About the OCR
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
- 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.
- 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
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.
- 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.