic literature review
- Using secondary data and library resources; framing a literature search; published sources, secondary data and historical research; advanced referencing, database research and bibliographical citations.
-Identifying the gap in the literature and justifications for the study, and formulating research questions based of critical review of relevant literature
- Developing a conceptual framework and hypotheses/proposition to guide your research
- Dealing with methodological issues
- Writing and communicating an effective and compelling research proposal
- Ethical considerations in marketing research

Part Two- Understanding research philosophies, approaches and strategy

-Philosophical underpinnings, paradigms and research approaches of marketing research and researcher’s philosophical stance; Ontology- realism, internal realism, relativism and nominalism (Easterby-Smith, et al. 2015); objectivism, subjectivism and  constructionism (Saunders, etal 2012, Bryman and Bell 2015); Epistemology- positivism vs. interpetivism; alternative paradigms –, realist research, critical realism, standpoint critical research, pragmatism, managerial autography, phenomenology,  feminism, hermeticism, postmodernism, poststructuralism
-Research approach- deductive, inductive and abductive research approaches
-Research strategy- qualitative research, quantitative research and mixed methods research
-Formulating the marketing research design process- choosing a qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods research; exploratory, descriptive and causal/explanatory research designs
Choosing a time horizon: cross-sectional studies vs. longitudinal studies

Part Three -Qualitative research

The nature of qualitative research; theoretical sampling design and procedures; case study design, exploratory research design; collecting primary data using semi-structured, in-depth and focus group interviews; observational research and ethnography; language in qualitative research- conversation analysis, discourse analysis, grounded theory; documents as sources of data and content analysis; qualitative data analysis- steps and considerations in coding, thematic and textual analysis, autobiographical narrative elicitation, interpretative narrative approach, reflexive vs. objective analysis, crystallisation vs. triangulation; frameworks in addressing reliability and validity qualitative research; using Nvivo software in qualitative research

Part Four- Quantitative research

The nature of quantitative research; descriptive vs. causal/explanatory research designs, Sampling design and procedures; questionnaire design, measurement and scaling; collecting primary data using survey research; experimental designs and structured observation.
Quantitative data analysis using SPSS/Excel- descriptive statistics (univariate analysis using measures of central tendency/location, measures of dispersion/variation and measures of shape); inferential statistics and hypotheses  testing (parametric and non-parametric tests)- bivariate analysis, multi-variate analysis and statistical significance, e.g. the chi-square test, t-test, correlations and linear regression analysis, exploratory factor analysis and analysis of variance; addressing reliability and validity issues in quantitative research

Part Five-  Mixed methods research

Philosophical foundations of mixed methods research and the pragmatic approach;mixed methods research design- convergent parallel design, explanatory sequential design, exploratory sequential design, embedded design, transformative design and multiphase design; collecting, analysing and interpreting data in mixed methods research, quality issues in mixed methods research

Part Six-  Writing  and presenting marketing research report

Structuring and organising marketing research report, constructing and supporting arguments with research results and literature, developing an appropriate writing styleacademic referencing, communicating research results to diverse audiences

Learning and teaching

The learning and teaching strategy for this module enables students to gain a critical knowledge and understanding of the nature and process of marketing research, problem identification, design, data collection, analysis and interpretation.

The module adopts a student-led blended learning approach in which a high degree of student in-put and interaction is encouraged. To achieve this, the module will be delivered over 15 weeks through a combination of one hour lecture and two hours student-centred workshop(including SPSS/Nvivo computer-based workshops).Lectures will provide an overview of the key aspects of marketing research and illustrate its application to real life business situations. Workshops will include case studies, skills development activities, on-line and hard copy research exercises, and problem based interactive discussions. The workshops will be used to contextualise and operationalise the theoretical material presented in the lectures, hence bridging the gap between theory and practice. Students will be expected to attend lectures and workshops and to engage with the module.

A flipped classroom will be used to support learning, where teaching materials are made available online, and the classroom time is used for more interactive questioning, student content creation and idea exploration. To achieve this, students will individually and/or in their respective teams, prepare all assignments well in advance of the date on which materials will be covered. For independent learning, students will be required to access a mix of directed reading from texts and journals as well as external research. Students are advised to maintain a log of any group meeting.

WebLearn will facilitate the learning of students taking this module. Lecture and workshop materials, case studies, journal articles will be posted on the site. Weblearn will also be used for student feedback purposes.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module students will be able to:

1. Identify, distinguish and critically evaluate different research philosophies and paradigms with the aim of defining their own epistemological, ontological and axiological positions.
2. Demonstrate competence in conducting a thorough and systematic literature review of a contemporary topic, and formulate research questions based on the issues raised in the literature and/or in practice.
3. Design and conduct marketing research projects appropriate to research problems
4. Select and apply appropriate market research and analytical techniques applicable to a given situation.
5. Develop higher level requisite skills for the professional practice of marketing research and data analysis within the wider marketing industry.
6. Construct internally coherent and persuasively argued research proposal with appropriate research questions, aims and objectives and a realistic plan of execution.

Assessment strategy

The assessment strategy is developed with the aim of testing the module’s learning outcomes. The assessments require students to think critically and apply the knowledge gained during the module. The assessment for this module requires students to carry out a group research project as well as to develop an individual written research proposal. Both of these assessments will immensely help students with the completion of their Business Research Project at the end of their Masters programme. Seminar and class exercises focus on these and are designed to aid the students' successful completion of these tasks as well as their grasp of Marketing Research.

Group project (40% of overall mark)
Group presentation (10%) and group written report (30%)

This component of the assessment will require students to develop and execute a market research project based on a real-life scenario involving the main elements of the taught modules. Their methodology will include both qualitative and quantitate research methods. They will also need to undertake a review of the academic literature in order to theoretically ground their group work. During the course of the module, students will be guided in the planning, development and execution of an applied marketing research project. This process will include a review of relevant literature and secondary data, exploratory research using qualitative research methodology and descriptive research using quantitative methodology.

Research proposal (60% of overall mark)
A succinct summary of the justification for the student’s intended research, main literature sources, basic propositions/hypotheses and intended methodological approach.

Constructive alignment of assessment strategy to learning outcomes and skill development

Assessment Learning Outcomes Skills Development Details
Group Presentation and supporting material
(presentation handouts)

- 10 minutes

1,2,3,4,5,6 Research skills (I,P,A); Oral presentation skills (P,A); Analytical skills (P,A), problem-solving skills (P,A), time management skills (P,A);skills in collation of relevant data and the synthesis of information to make meaningful analysis (I,P,A);  team skills (P,A),
synthesis skills (I,P,A);critical judgement regarding the quality and validity of data and the analysis of information (I,P,A);Inter-personal/Inter-cultural communication skills (I,P);referencing (I,P,A)

Group presentation of qualitative research stage – Primary research (Phase I)

Students will be required to work in groups 3-4
for an oral presentation of 10 minutes. Each group
will prepare a formal presentation of the first part
of their group project comprising the qualitative
research phase described above. The presentation
should cover the central research question,
research aims and objectives and brief
literature review, how all or some of them were
tackled through the qualitative research phase,
explaining and justifying methods used and
presenting research findings up to this stage of the
research project. The use of a non-random,
purposive sampling procedure is recommended. You must, however, justify the design of your sample with regard to the selected respondents. Each group member must
conduct at least 5 in-depth interviews and one
focus group interview in line with the sampling
procedure selected. Interviews must be recorded,
transcribed, analysed and then interpreted using
qualitative data analysis methods

Group written Report (30%)-

2000 words excluding bibliography and appendices

1,2,3,4,5,6 Research skills (P,A);skills collation of relevant data and the synthesis of information to make meaningful analysis (P,A);problem solving skills (P,A);referencing and numeric skills (P,A);digital literacy and IT skills
(P,A);  improve the ability to work independently and as part of a group (I,P,A); improve the ability to communicate ideas, principles theories and information effectively by written and visual means (I,P,A); critical judgement regarding the quality and validity of data and the analysis of information (P,A);
improve global commercial awareness(I,P); significantly improve one’s enterprise skills, including taking initiative, showing leadership, completing tasks and projects, taking calculated risks (I,P,A)

Quantitative research – Primary research
(Phase II)

This is the second phase of the group research
project following on from the first phase. This stage
requires students to use a questionnaire to collect
quantitative data. The questionnaire should be
based upon their findings from the qualitative
research. Draft questionnaires must first be piloted
using a 10% sample of the main study sample
size.  Questionnaire administration should be
shared equally between group . Questionnaire
administration should be shared equally between
group members. Questionnaires must be
discussed with the module tutor prior to use.
For this, students should select a sample of at
least 100 respondents based upon specified
criteria; these must be justified on the basis
of relevance to the study. Data should be
collated and analysed using Excel/
SPSS software. The group make recommendations
to the company/brand based on the implications
of their findings and how future marketing research
might build upon their research study.

Research proposal
2500 words (excluding bibliography and appendices)
1,2,4,6 Academic reading (I,P); researching (P,A); application of knowledge,  critical thinking and writing, problem solving (I,P,A);synthesise and evaluate a large body of concepts, ideas and theories
related to the research problem (I,P,A);
research skills (I,P,A); critical judgement regarding the quality and validity of the methods of data analysis (I,P,A); referencing and numeric skills (P,A); improve the ability to work independently (P,A); improve awareness of marketing research problems (I,P,A); completing tasks and projects (I,P,A);self-discipline (I)
Research proposal

Each student is required to write research proposal discussing the marketing research problem, the gap in the literature, justification for the intended research, main literature sources, basic propositions/hypotheses and intended methodological approach. Further information and guidance will be provided on the module handbook.



Key texts
• Bryman, A. and Bell, E. (2015). Business Research Methods. 4th Edition. Oxford University Press.
• Malhotra, N. K. (2010) Marketing Research: An Applied Orientation, 6th Edition, Global Edition, Pearson Education.
• Creswell, J.W. and Clark, V.P.(2011) Designing and Conducting Mixed Methods Research, 2nd Edition, London: SAGE.
• Daymon, C & Holloway, I (2011) Qualitative Research Methods in Public Relations and Marketing Communications, 2nd edition. London: Routledge.
• Denscombe, M. (2012) Research Proposals: A Practical Guide, London, Open University Press.
• Field, A. (2013) Discovering Statistics Using SPSS, 4thEdition, SAGE.
• Miles, M., Huberman, A. and Saldana, J. (2013) Qualitative Data Analysis: A Methods Sourcebook. 3rd Edition. Los Angeles: SAGE.
• Punch, K. (2006) Developing Effective Research Proposals, 2nd Edition, London: SAGE.
• Ridley, D. (2012) The Literature Review, A Step-by-Step Guide for Students, London: SAGE.
• Yin, R.(2013) Case Study Research: Design and Methods, 5th Edition, London: SAGE.

• Important texts
• Bazeley, P. and Jackson, K. (2013) Qualitative Data Analysis with Nvivo, 2nd Edition. London: SAGE.
• Best, S (2012) Understanding and Doing Successful Research: Data Collection and Analysis for the Social Sciences. Harlow: Pearson Education.
• Brett Davies, M. (2007) Doing a Successful Research Project Using Qualitative or Quantitative Methods. Basingstoke: Palgrave-Macmillan.
• Bryman, A (2016) Social Research Methods. 5th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
• Cresswell, J.W. and Poth, C.N. (2017) Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choosing Among Five Approaches, 4th Edition, London: SAGE.
• Collis, J. & Hussey, R. (2013) Business research: a practical guide for undergraduates and postgraduate students. 4th Edition. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
• Cottrell, S. (2014). Dissertations and Project Reports: a step by step guide. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.
• Crotty, M. (1998) The Foundations of social research, SAGE.
• Denscombe, M. (2010) Ground Rules for Social Research: Guidelines for Good Practice.  2nd Edition Maidenhead: McGraw Hill, Open University Press.
• Davis, J.J. (2011) Advertising Research: Theory and Practice, 2nd Edition New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
• Easternby-Smith, M., Thrope, R. and Jackson, P.R. (2015) Management and Business Research, 5th Edition, SAGE.
• Fisher, C. (2010) Researching and Writing a Dissertation: An Essential Guide for Business Students, 3rd edition, Harlow, Financial Times/Prentice Hall.
• Ghauri, P., and Gronhaug. K. (2010) Research Methods in Business Studies, 4th Edition, Pearson Education. 
• Hair, J.F., Black, Jr.W.C.,Babin, B.J. and Anderson, R.E. (2013) Multivariate Data Analysis: A Global Perspective, 7th Edition, Pearson Prentice Hall.
• Hart, C. (2005) Doing your masters dissertation: realizing your potential as a social scientist.  London: SAGE.
• Morgan, D. L. (2014) Integrating Qualitative and Quantitative Methods, a pragmatic approach,SAGE.
• Ormston, R. et al. (2014) Qualitative Research Practice: A Guide for Social Science Students and Researchers.  2nd edition, Los Angeles: SAGE
• Quinlan, C. Babin, B. Carr, J. Griffin, M. and Zikmund, W.G. (2015). Business Research Methods. Andover: Cengage Learning.  (available as an e-resource through the library research+methods/1%2C21%2C21%2CB/frameset&FF=tbusiness+research+methods
• &1%2C1%2C/indexsort=r
• Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill (2012) Research Methods for Business Students. 6th edition London: Pearson Education. Student additional study resources to be used alongside this text are available at:
• .cw/index
• Silverman, D. (2010). Doing Qualitative Research: A Practical Handbook, 3rd edition, Los Angles, Calif.; London: SAGE.
• Smith, A. (2015) Qualitative Psychology: A Practical Guide to Research Methods, 3rd Edition, London: SAGE.
• Wallace, M. and Wray, A. (2011), Critical Reading and Writing for Postgraduates, 2nd Edition, London, SAGE.
• Wilson, J. (2010) Essentials of Business Research: A Guide to Doing Your Research Project.  London: SAGE.
• Weitkamp, (2016). Creative Research Communication: theory and practice. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Academic Journals
Qualitative Research Methods: An International Journal (Emerald)
Journal of Marketing Research
Journal of Advertising Research
Journal of Consumer Marketing
Journal of Consumer Research
The International Journal of Market Research
Journal of Marketing
Journal of Brand Management
Journal of Product and Brand Management
Journal of Marketing Management
European Journal of Marketing
Journal of Services Marketing
International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management

Industry/ Country reports

Keynote, Mintel Marketing Intelligence, business insight, ESOMAR, GMID (Euromonitor)

Other Resources:

Discovering Statistics Using SPSS, 4th edition, Sage Publications. A link to Andy’s website with psychology related examples


Marketing Research Association (MRA)

European Society for opinion and Market Research-ESOMAR is an organisation aiming to enable better research into markets, consumers and societies. It provides a good insight into Marketing Research industry trends and developments.

British Market Research Association

The Association for Qualitative Research

Market Research World

The Social Research Association, with their own code of ethics and some useful resources.

Market Research Society

Results from UK government surveys

Ipsos MORI is a leading market research company in the UK and Ireland. You can see results of past surveys there.

Please note that during the semester, other books, articles and other resources would be recommended as need be.