Offered courses 2013 (fall term)
MSC Consumer Behavior
Consumer behavior is ever-present in our daily lives. At just about every moment we engage in some form of consumer behavior: when we watch an ad on TV, talk to friends about the innovative iPad we bought, go to a soccer match, purchase a new CD or gather information on the new car we plan to buy, we are behaving as a consumer. In sum, being a consumer reaches almost every part of our lives. With respect to its omnipresence, the study of consumer behavior has critical implications for areas such as marketing, public policy and ethics. Additionally, it also helps us to learn more about ourselves - why we buy certain things, why we use them in a certain way and how we get rid of them.
In this course, we investigate the rich world of consumer behavior with a special focus on the automotive industry which plays a key role particularly in Germany. A deeper understanding of the why of consumption may provide automotive managers with valuable starting points to better cope with this difficult situation.
The objective of this course is to provide students with both a theoretically sound and practice-oriented perspective on consumer behavior. Drawing on insights from economic theory, psychology, and sociology, general models for explaining consumer behavior are developed. In turn, these models serve as a basis for discussing implications for marketing strategies, tactics and actions in the automotive industry. Finally, by using current research, case studies, analyses of newspaper reports and speakers from the corporate world, this course will ensure a close connectedness between theory and practice. The overall proportion of quantitative methods applied in this course is approx. 15%.
MSc Developing Measurement Instruments in Social Science
Measurement in natural science (like physics) is often related to weight, height and length and other objactive criteria. Social science often deal with more abstract issues like preferences, attitudes or perceptions. Therefore the measurement of such so called constructs is naturally not "perfect" in terms of validity and reliability, but contains error. The aim of this course is to teach students how to undertake a study and measure within different applications of empirical research that reduces such systematic or random error. The second major aim of this course is to teach students how to evaluate market research by other entities that possibly utilize unreliable measurement instruments.
Topics that will be covered by this course are first of all the theoretical foundation of conceptualization, operationalisation and specification of constructs. Other, related topics within the set up of a questionnaire are multi-versus single-item measurement, the wording and order of questions as well as different scales. Methods of pre-testing the instrument are also covered. A fouth part covers the process of the data collection and within this response rates and means to enhance them. The last part of the lecture will cover the optimisation and assessment of the measures.
BSc Qualitative Research Methods
This course aims at helping students to successfully master their thesis in areas that often draw on qualitative research methods (e.g., but not limited to: Management & Leadership, Marketing, and Supply Chain Management). Thus, the discussed topics are particularly interesting to those students who plan to conduct interviews and/or analyze a case study within the scope of their thesis. The course not only attempts to help students in getting to know a 'toolbox' they can use for writing their thesis, but also gives some general advice how to avoid possible pitfalls within this process (e.g. with regard to an appropriate project planning). We start by discussing and introducing three elements that are constitutive for research in general (i.e. a research method, a theoretical perspective, and an unit of analysis). Next, we discuss when to use qualitative research methods and how to come up with appropriate samples. The main part of the lecture is focused on data collection techniques. We discuss how to conduct interviews (e.g. word questions in the right way) and take field notes. Based on this discussion, we also discuss techniques to analyze qualitative data (e.g. 'grounded theory') and how to include the gathered data in a case study. Last but not least, we discuss some possible pitfalls that are likely to occur when doing qualitative research in general and writing a thesis in particular.
- Setting the Context - The Nature of Qualitative Research
- Designing Qualitative Studies
- Doing 'Fieldwork' - Collecting Qualitative Data
- Analyzing Qualitative Data
- Case Study Analysis
- Writing a Thesis - Some Possible Pitfalls
Master Theses 2013
New topics for master theses have been announced:
- Market Entry Pricing
- Consumer Perception of Payment Methods (e.g. cash, credit, debit, and contactless payments)
- Health Behavior and Patient Compliance