Inter-campus market research project: Almost 80 students, over 800 questionnaires
Professors Dr Gabriele Schuster, Dr Cansu Oral and Dr Julia Hilgers-Sekowsky came up with something special for their third semester marketing management students: an inter-campus research project for the marketing research and marketing analysis module about the reading and writing habits across different generations. This opened up an opportunity for students to work hand-in-hand with classmates on other campuses. Christian Münkel, a student and project participant, explains how this worked.
How can we teach market research and market analysis in a practical and lively way? This question was the start of it all for our professors. They wanted their students to have the chance to do qualitative and quantitative research based on a real project in collaboration with a business company.
Opportunely, a self-publishing platform in Hamburg, “BoD – Books on Demand” also asked itself a question: What are the reading and writing habits across different generations? To find an answer the company was interested in cooperating with our university. We were ready to get started!
The project promised to become so big that our professor Dr Gabriele Schuster and her colleagues from Berlin and Düsseldorf decided to make it an inter-campus research project. The project was coordinated in Hamburg and each campus had its own areas of focus.
Theory first, then practice
We started with the regular lecture format to establish the theoretical basics before launching into practical applications. We received our actually research assignment from a BoD representative who came to our campus in Hamburg. We connected the BoD presentation to participants at the Düsseldorf campus via livestream.
To understand the working methods of the company better, we were also able to visit BoD’s printing house in advance. The production machines impressed me in particular: no modifications to the machines were necessary to produced books in a full range of colours and sizes.
The visit to BoD was also the starting signal for our project. In Berlin and Hamburg, we worked on creating a framework for our questionnaire. Several focus groups interviewed representatives of the so-called Y, X and Z generations, evaluated the results and forwarded them to the students in Düsseldorf who then formulated the questionnaire. This was then digitalised in Hamburg and Berlin.
Our goal during the next ten days was to conduct as many interviews as possible. Our primary focus was personal interviews, backed up by an online questionnaire, as well as online and telephone surveys. We collected over 800 responses throughout Germany. Professors and lecturers throughout Germany also supported our efforts by forwarding the link to their students.
Afterward, students at the campus in Berlin cleaned the data. In the end exactly 767 data sets remained. Students at the campuses in Düsseldorf and Hamburg then evaluated and interpreted the data. However, we still were not finished: we still needed to edit the results and prepare a presentation.
Older people prefer e-books, younger people paper
BoD once again visited us at the university to attend our presentation of results and recommendations for action. A surprising finding of our research was that e-books are more popular with the older generation, while the younger generation tends to prefer books in paper format. Is this an emerging trend?