Session 5 – Market Research (05.11.15)

On the agenda today was Market Research, and learning how to conduct it successfully. Tony Mason discussed how to approach market research. For example, if a book has done particularly well it is often important for publishers to find out why, so the key to finding out such information is to see who buys it, asking readers why they bought the book and for what purpose. This is known as development editing.
The best way to gather this information is through surveys and questionnaires – this is where the market research is carried out. There are two types of research: quantitative research, and qualitative research.
* Quantitative research focuses on coming up with numbers, for example, percentages of people buying a certain book.
* Qualitative research uses these figures to find out how people feel towards about books and what encourages them to spend money on them. Focus groups and open-ended questions are a good way of gathering this.
Tony explained these variants of market research with clarity and it was definitely useful to learn these key terms for future reference. But nothing is better than doing something for yourself, and so Tony got us to work in groups to compose a survey online via a free survey service such as Survey Monkey. There were five people in my group, including myself, and together we worked on a survey aimed at students in relation to enhanced e-textbooks. The basic concept of this idea would be a digitalised version of textbooks with additional features such as videos, audio, and other interactive features. This created healthy debates within our group; for example, the issue of not being able to survey students under 16 without parental consent proved to be a barrier to our survey since it meant we could only aim our survey to undergraduate students and upper sixth-formers. Additionally, depending on the course studied, university students do not always use textbooks so the concept of an e-textbook would subsequently not affect those select students; we therefore realised that our target audience was reduced further still. However, we all contributed to the discussion well, meaning our survey was strengthened due to us all having points as to what should be added in the survey, and what should be taken out. For example, I suggested changes to some drop-down box choices and to ask in what circumstance would the student use an enhanced e-textbook, whether it be via the university library, bought directly for their computer or digital device, or not at all. Overall, I am pleased with my contribution to the group discussion and the survey. Below is a link to the final survey we created.

Marketing Donut. Available at [accessed 6 November 2015].

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