Seeking Advice-Marketing Research Student

  • Hello everyone,

    I'm currently a senior marketing major at a private college in the Northeast. I have the opportunity this year to conduct research for my thesis. My study seeks to assess college students social media use and the fear of missing out.This survey has been approved by the IRB at my college.

    I'd greatly appreciate some feedback! First, I would sincerely appreciate it if you would have the time to complete the survey (found in the link below) and provide any feedback or other suggestions. I am seriously considering a career in marketing research and am looking for some additional information on my options and if it would be a good fit for me!

    Thank you for your time!

  • Ms.Abel,

    I paged through your survey and I have several questions for you.  Feel free to do with the questions as you wish.

    1.  What's the definition of "checking social media"?  Example, if I have FB sending messages to my cell and I look at the messages, does that count?  If I keep a social site running in background all day and look at it when I get alerts, when am I not checking social media?

    2.  Even if you have a clean definition for item 1, how many people will be able to provide a reliable answer?  Or for that matter, provide a reliable estimate of time spent doing that?  One of the hallmarks of addiction is the ability to lose oneself in an activity to the point of not knowing how long one is doing it.

    3.  Respondents will answer general questions differently than they do specific questions.  For general question, they also tend toward socially acceptable responses.  For example, everyone votes for President, except those who were otherwise engaged this year and didn't have time.  So if you ask a general question about voting, you get one answer,  If you ask about the election this week, you get another (and some nonvoters will lie about what they did.

    How does this apply to your questionnaire?  You ask generally how people feel when they are disconnected from the web.  In addition or instead, you might ask

    (a) Which device do you use mostly for social media?

    (b) Have you ever left home or work and forgotten to take it with you?  

    (c)  Think about the last time that happened.  Which of the following describes how you felt when you discovered you didn't have it with you?  (list of feelings such as anger, worry, panic, free, calm, etc.)

    4.  Does the student have a part-time job that requires use of social media?  Or maybe doing a project for a marketing course on social media?  You need to ask that, because that could skew your results.

    5.  What does the respondent use social media to do?

    6.  What proportion of contact with friends each day is via social media, versus phone or face-to-face?

    7.  Has the respondent ever been told that he/she spends too much time on social media?  By whom?

    8.  How does the respondent feel about the time he/she spends?  Does he/she think its ok or excessive?

    9.  How does the respondent feel about using social media when

    (a) out to dinner with friends

    (b) listening to a lecture

    (c) studying

    (d) at a movie

    Scale response with values ranging from "it's ok, everyone does it" to "it's rude and annoying"

    10.  You ask about feelings in terms of frequency, but feelings are not discrete events.  You can ask how well a feeling describes the respondent, or what proportion of the time the respondent feels a certain way, but asking how often you feel inferior, for example, just sounds weird.  My honest answer to that sort of questions would be, "heck if I know."  You can always get an answer to any question, but the answer may not be meaningful.

    11.  Does the respondent ever intentionally disconnect from social media?  For what reasons?

    12.  Your dependent variable is "missing out."  Now maybe you have a better sense of what that means that I do, but my first reaction is, missing out on what?  This relates back to my Q5 above, why is the person on social media anyway?

    Hope that helps.  Feel free to ping me if you have any questions.  I'm an old grayhair research veteran, but I'm teaching a MR overview course this fall and enjoying it immensely.

    Vic Crain

  • Jessica; Your survey is aimed at fellow student and stresses personal feelings to a great extent. Being retired and occasionally consulting, I could not complete the survey.   I use Linked In and Facebook on an occasional basis only. When considering market research or any other career field, the place to start is to look inward so as to establish your personality traits and strong points. Perhaps you may want to  look into qualitative market research from the outset. If you look at the websites for Riva and the Burke Institute, you can look at the qualitative course descriptions to see if the topics have appeal to you.

    Bob Manthey

    Robert P. "Bob" Manthey

    Managing Director

    Morris Research LLC

    Cell: 203-530-0879


  • I recommend that you follow Victor's advice.

    In addition, my own comments:

    The "assuming..." question is a hypothetical.  These generally don't work well.

    You might ask how often this happens and then ask about WHEN it happens.

    Your always-never scale is being applied to  a general characterization of self.  That doesn't make sense to me.  Either I feel that way about myself or I don't.  My self image doesn't change many times a day.  

    Of course it's been a long time since I was a college student, but if i remember myself correctly it didn't  change frequently then either.

    An agree-disagree scale would make more sense with many of these questions.

    In my opinion, if you ask "how often" it should refer to discrete countable events.  And then it would make more sense to me to reply in terms of frequency with more anchor points, for instance less than once a week / daily / several time a  day/ always.

    You asked a question about the length of time i spend in a given check on social media.  I don't run a timer when i do that.  i answered but  I recommend skepticism about the accuracy of those answers.

    You asked aout the frequency with which i check a list of social media sites.  You might ask whether your respondent  uses each at all, and then ask frequency in a separate follow up question.   There is a Qualtrics functionality that helps do this.

    And you might add a frequency choice for less than daily.

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