About the OCR

Mission

The mission of the Office of Consumer Research is to provide excellence in student learning and consumer market research by guiding, supporting, and conducting market research of consumers in the Middle Tennessee area and providing a means for interaction between the academic community in the COB and business practitioners.

Objectives Of The OCR

  1. Conduct telephone surveys to measure consumer confidence in the Middle Tennessee area. Students enrolled in the Marketing Research course (MKT 3930) at MTSU conduct the telephone surveys, and the results are disseminated to local news media.

    The overall purpose of the consumer outlook index is to gauge the "pulse,"; or "mood"; of consumers. It reflects prevailing business conditions and likely developments in the future. It measures consumers' perceptions of current business and economic conditions, as well as their expectations for the future. Because consumer expectations and confidence can have dramatic effects on business and the economy, a measure of expectations and confidence can prove extremely valuable to business planners.
  2. Support faculty research efforts that are intended for publication in scholarly journals by providing a means for collecting primary data from and about consumers in the Middle Tennessee area. A faculty member's survey questions will be included in the consumer confidence survey.

    One of the most difficult aspects of scholarly research is collecting the data. Questions that have been approved by the Institutional Review Board will be asked following the consumer confidence questions. For example, areas of research that can be supported by the OCR are:
    • Consumer perceptions of service quality and important service quality variables.
    • Consumer perceptions and beliefs regarding public policy issues.
    • Consumers' use of coupons and rebates as purchase incentives.
    • Consumers' perceptions of local sports franchises.
  3. Provide consumer market research services - including developing research objectives, developing appropriate surveys and research materials, data collection and analysis, and a complete consumer market research report - to local / regional businesses. Research projects will be conducted by students enrolled in the Applied Marketing Research course (MKT 4880) at MTSU. This provides students with a unique and high quality educational experience where they learn through first hand experience how market research data is collected, analyzed, presented, and used in making business decisions.

    Companies interested in having the OCR conduct research projects for them first contact the Director to be included in the set of research projects to be conducted during a semester. Students enrolled in the Applied Marketing Research course (working on projects in groups of 4 to 5 students each) conduct these approved projects. The type of research conducted for such projects could include telephone surveys, intercept surveys, customer exit interviews, and focus groups. Students meet with a representative from the business at the beginning of the semester to form an initial set of research objectives. Students prepare a final list of research objectives and a description of the research methodology, which will be approved by the business representative. By the end of the semester, students collect, analyze, and prepare a report of the data, which is presented to the business representative.

Benefits Of The OCR

By performing these three functions, the OCR:

  • Provides students with a unique learning opportunity by participating in "real-life"; market research projects.
  • Provides businesses with needed market research specific to their business.
  • Provides the entire Middle Tennessee business community with key measures of consumers' level of confidence and future expectations.
  • Enables the COB to fulfill its public service requirement.
  • Provides for a linkage between academics and practitioners.
  • Facilitates the scholarly research activities of COB faculty.
  • Helps the COB to achieve its stated mission with regard to teaching and student learning; service to the local business community; and faculty scholarly research.