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MN7012 Research Methods for Marketing Assignment Help


Module Leader:                        Dr Liang Zhao

Assessment Type:                Individual Assessment

Weighting:                                     70%

Deadline:                                        tbc at 15:00 via Turnitin on Blackboard

Wordcount:                                  3000 (+/-10%) excluding references, appendices, charts, diagrams, etc.

Cohort:                                             September/January Intake

Academic Year:                        2021/22

Assignment Brief

In MN7012 Research Methods for Marketing module, you will work on a live project developed by the module leader in conjunction with a third-party organisation, The Social Impact Team (SIT). This assignment will take the form of a 3000 words (+/-10%) essay. In response to the Social Impact Team’s briefing document (see below), you are asked to develop EITHER a (1) qualitative research instrument OR (2) quantitative questionnaire survey to address ONE of the stipulated topics (see client’s brief below for further details).

In this assignment, you are asked to develop either a qualitative or a quantitative instrument to address the research gaps identified in the client brief. In your essay, you must provide clear rationale to justify your methodological choices by drawing on relevant research theories and readings introduce to you in your module. Explain the research procedures involved in operationalising your research design. Lastly, reflect on the limitations of your research design and discuss the ethical issues that may arise in your study. You are expected to cite academic references to support your arguments.

Note: Please do not conduct fieldwork/collect primary data as part of this assignment. This assignment asks that you pitch your research design by taking on the role of a researcher at a market research agency. You are not expected to conduct fieldwork for this assessment as this would require ethics approval from the module leader. Instead, you are asked to device a research instrument and provide justifications for its viability.

Further Guidance

Prior to writing your essay, please follow the guidance below on how to prepare for your essay.

Preparation prior to writing your essay:

  • You are to choose ONE of the research topic stipulated in the client’s brief.
  • Read the client’s brief below and note down the research need highlighted by the Social Impact Team. What information does the SIT require?
  • Conduct a brief literature search on the topic stipulated in the client’s brief. You are not expected to do extensive reading on the topic. Rather the literature should be used only to identify: suitable topic areas for developing an interview guide (qualitative research) or relevant variables that inform the development of hypothesis, which in turn shape the design of a questionnaire (quantitative research).
  • List 1-2 broad research aim(s), and no more than 4-5 research objectives for the topic.
  • Based on your research aim and objectives, consider whether qualitative (Option A) or quantitative (Option B) research should be used to address these research objectives.
  • If you propose to conduct quantitative research, outline a list of hypotheses you intend to test.
  • Draft the outline of your research design. First, decide which data collection method is best suited to address your research aim/objectives and/or hypotheses you have outlined above. As part of your preparation, outline or sketch a plan on how your data collection method can address them.
  • For example, if you propose to conduct quantitative research, you are expected to design a questionnaire, making sure you utilise different types of measures (nominal, ordinal, interval, and ratio) that will allow you to address the listed hypotheses above. In the module, you will be introduced to quantitative survey as a sole method of quantitative analysis.
  • If you propose to conduct qualitative research, focus on developing a research instrument for ONE qualitative data collection method only: focus group, in-depth interview or ethnography.
  • If you propose to conduct qualitative research, design an interview/observation guide making sure you utilise different interviewing techniques (e.g. projective techniques) and different types of questions/observations that will allow you to address your research objectives above.
  • Please make sure you attach your research instrument (questionnaire or interview/observation guide) as Appendix A at the end of your essay.

Suggested Essay Structure

Below is a suggested structure to writing the essay. Please note that the word-counts indicated in each section should be treated as suggested guidance.

Section 1: Introduction (app. 400 words):

  • Begin your essay by briefly introducing the SIT research topic stipulated in the client’s brief. Briefly discuss the information gap related to this topic and why addressing this gap is important.
  • If you are designing qualitative research, outline (in bullet points) the research aim(s) and objectives for this study.
  • If you are designing a quantitative survey, outline a series of hypothesis you wish to test.
  • Briefly explain who your target population is for this study. There is no need to discuss your sampling plan here.

(please note that your research objectives and hypothesis are not included in the wordcount)

Section 2: Critical evaluation of methodology (app. 800 words)

  • Critically explain which research philosophy your methodology is grounded in. Is your research design positivistic or interpretivist in nature? Is your research exploratory or conclusive? Why?
  • Explain whether you have chosen a qualitative or a quantitative research design. Justify your reasons. Specifically, explain how your chosen methodology enables you to address the research objectives outlined in your introduction.
  • Is your research cross-sectional or longitudinal? Why?
  • What data collection method do you intend to use? In this essay, you must choose only ONE data collection method. If you have chosen a qualitative research design, do you intend to use focus group, in-depth interviews or ethnography? Why? If you have chosen a quantitative research design, do you intend to conduct a questionnaire survey? Why? How will your chosen data collection method enables you to address your research objectives?

Section 3: Developing Research Instrument (app. 1200 words)

Option A: Qualitative Research Instrument

  • Design an interview guide (suitable for either a focus group or in-depth interview) or an ethnographic observation guide to address the research objectives identified above. You are encouraged to be creative and use different interviewing techniques and questions (e.g. projective techniques, photographs etc). Attach the interview/observation guide and supporting prompts in Appendix A.
  • In the essay, provide an explanation of the research process involve – i.e. how do you intend to carry out your research study. For example,
    • Focus Group: if you are conducting a focus group, how do you design your focus group? Is your group composition homogenous or heterogeneous? Why? What is the duration of your focus group? How many people will you be recruiting per group? How many groups do you intend to conduct? Who will be the moderator? Justify your focus group design choices.
    • In-depth Interview: What type of interviews do you intend to conduct? Semi-structured or unstructured? What topic areas do you intend to cover? How do you probe for richer answers? Justify your interview design choices.
    • Ethnography: What type of observation do you intend to carry out? Is your observation overt or covert? Do you intend to participate in the activities of your participants or would observe from a distant? Why? Would you be interviewing your participants on-site? Justify your ethnographic design choices.
  • How did you develop your interview/observation guide? What interviewing techniques do you intend to employ? Why? What type of questions do you design for your interview? How do you probe for further answers? Are you using any projective techniques? If so, which projective techniques do you intend to use and why? Do you intend to use any prompts such as photographs, videos, diaries? If you are conducting observation, what would you be observing? Do you intend to engage in a descriptive, focused or selective observation? Why?
  • Where possible, provide examples by illustrating your research instrument (interview/observation guide) to support your explanation above.
  • Reflect on the importance of reflexivity in qualitative research and how this is implicated in your study.

Option B: Quantitative Survey

  • Design a questionnaire to test the hypotheses outlined in the introduction above. Attach the interview/observation guide and supporting prompts in Appendix A.
  • In the essay, you need to explain how you develop your questionnaire.  
  • Explain and justify the types of measures (e.g. nominal, ordinal, interval and ratio) you intend to use. Justify and illustrate how these measures address the hypotheses above.
  • How does the design of your questionnaire motivate participants to participate and complete the survey in a way that minimize response error?
  • Discuss the statistical analyses (e.g. descriptive, inferential, association, differences and predictive) you intend to use to address your research hypotheses.
  • Where possible, provide examples by illustrating your research instrument (interview/observation guide) to support your explanation above.

Section 4: Critical Reflection: Limitations of the Study (app. 600 words)

Conclude your essay by critically reflecting on ethical implications and limitations of your research design and instruments. Discuss how you intend to mitigate these limitations and ethical issues. Or if these limitations cannot be addressed in the current study, consider how future researchers who intend to carry out similar study could address these limitations.

See below for more information regarding the use of appendices

Use of appendices

In this essay, you MUST include your research instrument (i.e. questionnaire, interview guide or observation guide) in Appendix A. You may also include other appendices that you are unable to include in the main body of the essay. Appendices are not included in the wordcount.

However, with the exception of Appendix A, you are advised to be cautious when including other appendices in this assignment. There are no specific criteria for marking or mark allocation available for appendices, so the assessment process focuses on the appropriate use of appendices. When deciding whether or not to include other appendices, consider the following points:

  • Appendices should add value or detail to the discussion and analysis undertaken in the main body of the assignment.
  • They offer students the opportunity to give greater relevant and appropriate detail to support the main analysis and discussion.
  • Models, theory and discussion that demonstrate critical evaluation and analysis of issues related to the module being assessed should always be presented within the main body of the text. This discussion should make sense without referring to the appendices.
  • Using bullet points in the text (which does not constitute analysis) and putting the detailed analysis in the appendices is not an acceptable practice and could result in failure.
  • The inclusion of appendices should not be viewed as an opportunity to include anything that cannot fit in the word count.
  • Assignments that make excessive use of appendices suggest inappropriate use. As a guide, we would not normally expect appendices to exceed one third of the length of the assignment.
  • Appendices should always be referenced at the appropriate point within the discussion in the main body of the text.


To: Selected research agencies

From: Ai-Ling Lai on behalf of The Social Impact Team, University of Leicester

Social Impact Team: Dr. Sandra Lee and Ms. Alice Jackson (Academic Engagement Officer)

Date: 10 November 2021

We are pleased to invite you to design a research instrument for a study to be initiated by The Social Impact Team at the University of Leicester. The enclosed brief highlights the research topic we wish you to address. We have approached your agency due to your affinity with the university student body.

Your tender will be evaluated on the basis of a sound research instrument. We are open to innovative methods and suggestions. We have provided information we think is relevant to your response.

This study is important to us and we hope that it will give us valuable insights into how we can encourage and enhance student’s continual engagement with sustainable practices during and after their studies at the University of Leicester.

We look forward to receiving your response.

Yours Sincerely

Ai-Ling Lai

Dr. Ai-Ling Lai

On Behalf of The Social Impact Team


The Social Impact Team (SIT) is a strategic arm of the University of Leicester, who play a significant role in developing, enhancing and delivering the institution’s sustainable and social responsibility agenda. As a global university, our vision is to enhance our position as:

“an engaged and socially aware institution, renowned for producing graduates with the skills and knowledge that not only allow them to succeed, but also to enrich and sustain the world”.  (Source: Social Impact Strategy


Our team members engage, monitor and audit the operational practices of the university, ensuring that they are run in a way that efficiently minimises its impact on the environment. More recently, The Social Impact Team has widened its remit to include social responsibility alongside its sustainable programmes. Our plans and policies include waste management, travel, sustainable procurement, energy efficiency and biodiversity. The Social Impact Strategy adopted by the team is based on the seventeen UN Sustainable Development Goals, as illustrated in the diagram below:


The Social Impact Team is particularly keen to engage the student body by embedding sustainable development into the curriculum and courses taught at the University. Through the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) scheme, the Social Impact Team envisions higher education that:  

“gives the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values necessary to empower every human being to assume the responsibility of creating a sustainable future.”  (https://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/estates/environment/teaching)


As part of the ESD initiative, the Social Impact Team would like to invite your market research agency to design a research instrument to gauge the perception of UOL students on ONE of the following topics:

  1. How can the SIT better engage with the diverse student population at UOL?

The majority of students that engage with the activities of the Social Impact Team are from a white middle class background. Indeed, existing research consistently characterises environmental sustainability movement as largely white, educated and middle class (see Agyeman, 2008; Beasy, 2019). In addressing the University of Leicester’s initiative for inclusive education (see: https://le.ac.uk/about/making-a-difference/equality), the Social Impact Team is keen to expand the reach of their ESD education programme and engage with a more diverse cohort of students.

The Social Impact Team would like to commission a research to address the following questions:

  • How do current UOL students (from a diverse background) perceive the importance of embedding sustainability within the university curriculum?
  • What are the current attitudes/perceptions of UOL students (from a diverse background) concerning issues pertaining to sustainability (as defined by the UN Sustainable Goals)?
  • To what extents are UOL students (from a diverse background) aware of the SIT activities in promoting and engaging students in matters pertaining to sustainability?
  • What social Impact activities would UOL students expect the university to carry out in their attempt to promote sustainability?
  • How can the SIT be inclusive to students of all ethnicities, classes and genders in terms of their activities?
  • What is the most effective way to reduce meat consumption on campus?

Reducing meat consumption is one of the most effective methods of reducing carbon footprint on an individual as well as institutional level. In addition, existing studies have shown that reducing the consumption of red meat is considered healthier and more sustainable (see Apostolidis and McLeay, 2016). Livestock agriculture has been identified as a significant driver of global warming, which is responsible for 15% of all greenhouse emission (The Guardian 2014 https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jul/21/giving-up-beef-reduce-carbon-footprint-more-than-cars).       . 

The Social Impact Team would like to commission a research to address the following questions:

  • What are the attitudes/perceptions of current UOL students concerning meat consumption?
  • To what extent does meat constitute UOL student’s current diet whilst studying at the University of Leicester?
  • For UOL students who consume meat as an integral part of their diet, to what extent would they be willing to reduce meat consumption on campus? To what extent would these students be willing to consume food made from plant-based meat substitutes?
  • For UOL students who adopt a plant-base diet, what are their perceptions of the current offerings of vegan/vegetarian food on campus?
  • What do current UOL students consider to be the most effective way of reducing meat consumption whilst studying at the university?
  • How would UOL students react to the Social Impact Team’s proposal to reduce the availability of meat on campus? Do current UOL students consider such an initiative to be preferable to a complete ban of meat sold on campus?
  • What is the most effective way disseminate complex climate change concepts to UIL students?

With the latest publication of the COP26 summit agreement, the need to address the impact of global warming is becoming increasingly pressing (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-56901261). Existing studies consistently reveal that while young people show an interest in issues pertaining to climate change, they nevertheless feel a pervasive sense of ‘hopelessness, pessimism, and helplessness, as well as inactivity’ (Ojala, 2011: 625). Yet, as Corner et al (2015) argue, there remains a significant research gap to understand young people’s engagement with climate change. Are young people more inclined to understand and relate to information through social media or short videos in the style of popular social media apps like Tik Tok or Instagram? Or do students better relate to visual images, blog posts, panels or infographics? The Social Impact Team is looking to identify avenues to communicate complex information about climate change with young people currently studying at the University of Leicester.

The SIT would like to commission a research to address the following questions:

  • What are current UOL student’s attitudes/perceptions of climate change? To what extent do they consider the impact of climate change on their livelihood at present and in future?
  • How optimistic/pessimistic do students ‘feel’ about the role they play in reversing the impact of global warming?
  • To what extent do UOL students consider climate change to be the responsibility of individuals, businesses, government and/or systemic changes? To what extent do students consider their individual responsibility to be prominent vis-à-vis other stakeholders?
  • How can the Social Impact Team disseminate complex climate change concepts to UOL students?
  • What roles do social media play in disseminating complex climate change concepts to UOL students? How should messages pertaining to climate change be communicated to UOL students (e.g. visuals, texts etc.)?

Useful Reading:

Agyeman, J.(2008). Toward a ‘just’ sustainability?,Continuum, 22:6, 751-756, 

DOI: 10.1080/10304310802452487

Apostolidis, C. and McLeay, F. (2016) Should we stop meating like this? Reducing meat consumption through substitution, Food Policy, Vol. 65: 74-89.


Beasy, K. (2018) Interpretations of Sustainability beyond the middle class,
Australian Journal of Environmental Education
 , Volume 36 , Special Issue 3: Making connections: Creating relationships with nonhuman nature, place and community , November 2020 , pp. 246 – 263 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/aee.2019.25

Corner, A., Roberts, O., Chiari, S., Voller, S., Mayrhuber, E.S., Mandi, S. and Monson, K. (2015), How do young people engage with climate change? The role of knowledge, values, message framing, and trusted communicators, Vol. 6(5): 523-534 (https://wires.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/wcc.353)

Ojala, M. (2012) Hope and climate change: the importance of hope for environmental engagement among young people, Environmental Education Research, 18:5, 625-642, DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2011.637157.


We are open to research designs that are best suited to gathering information needed for the above topic. While we believe that qualitative and quantitative research designs are well suited to the topic, due to budgetary constraint, we are keen to receive a research design that focuses on a single method study (i.e. either a qualitative or a quantitative research). If the initial phase of the research is successful, we are opened to commission further research with your agency.


The tenders will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Clear understanding of the Social Impact Team’s research requirements.
  • Clear research aim and objectives.
  • Effective research methodology, which address the research aim(s) and objectives.
  • A well-designed research instrument that is appropriate for the study.
  • Clear justification must be provided for the proposed methodology.
  • Ethically informed research design.
  • Reflection on the limitations of the research design.