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BUS 347: Consumer behaviour

Assignment #1: Attitude Change

Reader/consumer demographics

  • Vividata Target Snapshot  
    Your main source for detailed demographic data of the readers of many Canadian magazines and newspapers.  
    • See this page for the list of the magazines and newspapers currently covered by Vividata.
    • Learn-by-doing! Try finding the answers to these sample questions, then read my discussion of each answer.
    • See this blog post about the most recent changes to the interface and content. 
  • Media Kits
    Many (but not all!) magazines and newspapers will offer a media kit with details on their circulation, ad rates, and readers (demographics). Search for your target magazine's site and look for links to Advertisers or Media Kits.  For example, see this group of kits for Quebecor Media Group magazines (includes Elle Canada and The Hockey News, among others). Or how about this page of resources about Globe magazines (e.g., Report on Business)?  Also see this more detailed kit from the Economist (almost entirely focused on circulation data, though).

  • CARD Online
    Provides advertising rates and related data (e.g., circulation numbers) for every significant medium in Canada. It covers magazines, newspapers, radio and television stations and other advertising media -- although ad cost data isn't always available for every media outlet. CARD does not provide demographic details on readers/viewers.

  • Media Digest
    This annual publication includes detailed information on the Canadian market for a variety of media: everything from the age breakdown of the viewers of different TV channels to circulation, page rates, and readership of many magazines. 

  • TV viewer demographics
    In general, TV viewer demographics are much harder to find than similar data for magazines. If you choose to analyze a TV ad, you may not be able to gather enough publicly-available information to complete your assignment. If you still decide to work with a TV ad... 

    • Check the sites of TV broadcasters in case there is a TV version of a Media Kit (e.g., this page on the nature of CBC TV viewers). 

    • Try the old interface of Vividata (data to 2015 only!)- especially the Television-Specific part of the Products and Demographics section of the database - to see if your target show is covered. 

    • Check the Media Digest (listed above) for some broad demographics. 

    • Try to infer likely target audiences from the nature of specific shows and the types of ads they carry (but note that this approach may not be acceptable for your assignment).

Companies, brands, and products

  • Vividata Target Snapshot  
    Online access to detailed Canadian consumer data at the brand level. Do you need to know the demographics of Canadians who are members of Aeroplan or who drink Red Bull? Start with the Vividata reports! 
      
  • Passport
    Data on consumers and consumption around the world. Start by reading the Consumer Lifestyles in Canada report for a solid summary of Canadian consumers (ages, schooling, income, major buying habits, etc.).  Also look for reports on the brand/company/product type. Note, though, that Passport does not provide the same level of demographic detail for consumers of specific brands that the Vividata reports contain.
      
  • Business Source Complete
    Includes industry publications (e.g., Automotive Industries) and advertising publications (e.g., Advertising Age and Marketing Week) that report on consumer trends, company/brand news, and specific ad campaigns.
     
  • Ipsos News Centre
    Reports (with methodology and data tables in most cases) on consumer preferences and opinions. Strong Canadian focus, but very random regarding the specific products or services covered.
      
  • Best customers: Demographics of consumer demand & Household spending: Who spends how much on what
    Two ebooks with data on the demographics of consumers in the United States. Data is taken from the Consumer Expenditure Survey of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.  
      
  • Encyclopedia of Global Brands
    Reports on 270 different brands, each of which covers “how a product originated and was first marketed, how it developed commercially and how it fares today compared with its competitors and its own past history.” These reports are unlikely to address the specific campaign you are analyzing, but they may provide some valuable background.
      
  • Encyclopedia of Major Marketing Strategies 
    Reports on major campaigns of the past: Who were the marketers trying to target? How did they do it? How successful were they? Also see the older publication: Encyclopedia of Major Marketing Campaigns. Possibly useful for context on your target brand or product type, but note that all campaigns discussed are from 2013 or earlier.

Assignments 1 & 2: Research articles and books

What are scholarly journals?

  • You will definitely need to find scholarly literature on your topic for your essay and your presentation.  For a review of what scholarly literature means, start with: What is a Scholarly Journal?
      
  • Note that many databases have a feature that allows you to limit your results to scholarly/peer reviewed journals. Using this will remove most of the non-scholarly articles from your results, but not all of them. You still need to evaluate each article to be sure that it is truly scholarly.

How do I find scholarly articles?

Different databases provide access to journals in different subject areas. For your assignments, try searching in Business Source Complete and PsycInfo.

Below are  some common "consumer behaviour" subject headings used in each database to get you started.

Business Source Complete:

  • Consumers - Attitudes
  • Consumer behavior
  • Consumers' preferences
  • Attitude (Psychology)
  • Consumer satisfaction
  • Consumers
  • Customer loyalty
  • Advertising

PsycInfo:

  • Consumer attitudes
  • Consumer behavior
  • Consumer psychology
  • Consumer research
  • Consumer satisfaction
  • Consumer surveys
  • Retailing

Finding books

Why use books

Books sometimes have a reputation of containing old information, but a quick subject heading search for "consumer behavior" in the SFU Library catalogue will find dozens of useful books and ebooks, many of which were written in the last few years. In addition, remember that consumers are people and human nature doesn't change much in the short term: older books aren't necessarily outdated!

Evaluating information from books

Be careful to evaluate the information you find in books. In particular, always ask where the information has come from: was it from the author's own experience, a detailed study, or a range of studies listed in a bibliography? Would you trust the information you found if you had to use it to make a million-dollar decision?

Searching for books in the Catalogue

Start by searching with the following subjects in the SFU Library catalogue, but also try keyword searching to find books with just one chapter on your topic. For instance, the book "Handbook of developments in consumer behaviour" has chapters on a number of key themes in consumer behaviour research, each of which could be an entry point into that part of the field. Similarly, see "The Routledge companion to consumer behavior analysis."

Help!

Getting help

Online help and guides

Look for a guide.  Many of the databases that you will use have built-in 'help' sections.  In addition, for general help using our catalogue or moving from citation to journal, we have some online tutorials.

In-person help

Come to the help desk on the main floor of the Bennett Library, or the Reference Desks in our Surrey and Vancouver branches.  Reference Librarians can help you identify your concepts, think of synonyms, choose databases and print indexes, search for articles and books here or at other libraries, search for web resources....

Phone, email, chat, and other Ask a Librarian services

If you are researching from off-campus, you could try contacting our reference librarians via telephone, chat, or email using our Ask a Librarian services.

You are also welcome to email me (Mark: mbodnar@sfu.ca) with your questions. It makes things much more efficient if you start your email by explaining...

  • what class you are in (so I have an idea of your assignment and background);
  • when the assignment is due;
  • what exactly you are after (saying that you need research on "consumers & beer " is far too broad - saying that you need to know how to find "information about studies done on the effectiveness of beer advertising among women" is better (though not necessarily simpler!));
  • where you have you looked so far (have you tried the catalogue, PsycINFO, Business Source Complete, etc.?);
  • and what search terms you tried when you searched.

Writing and citing 

Writing assistance

Research is only half the battle! You also need to communicate your findings in a clear, well-structured paper, Check the SFU Library guide to Business Writing and The SFU Student Learning Commons guide to Academic Writing Resources  for resources to help with paper structures, grammar, spelling, and more.

You might find the literature review guides from the Student Learning Commons to be particularly useful for this course.  See also this detailed infographic. Remember, though, that your second assignment requires a special sort of literature review in which you will also be discussing the application of the research findings in a narrow area to a specific consumer behaviour problem in marketing.

Citing your sources

You also need to correctly cite all of the books, journal articles, and sites that you used in your research. Start with the SFU Library Writing & Citing guides for APA assistance (general and business-specific). 

NOTE: Citation or reference management tools collect your journal article, book, or other document citations together in one place, and help you create properly formatted bibliographies in almost any style — in seconds. Citation management tools help you keep track of your sources while you work and store your references for future use and reuse.

Learning how to properly credit others when you use their ideas is a difficult, but important part of research. Start with the SFU Library's interactive tutorial "Understanding and Avoiding Plagiarism" to test yourself and to learn more about plagiarism. Also read the SFU Library Guide on Plagiarism for further discussion of this critical topic and for links to other plagiarism guides.

Support for presentations

SFU Library has many books and e-books on “business presentations” and “public speaking.”  Start with this guide to such resources.  The Library also loans digital projectors you could borrow to use within the library and offers bookable meeting rooms in which you could practice.