Understanding the consumer

In addition to the coursework below, I would like to request that at least a minimum of five different articles and three internet sources (all from the recommended sources) be used in the bibliography.

Coursework Assessment

Assessed work should be submitted to the Management School Office between the hours of 10am-1pm on Monday 25th November. Students should hand a copy of their work which should be anonymous, therefore should only carry: registration number, module title/code, title of assignment and the coursework cover sheet. Students should also keep one copy. Work should be word processed on A4 paper. The word count should also be clearly stated.

In addition students should also submit their work electronically via Blackboard. This work will automatically be checked for plagiarism using Turnitin. This must be done by the end of the assignment due date.

Submission after the set deadline day but within 7 days will be restricted to a maximum of 40%; submissions more than 7 days late will receive a mark of 0%. A disciplinary committee will deal with any instance of inappropriate behaviour.

If you are ill and can provide medical evidence then you should apply for an essay extension form which is available in the Department Office. It must be signed by a member of staff and should be returned to the Undergraduate Secretary before the submission deadline. No requests for an extension will be granted after the deadline.

The coursework assignment is as follows:

Understanding the Consumer Assignment

Consider the impact that situation may have on consumer behaviour and how marketers could use these situational factors to encourage purchase behaviour.

The assignment is an individual piece of written work reviewing literature on consumer behaviour related to this topic area. Your assignment should draw on at least six journal articles. These articles must be from peer reviewed journals such as those below:

Consumption, Markets and Culture (from 2002)
Journal of Consumer Research (from 1985)
Journal of Consumer Behaviour (from 2001)
Marketing Theory (from 2001)
Journal of Marketing
Journal of Marketing Management
Journal of Retailing
European Journal of Marketing

DO NOT UNDER ESTIMATE THE TIME THE SEARCH FOR SUITABLE SCHOLARLY ARTICLES WILL TAKE. You may also want to use the Inter-library Loan service to order articles and they can take up to two weeks to arrive. You need to start your search at the beginning of the term. In weeks 5 and 6 in the seminars we will be looking at the literature search and how to review and critique an article. There will also be an opportunity to discuss any issues you may have relating to your assignment in the student hours (times indicated on lecturers doors).

Searching For Appropriate Articles

It is often taken for granted that articles will be easy to find and students typically do not allow enough time when planning assignments to conduct a thorough search for appropriate articles. We will practice searching for articles in the seminar in week five. When doing a literature search for your essay we recommend you use a combination of the following:

1. Perform keyword searches using the below sources:

• Business Source Premier (access via ‘subject resources’ then ‘Business and Management’ on the library webpage)
• Emerald Management Extra (access as above)
• Google Scholar (not all of the articles you find will be available in the library – but some will include direct links to the article)

2. Where possible go to the individual journal webpages (see list of journals above) and ‘search in the journal’ although not all have this function. You can also do this by going via ejournals AtoZ on the library homepage.

3. It’s also sometimes useful if you find a particularly important author to go their own university homepage where their other publications should be listed, they may well have published something related or something more up to date.

4. And of course once you find a really useful article go to their own bibliography to find further useful articles, once you have the reference you can use ejournals AtoZ on the library homepage to track it down.

Before making a final decision spend some time reading around, when choosing an article make sure you fully understand its content.

In special cases where you find an essential article that is not available in the library you may use the inter-library loan system. However please only use this system if totally necessary. You will need to collect a form from the library (this can also be downloaded from their website) and obtain the signature of your tutor. Each Inter-library loan attracts a small fee which is payable when you order the article. Bear in mind that Inter-library loans can take up to two weeks to arrive.

Assignment Format

You are required to use a standard essay format using paragraphs to structure your discussion. Please do not produce a report with paragraphs following headings. In this assignment you will be comparing and contrasting articles so do not deal with each article entirely separately. You may use direct quotations from the articles but only where it supports your discussion and each quotation should be correctly referenced in the text.

Please avoid merely describing the articles; where possible provide some criticism and evaluation of the material discussed in each article. In addition, where it may support your discussion, do include reference to other work. We are asking for an in-depth consideration of the articles of your choice. Your essay should be word processed, 1.5 or double spaced using 12pt text. When referring to your articles and any other literature please use the Harvard referencing system, details of this can be found in your student handbook. Your assignment should be approximately 2,500 words in length excluding your bibliography.

Suggested essay structure as below, you do not need to stick rigidly to this but it will give you an idea of what to cover. Also remember this is an essay not a report so do not use subheadings in the final essay (you may want to use them as you build up your essay though to help you to keep your discussion focused in each paragraph).

• Introduction
A very short background to the topic (for example, why it is important to understand the impacts of situational factors on consumption practices? A short description of what you mean by situation, and aspects of such. A short introduction to your chosen topic. Some discussion of the essay structure – make this reasonably detailed, for example, which subtopics will you explore? You may also want to identify what some of your key conclusions are, rather like an executive summary would in a commercial report).

• Series of subsections on your chosen topic
Identify a way to divide up discussion of your topic into a series of subtopics. You will not have an idea of how to do this until you have done a literature search in your chosen topic area. This might be achieved in several ways for example by looking at the different methodologies authors have used to explore the topic (i.e. qualitative such as interviews, focus groups versus quantitative such as surveys and experiments), or by looking at the different settings explored. You may want to compare and contrast the author’s views in two or three important papers; as you search the literature you will notice which papers are the most important as they will be referenced and cited heavily by other authors. You may choose a mixture of these approaches, or indeed your topic might not lend itself to any of them, but either way it is important that you have a clear structure to your essay which is communicated in your introduction.

• Conclusion
Typically students find this section the hardest to write. Here you summarise the main findings from the above discussion of your topic. You really just need to reinforce the most important points arising from your discussion. Repeat the essay structure and for each of your subtopics highlight the key views/findings. Also try then to take a position yourself on the topic, which views do you find particularly convincing or unconvincing? Finally if you can, identify some topics for further research that might expand on the findings from your review of the topic.

What we are testing in this assignment?

Literature search
Your ability to do a literature search and identify key articles in a topic area.

Essay writing
Your ability to summarise arguments/findings from journal articles in a coherent and structured manner.

Your ability to reference correctly, both correctly citing authors within your discussion, and constructing a detailed reference list at the end of your essay.

Plagiarism Declaration

You are reminded that at the beginning of the academic year you sign a declaration stating that all the work submitted will be your own and not copied or plagiarised in any way.

Plagiarism can result in severe penalties ranging from failing the module to expulsion from the University. Further information can be found in the University’s Student Handbook.

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