Business Research Methods
Develop a brief research proposal based on the following scenario:
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ABC Shirt Corporation (ABC) produces and sells shirts throughout the United States and Canada. At a recent meeting of the board of directors of ABC two of the board members discussed changes in the level of long sleeved shirt sales in the western region. Carri Szekely, the Chair of the marketing committee, believes that growing concern over the West Nile Virus inspired an up-tick in sales of long sleeved shirts over the previous summer season. Basil Hartless, the Chair of the production committee, believes that the West Nile Virus threat is unrelated to the change in consumers’ preferences. Mr. Hartless believes that there may be some kind of shift in tastes but that it is unrelated to the West Nile Virus. The ABC board resolved to authorize Ms. Szekely to commission a study of consumer preferences for sleeve length and the relationship between those preferences to the ongoing threat of the West Nile Virus.
Business Research Methods
The management dilemma in this case is that there seems to be some change in sleeve preference in the western region. Management is concerned that the shift in consumer preferences may continue and intensify if news of a fresh West Nile Virus outbreak comes during the next summer season.
Ms. Szekely has retained your company to develop a research proposal based on the above management dilemma. In your proposal please follow the outline below and the format used in the previous application lessons. Do noi list any specific questions. Do not attempt to evaluate the efficacy of mosquito repellant or sleeve length on preventing the West Nile Virus. The only question the board at ABC is concerned about is consumer preferences for sleeve length. Business Research Methods
Create a Hypothesis based on the management dilemma above. The hypothesis should be a relational hypothesis. That is, the hypothesis should describe the relationship between two variables with respect to some case; relationships are correlational or explanatory.
Business Research Methods
Define the variables in the study
Choose and defend a research design. The design should complement your hypothesis. Be sure to identify which of the following you will be using and why, in your proposal.
Select a sample. Choose and defend the type of sampling you will be using. Be sure to note whether or not the sample will be probabilistic. Also, be sure to note how, why and where
the sample will be collected.
Describe the type of data that will be collected (nominal, ordinal, interval or ratio). Explain why the measurement used is valid, reliable and practical.
Describe the Decision Rule that will confirm, deny or prove your hypothesis or proposition. Note that Ms. Szekely is eager to add a “West Nile Virus” feature to the coming summer marketing campaign while Mr. Hartless is quite sure that the current marketing strategy is fine as it is. Use your judgment and common sense to establish a decision rule that will satisfy both Ms. Szekely and Mr. Hartless.
Both Ms. Szekely and Mr. Hartless have seen the following press release and feel that it bolsters their point of view.
Four in Ten Americans in High-Mosquito Areas Are Not Yet Taking Precautions Against West Nile/ Mosquito Bites
BOSTON, MA – A new study, conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health Project on the Public and Biological Security shortly after this year’s first human cases of West Nile virus in the U.S., finds that nearly four in ten (38%) residents of high-mosquito areas have not yet taken any precautions against mosquito bites. These findings are similar to those found at the end of last year’s outbreak of West Nile virus.
Business Research Methods
“This suggests the need for better communication by public healtl1 officials and health professionals to educate Americans on what steps they should take to protect themselves against West Nile virus,” said Robert J. Blendon, professor of Health Policy and Political Analysis at the Harvard School of Public Healtl1.
The survey also shows that nearly half (48%) of people in high-mosquito areas are concerned that they or a family member may get sick from West Nile virus in the next 12 months.
These findings, based on interviews with 1,015 Americans nationwide, including 471 who said there are a lot of mosquitoes where they live, come shortly after this year’s first human case of West Nile virus in the U.S. was confirmed. So far in 2003, 44 human cases of illness from West Nile have been reported in the U.S. (as of July 30, 2003) with one confirmed deatl1. Last year 4,156 human cases of illness from West Nile, resulting in 284 deaths, were reported nationwide. West Nile is a virus that is mainly transmitted by mosquito bites.
Precautions against Mosquito Bites
In high-mosquito areas, nearly four in ten (38%) residents report not having taken any precautions against mosquito bites since the beginning of June 2003. At the end of last year’s outbreak of the disease, a similar proportion (43%) reported not having taken any precautions. Given the number of cases of West Nile in 2002 and the fact that the disease has recurred in humans this year, this finding raises an important public health concern.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend using mosquito repellent containing DEET, but only 46% of Americans living in high-mosquito areas say they have used such a repellent (including the brands Off and Cutter) since the beginning of June. Three in ten (32%) have used a mosquito repellent containing citronella, and 13% report using some other kind of mosquito repellent.
Fewer than half of Americans living in high-mosquito areas report that they have taken each of four other specific recommended precautions since the beginning of June. Four in ten report having removed standing water from spare tires, gutters, bird baths, kiddie pools and other places where water collects (44%) and having avoided going outdoors at the peak mosquito hours of dawn and dusk (40%). Three in ten (30%) say they have worn long� sleeve shirts and other protective clothing outdoors. Twenty percent report having replaced or repaired window screens.
Much smaller numbers report having taken other precautions, such as using a “bug zapper” in their yard (11%) or buying mosquito netting (4%). Neither precaution has been specifically recommended by the CDC.
It cannot be determined from these results whether people are taking these precautions specifically to protect against getting the West Nile virus. In high-mosquito areas, separating general precautions against mosquitoes from those aimed at dealing with a specific mosquito-borne threat is difficult. Many people living in high-mosquito areas, in order to prevent the annoyance of mosquito bites and probably aware of other dangers such as encephalitis, would take precautions in any case. [Encephalitis is a brain inflammation that can be caused by viruses, including some carried by insects.]
Not surprisingly, far fewer residents of areas where there are not very many mosquitoes report having taken precautions against bites (32%, compared with 62% in high-mosquito areas). No more than one in five took any of the individual precautions, including using mosquito repellents that contain DEET (19% ).
The survey was supported by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the Harvard Center for Public Health Preparedness.
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