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Fulbright Research Proposal sample essay

Claudia Ukonu, Netherlands, Interdisciplinary Studies The Effects of User Generated Content on Cross Channel Communication Strategies Summary As a recipient of the 2013-2014 Fulbright Grant I plan to enroll in the Masters in Methodology and Statistics for Behavioural, Biomedical and Social Sciences at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. While completing this degree I will also conduct a research study where I will seek to answer two questions 1) How Dutch companies use cross channel communication strategies to market new products and 2) How user generated content (i. . Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. ) effects the implementation of those cross channel communication strategies.

The study will use surveys, interviews and statistical methods to examine purchasing behavior and the relevant results will be analyzed with the establishment of an internship at a Dutch market research firm. My goal in completing this study is to apply the knowledge gained from my Masters courses to the relevant topic of consumer purchasing behavior, which will build a solid foundation for entering a PhD program in Statistics.

Introduction Here in the United States Pinterest, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram have become the way of projecting a glamorized image of oneself online. The idea of being modest and not bragging about one’s newly purchased Lamborghini or vacation to Tahiti is long gone. Consumers are now becoming the trendsetters as they now dictate the trends that companies tailor their products around. Examining how user generated content fulfills the Esteem and Love/Belonging parts of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs can be used as a model for predicting consumer habits.

With the creation of social media networks, traditional ways of marketing seem to have little to no relevance. In order for companies to be effective when introducing new products and maintaining existing ones, it is vital that they are up to date with current trends in marketing new products through multiple communication channels. While each of these channels may have different demographics (i. e. the age difference between Facebook users and people who read newspapers) the goal of cross channel communication strategy is to ensure that the product being marketed conveys the same message on all channels.

This can be a daunting task given the number of communication channels available to companies. Location In 2011, ComScore named the Netherlands as the number one country with the highest LinkedIn and Twitter penetration. This provides the perfect backdrop to see how Dutch companies are not only using cross channel communication strategies but, more specifically, how they are incorporating social media into those strategies. During the grant period I will be under the supervision of Dr. Irene Klugkist, Associate Professor of Methodology and Statistics in the Graduate School of Social and Behavioural Sciences at Utrecht University.

Methodology Upon arriving in Utrecht I will begin my MSc in Methodology and Statistics for Behavioural, Biomedical and Social Sciences at Utrecht University. I will enroll in the following courses for the fall semester: Advanced Survey Design and Missing Data Analysis, Multivariate Statistics, Foundations of Statistics, and Computational Inference with R. During the first two months in Utrecht I will spend my time focusing on becoming familiar with the foundations of statistics.

In order to obtain accurate results when trying to determine the objectives of the study, it is vital that a selection of study participants is made. The participants will remain the same throughout the course of the study. This will be accomplished with the help of a study participant letter that will outline who I am, my purpose of study, what information I will collect from participants and how that information will be used in the study. I propose that no less than 100 participants be selected for the study. Having more participants will allow for a greater range of differentiation as well as data collection.

The first two months of the grant period is also when I will spend time locating the participants of the study. I plan to include participants who are current students and working professionals. The demographics of my study will focus on men and women who are between the ages of 18-35. I am open to the possibility of changing these demographics given that after some time of living in Utrecht, I discover a niche market, to which this study’s objectives would be more relevant.

The second objective–‘How user generated content (i. e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest etc. ) affects the implementation of cross channel communication strategies– will be partially addressed in months 3-7 of the grant period. It is during this time that I will track the social behavior of the study participants. Relevant factors to the collection of this data will include: the time the post was made on the social network, the content of the post and responses to the original post. Surveys will also be given to participants asking about their desire to purchase items marketed on various communication channels.

The first objective of the study will be applied in the form of an internship at a Dutch marketing firm where I will first observe the current cross communication strategies. After doing this, I will analyze the data collected in the first portion of the grant period. This analysis will help to determine whether 1) Consumer purchasing behavior can be predicted on the basis of user generated content and 2) If this behavior can be predicted, how can companies utilize this to their advantage. Dr. Klugkist has expressed willingness to help me secure an internship for months 8-9 at a Dutch market research firm.

During the internship I will examine the past and existing cross communication strategies of the company while looking at what factors went into the planning of this strategy. Part of the MSc program requires students to participate in a traineeship in their desired field (Behavioural, Biomedical or Social Sciences) in their final year of study. Dr. Klugkist sent my research proposal to Dr. Van Hattum, a former Utrecht student who now works at a market research firm and he expressed interest in having me as a trainee during my final year at Utrecht University.

Goal Throughout the study I hope to uncover cross communication opportunities that utilize social media and then use those opportunities as a foundation upon which I will develop new and existing product entry strategies. I will be able to apply this research and the resulting Masters degree to the completion of a PhD in Statistics.

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