MKT 311 (Consumer Behavior) – Final Paper
The final paper will be a 1,500-2,500 word (approximately 6-10 pages double-spaced; not including the title page, abstract, or references) research paper. Focus on quality over quantity of words. Students often lose points for being too verbose and/or not being succinct. The paper should be formatted in the APA (6th Ed.) formatting style and submitted as a Word document (i.e., .doc or .docx).
The purpose of this paper is to give you a chance to learn about a consumer behavior topic in-depth. The topic can be on practically anything related to consumer behavior, but it must be approved by me. This is intentionally broad to give you flexibility. If you currently own your own business, then you could write about how you might improve your business based on what you learned in this class. Similarly, if you plan to start your own business or plan to work as a marketing manager, you could write about how you will use what you learned in your future business or job. If you plan to continue your education with a research degree (e.g., a Ph.D.), you could write about potential topics that you might study (e.g., how does personality affect consumer behavior, ethics in consumer behavior, or cross-cultural differences in consumer behavior). In general, you should think about what we’ve covered so far and look ahead at subjects that we haven’t covered yet to see if there’s any specific topic that you find particularly interesting. Other potential ideas include examining how peer pressure affects consumer behavior, how changing technology has affected consumer behavior, or consumer and/or marketing ethics. You could also do an in-depth study of a certain brand. You should use topics, concepts, and terms from the textbook when relevant/appropriate, but the final paper should go above and beyond the textbook and not just cover/reiterate what is in the textbook. Occasionally (e.g., about 1 in 50 students), a student says that I should require an outline or a rough draft submission. I don’t think most students want that, but if you do, you’re welcome to submit outlines or drafts for feedback. In general, feel free to contact me at any time if you want to discuss potential topics and/or anything about the paper.
Please note that you cannot submit the same or a similar paper in different classes (i.e., “double dip”). That is considered a form of plagiarism. Your paper must consist of original writing. In addition, this is a formal paper, whereas the discussion question assignments are relatively informal. In general, avoid using the first- and second-person perspective (sparing use of the first-person “we” is ok), contractions, abbreviations, phrasal verbs, colloquialisms, etc.
Rubric (An A+ paper will include the following)
File Name: CourseAlpha.YourLastNameFirstName,AssignmentName.docx
o Example: “MKT311.DoeJohn.FinalPaper.docx”
Title Page: Informative/Descriptive Paper Title, Your Name/s, Institution, Course Name, Date.
Abstract or Executive Summary: The abstract/executive summary succinctly summarizes the purpose, findings, and conclusion of the paper within 120-180 words.
Thesis Statement: Clear and concise thesis statement that states the purpose of the paper in an engaging and thought-provoking manner. The purpose of your paper should be stated on the first page of the body of the paper.
Introduction: Engaging introduction that lays out the purpose of the paper (e.g., background information and/or summary of why the topic is important) and gives an overview of the structure of the paper.
Body: Each paragraph has a clear and concise topic sentence. Detail sentences are relevant and help develop the main idea.
Conclusion: The conclusion is engaging and summarizes the paper without just restating that was said earlier.
Organization and Transitions: Has a coherent structure that presents a logical progression of ideas. Smooth and effective transitions (both within and between paragraphs) develop one idea from the previous idea or describe their relation. Headers and subheaders are often helpful and are highly recommended.
Content Knowledge and Analysis: The writing demonstrates that the student understands and can apply concepts from the course, is factual and supported by references as appropriate, and demonstrates insight. The paper should not just be a review of what was learned in the class; rather, the student should integrate personal insights with analysis and synthesis of what was learned in class. The student should use terms and concepts from the textbook as appropriate, but also go above and beyond what is covered in the course and use external sources relative to the topic and not just cover/reiterate what is already in the textbook.
Grammar (including spelling, punctuation, and capitalization): No errors in syntax, word use, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization. Grammar is very important.
Style: Sentences should be clear and focused, not long and rambling. Sentences should vary. See the following quote from Gary Provest:
o This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety.
o Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals–sounds that say listen to this, it is important.
• References: Uses at least five outside sources (e.g., journal articles or books) as supporting evidence. Original scholarly sources should be used when possible. Sources are relevant and support the ideas presented. Citations and reference list are formatted correctly in the APA (6th or 7th Ed.) style.
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