Sunday, 4 October 2009

*** Call for Research Participants! ***


After a heck of a lot of setbacks, I’ve finally made it to the last year of my uni Marketing degree. This year, as well as the usual exams, essays and reports, there’s a 10,000 word dissertation to write. This means conducting research on any marketing problem of my choice. I have to find participants, conduct research, and analyse the data gathered to indicate findings.

My research is going to be on the impact of the recent banking collapse on people’s attitudes to internet banking. By listening to the respondents, the research will (hopefully) give an indication of what needs to change in marketing online banking.

Banking is potentially pretty dry – any topic that hints at finance has the potential to risk boring the respondents. The truth is, I’ve no head for numbers myself – In fact I’m pretty sure I’m anarithmetric. I’m really not focussing on the finance side of things. I’m much more interested in what you as a consumer feel about internet banking, your opinions, anxieties, attitudes and behaviour. One area of this topic I’m interested in is the effect of risk perception on your attitudes. Do you consider yourself a risk taker, or are you risk averse?

Maybe it’s a subject you prefer not to think at all about – did you know the banks count on people perceiving it to be a major hassle to hunt around for better savings interest rates? Whatever your position, I’d like to hear it. For instance, you don’t need to be an internet banking user to participate. I’d still be interested in why you don’t use it, what opinions you’ve formed on the area, concerns, and the basis you form them on – your friends’ experience? Media reporting?

What’s involved if you take part?
I've posted a demo interview here. For their topics, most of my peers are using questionnaire surveys. I’d rather engage my participants in something a bit more lively and engaging: in depth, online interviews (If you want to be a different fish, you’ve got to jump out of the school). I’m hoping that people will have more of a rewarding experience being participants in a discussion rather than just respondents to a preset list of questions.

In depth interviews are an exchange of thoughts, usually conducted by email, over a period of weeks (altogether, I’m aiming for around an hour or two of real time). To keep the process fresh, some of these emails will take an ‘ethnographic approach’ – visual and interactive methods of participation. For example, you might be sent a clip of a credit card TV advert, and then we’ll exchange emails about how you felt about it, whether you found the message relevant, and so on.

Who am I looking for?
I’m going for a fairly diffuse sample, but you have to be aged 18 or over - the university has very strict rules about interviewing children, and my subject area only really applies to adults. If I can achieve depth from the interviews, 28 respondents should be enough to generate some real insights. If you’re based here in the UK that’s a bonus, as it eliminates cultural crossover. If you’re not, that doesn’t necessarily rule you out!

What if you have a change of heart afterwards?
That’s fine! There shouldn’t be anything too personal asked of you though – I don’t want your bank account number, your phone number or address or anything like that, and I don’t have any connection to any banks. If for any reason you don’t want to take part any more, just say so.

Sound like something you would like to take part in?
If you’re interested in taking part, feel free to contact me at the address below with the word 'participant' in the subject line. I’d love to hear from you.

 [This research is complete, my every gratitude to those who took part!]

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