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Discussion Market

No one can dispute the role played by information in the modern day competitive environment. The rate of increase in levels of competition in various industry and market segments is at an all time high and the need for market research has never been as clearly defined. Market research like any other area that is affected by behavioural patterns and communication is affected by a number of factors each of which has a bearing on the levels of success that can be attained in determining the needs and characteristics of market.

Two approaches are common and this paper tries to establish the advantages and disadvantages of using the family as the unit of analysis thus aid develop a proper understanding of market research that uses the family as the basic unit of analysis. Discussion Market research is basically aimed at establishing the behaviour and buying pattern that exists in the market and therefore determine which segments an organisation can best operate in. Buying behaviours and the factors that determine behaviour are of critical importance as they determine the values that the parameters of choice take on.

One justification of the family approach is that the individuals and family have a close relationship.

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Many theories be they development or cognitivism that try to explain behaviour conclude that the environment and the experiences that one undergoes have a bearing on the behaviour they adopt (Ortinau, 2000). To put it plainly, one who was raised up in a family that has a car will rate having a car higher in his order of priority than one who was raised up in a family that had no automobile.

This clearly shows that the family has a bearing on the perceptions that one develops and therefore their behaviour. It should also be remembered that it is upon the family to determine the basic social skills that form a basis for the development of personal traits. Parenting determines the values one will adopt and is critical to the person one will grow up to be. Other behavioural theories may state that behaviour is inherited and therefore a family should behave in a manner that shows some similarity and this behaviour affects their perception and therefore order of priorities.

It is upon such theories that the family is taken as a unit of research since members of a family are expected to behave and carry themselves in a way that is unique and different from other families. The advantages of considering the family as the unit of research are many and in most cases they are considered relative to the individual approach. Market research is quite costly and if in a population the experimental units are families rather than individuals then the numbers of units that have to be considered are reduced.

The high costs associated with research in data collection and analysis is reduced considering the experimental units are fewer (Ruddick, 2003). Moreover, an individual approach will lead to high levels of variations that are not suitable for simple sampling approaches. Statistically the levels of variation are reduced significantly by stratifying data and the same can be said of clustering individuals into families that have similar behaviours. Analysis is made simple and sampling approaches that are associated with reduced cost are more applicable.

Considering the family as the basic unit of research has some cons. Individual experiences have a bearing on the perception that one develops and that is why identical twins have different views (Malhotra, & Peterson, 2006). A family approach basically assumes the role played by experiences in shaping individual behaviours and is therefore more likely to be biased and lead to wrong conclusions. In addition to this con, defining a family is not as easy and development of a criteria for collecting information is far much complex.

In the individual approach data can be collected from the individual, who should present information in a family approach and what are the guarantees that the information will not be affected by their perception? A recent development that is bound to affect the household approach to research is increase in non-traditional households. Anything outside a family where the father, mother and children see each other and are married can be referred as a non-traditional household and include single parents, unmarried couples and same sex couples (Grover,& Vriens, 2006).

The implications of non-traditional households on family unit approach to market research are two fold. Non-traditional families make the sample and population under this approach bear a level of diversity that is comparable to individual. Getting this diversity is important in correctly analysing the behaviour patterns of the market. However, non-traditional families approach goes against the rational in using the family as a basis for analysis. If a family is made up of females with no children or is headed by a single parent the effects they will have on individuals is different.

In fact non traditional families have little effect on individuals and how they are brought up. The assumption that members of a family bear close resemblance is likely to be affected by an increase in the number of non-traditional families. Conclusion Any approach in research has its pros and cons. Understanding the pros and cons and the relevance of the approach to the market segment that is to be analysed and objectives of the research is of importance. Choice of a research approach should be guided by the relevance of the approach and not just the qualities of the approach.

References Grover, R. , & Vriens, M. (2006). The Handbook of Marketing Research: Uses, Misuses, and Future Advances. Thousand Oaks, LA: SAGE. Malhotra, N. K. , & Peterson, M. (2006). Basic Marketing Research: A Decision-making Approach. London: Pearson/Prentice Hall. Ortinau, D. (2000). Marketing Research: A Practical Approach for the New Millennium. London: McGraw-Hill Education. Ruddick, M. E. (2003). The Marketing Research Handbook: A Decision-Oriented Approach. Toronto: Pearson Education Canada.

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