In this week’s lecture, we took a closer look a setting up our surveys to conduct for our final project and which questions we are going to ask our survey takers. While thinking about relevant questions for our survey that would lead us in the right direction and would actually give us some valuable information about our topic, which is the WVWC MBA Program, we found that there are some boundaries and limitations to our research project.
In chapter 16 of his book, McQuarrie (2016) provides the reader with two types of boundaries that could occur while doing market research. The first boundary focusses on true uncertainty, which means that we can’t predict how something will be in the future. In the case of our study this can be seen as a boundary as well. For our research project, we are only limited to conducting surveys among WVWC students and staff. The problem is that our research topic looks at how WVWC can reach professionals already out in the business world and convince them into getting their MBA degree at WVWC. This is one example of a boundary in market research, because when we have students take our survey, we need them to place themselves within a situation where they are a professional. We have to ask them if they would consider participating in the WVWC MBA Program in the future.
It is a little easier for WVWC staff, because they have already spent some time within the business world and are able to explain why they would need an MBA degree and what the benefits for that employee would be.
The second boundary, discussed in McQuarrie’s (2016) book, takes a deeper look at the ratio of research costs to business payoff. This simply means that market research is possible, but that the cost of doing the research outweighs the benefits of the research. This is not a problem that we will have, because our market research is solely based on the input from WVWC students and staff, which is free information. The only cost we’ll have to counts towards our project is the cost for setting up a relevant survey that will provide us with all the information we need.
Besides these two boundaries as described by McQuarrie, there are a couple other factors that will end up limiting the precision of a research. As discussed we can only target WVWC students and staff, where we’ll be able to gather a lot more information from students because there are more students than staff members on this campus. In regards to this we also have to keep in mind that current WVWC students are from a different generation than some of the professionals in the field. At the moment, we have Generation X and Generation Y. These two generations have most likely different thoughts towards how to learn new information. Where people from Generation Y will probably favor online tools of education because they feel more comfortable using these tools, some professionals who below to Generation Y might still prefer face-to-face interactions with professors when it comes down to learning new information. This could skew our results towards a preference for the use of online platforms and interfaces, because we are only able to target current WVWC students and staff (of which the students represent the majority of the researched population).
These boundaries don’t mean that we can’t conduct effective qualitative or quantitative research about our topic, but it definitely complicates it. We’ll have to draw two different conclusions from the results of our surveys based on WVWC students and WVWC staff. The results that we’ll get from WVWC staff will be the most accurate data and could help us directly in guiding our research project in the right direction, while the results from WVWC students will be more helpful towards the future. The main reason for this is again the fact that we are looking at two different generations that could possibly have two different points of view when it comes down to learning new material, like for example getting their MBA degree from WVWC online or through face-to-face interactions with professors.