MARKET SIZE AND SOURCES OF DEMAND

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Chapter 2

Abstract

Direct mail questionnaires are a popular method of collecting primary data for market research. One problem associated with administering mail questionnaires is the possibility of non-response bias. One way to decrease this possibility is through higher response rates. The researchers analyzed the effects of questionnaire length on response rate with direct mail questionnaires to an industrial sample. Two independent samples of medium sized cabinet producers (< $20 million in sales and > 10 employees) randomly drawn from the same population were sent two different questionnaires. One questionnaire was three pages in length and the other was one page in length. The results showed that the sample receiving the short questionnaire had nearly double the response rate (30.8% vs. 16.6%). Using the statistical test for comparing two binomial proportions it was shown that the response rate for the shorter questionnaire was significantly higher.Subsequent t-tests on selected responses from both questionnaires indicated that the short questionnaire added no bias to the study.

Introduction

Whenever data is collected from a large population using a direct mail questionnaire, non-response bias can become a problem. That is, the respondents to the questionnaire may differ in some fundamental way from the non-respondents. This can cause the data that is received to be biased toward the respondents, thus not representative of the population that is being sampled. One way to decrease the chances of nonresponse bias becoming a problem is to increase the number of participants in a study, i.e., increase the response rate from the sample frame. This chapter discusses data collection, questionnaire design, and factors that can be controlled to improve the response rate for direct mail questionnaires. It summarizes the results of a study that investigated the affect of questionnaire length on the response rate from an industrial (cabinet manufacturers) sample frame.

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Data Collection

Data collection is an integral part of marketing research. Depending on whether primary or secondary data are being collected, there are several different methods of collecting information. In this research primary data was being collected on the use of wood and wood based products in the U.S. cabinet industry. The three different types of primary data collection methods available are qualitative research, surveys, and experiments (Aaker et al. 1998). Each of these methods has advantages and disadvantages and their applicability depend on the circumstances and goals of the research. Qualitative research is well suited for exploratory analysis and gaining a better understanding of key findings (Gupta et al. 1998). It usually consists of observing and interacting with respondents. An example of this would be a focus group. Surveys are a more flexible form of data collection than qualitative research. They can be designed to serve many purposes, ranging from qualitative to quantitative, as well as showing causal relationships. Experiments are typically used to show causal relationships. This is done through the manipulation of an independent variable (i.e., advertising) to determine the effect on a dependent variable (i.e., sales) (Aaker et al. 1998). Deciding which is the most appropriate method of data collection depends on the goals of the research and the characteristics of the population being observed. Where primary data is being collected to describe a large population, survey research has been shown to be the best method available (Babbie 1989). As this was the goal for this study, survey research was decided upon as the method for data collection.

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ABSTRACT 
DEDICATION
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
PREFACE 
TABLE OF CONTENTS
LIST OF TABLES 
LIST OF FIGURES 
CHAPTER 1 
ABSTRACT 
INTRODUCTION
PROBLEM STATEMENT AND JUSTIFICATION
RESEARCH OBJECTIVES 
LITERATURE REVIEW: U.S. CABINET INDUSTRY 
DEMOGRAPHICS.
MARKET SIZE AND SOURCES OF DEMAND
WOOD MATERIAL USE
Species and Grade Mix
INDUSTRY TRENDS AND CONCERNS
Outsourcing
Distribution Channels
Mergers
Increasing Flexibility
Other Room Cabinets
Raw Materials
Government Regulations
Employment Problems
BENEFITS OF RESEARCH 
METHODOLOGY
SAMPLE DEVELOPMENT
DATA COLLECTION
DATA ANALYSIS
Material Use Estimates
Species Use Estimations
Managerial Issues
Questionnaire Analysis
Non-response Bias
LITERATURE CITED
CHAPTER 2 
ABSTRACT 
INTRODUCTION
DATA COLLECTION
QUESTIONNAIRE DESIGN
FACTORS AFFECTING RESPONSE RATE
CABINET INDUSTRY AND TYPICAL RESPONSE RATES
OBJECTIVES 
METHODOLOGY
NON-RESPONSE BIAS
RESULTS
CONCLUSIONS 
LITERATURE CITED
CHAPTER 3
ABSTRACT 
INTRODUCTION
RESEARCH OBJECTIVES 
METHODOLOGY
SAMPLE DEVELOPMENT
DATA COLLECTION
DATA ANALYSIS
Material Use Estimates
Species Use and Lumber Grade Estimations
Managerial Issues
Non-response Bias
RESULTS
RESPONDENT PROFILE
MATERIAL USE
Hardwood Lumber
Parts and Components
Softwood Lumber
Panel Products and Veneer
Material Purchases
SALES
MANAGEMENT ISSUES
Certified Products
Wood Substitutes
Outsourcing
Issues Facing Cabinet Industry
COMPARISONS TO PAST RESEARCH
LITERATURE CITED
CHAPTER 4 
RESEARCH SUMMARY
CHANGES AND TRENDS FROM PAST STUDIES
CONCLUSIONS
LIMITATIONS TO THE STUDY
LITERATURE CITED
APPENDIX: SURVEY QUESTIONNAIRES AND COVER LETTERS
VITAE 

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