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5 pages/≈1375 words
Business & Marketing
Article Critique
English (U.K.)
MS Word
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Confusion In Marketing - A Critique Of Two Articles (Article Critique Sample)


You are required to write an individual assignment where you analyze and critique the research and methodological choices in two academic marketing articles on a specific theory in marketing discussed in class (confusion in marketing).


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This paper provides a critical review of two articles on confusion in marketing. The critical analysis will look at the research problem, hypothesis, research questions, research design, the conceptual framework, sampling and data collection, criteria for inclusion or exclusion, ethical considerations as well as data collection procedures. The conclusion will evaluate whether these components have been addressed through the research design chosen by the researchers.
Research Problem, Hypothesis and Research questions
The research problems and objectives are provided by the researchers in the two articles. Balabanis and Craven (1997) attempt to empirically determine the factors that lead to brand confusion, which is a major problem among consumers and manufactures. Unlike Balabanis and Craven, Loken, Ross and Hinkle (1986) set their thesis on the perception of source of origin. The two studies do not explicitly state the research questions, but these can be deduced from the objectives and hypothesis set out by the researchers.
The Conceptual Framework
Balabanis and Craven use the Foxman et al (1992) conceptual framework to explore consumer confusion emanating from lookalikes. On the other hand, Loken, Ross and Hinkle have used a guiding hypothesis as conceptual framework for their study.
Research Design
A research design is a framework used by the researcher to help in gathering and analyzing data (Hakim 2012). There are various designs that a researcher can choose from depending on the type of research or the aims of the study. The two studies have used two different research designs in their work. Balabanis and Craven have used an exploratory design, whilst Loken, Ross and Hinkle have used a descriptive research approach. The exploratory research design, as the same suggests, is aimed at discovering ideas or insights on a given subject under study (Hakim 2012). It helps the researcher to develop a better understanding of a given situation, and does not aim at generalizations. This framework is used by Balabanis and Craven to gain insights on confusion arising from own brand lookalikes. On the other hand, Loken, Ross and Hinkle (1986) used a laboratory framework in investigating consumer confusion of origin and brand similarity perceptions. The objective of Loken et al is to measure the extent of brand confusion. Therefore, the use of the descriptive approach would be critical or helpful in providing a framework for conceptualization as well as an empirical measurement of brand confusion. Descriptive research describes a situation (Celsi, Money, Samouel and Page 2012) by providing measures of an event or activity (Cronin et al 2000). This is accomplished by statistics such as mean, standard deviation, mode, median and measures of dispersion among other statistical tools (Celsi, Money, Samouel and Page 2012). However, for Balabanis and Craven, their focus was on understanding the consumers’ predisposition to confusion, which necessitated the use of an exploratory research design. Although there is a limited use of quantitative techniques such as standard deviation, median and mode, in an exploratory research, more reliance is placed on qualitative approaches such as interviews, observation and questionnaires (Celsi, Money, Samouel and Page 2012).
Sampling and Data Collection Procedure
The key concern of the sampling is how well it represents the targeted population (Hakim 2012). This underlies the population validity, which is the degree to which the results of the study can be replicated in the wider population. In other words, it helps the researcher to make generalizations. A common error in sampling is that the sample size pooled for a study does not reflect or is not identical to the target market. For instance, Balabanis and Craven have a sample size of 50 respondents that were randomly pooled from a single retailer. This cannot be used to generalize the buying behaviour across the larger population (Churchill, Gilbert and Surprenant 1982). Although the sample size was small, it was, to some extent, diverse. For instance, age and gender were used with the findings showing that old people were more inclined to be confused about brand lookalikes. Another common error in sampling is having a narrow sample. This is the problem with Loken et al, as they only focused on a group of students only or a one-stage cluster sampling (Levy and Lemeshow 2013). Although the sample size is larger with, 112 respondents, it only deals with people with almost similar characteristics such as age groups and buying preferences (Astous & Gargouri 2001). Although sometimes a researcher can be interested in a certain characteristic, say a student who has not been confused by brands, the focus of the study would have better used a broad population base such as the one used by Balabanis and Craven (Levy and Lemeshow 2013, Cohen 1999). The problem with the Loken et al is that sampling errors can be much higher. Levy and Lemeshow (2013) states, “sampling errors associated with estimates obtained from simple one-stage cluster sampling are generally higher than those obtained from a simple random sample” (p. 439).
The two articles used questionnaire and observation methods to generate data for analysis. In Balabanis and Craven, observation and interviews were made possible using show cards, while Loken et al used slides for the students to observe and make decisions. Use of the questionnaire helped the researchers quantify and interpret data using statistical tools to test their assumptions (Levy and Lemeshow 2013).
Criteria for inclusion/exclusion
Balabanis & Craven targeted shoppers who had purchased and were on their way out of the retail store. The respondent was included if he or she had purchased an item indicated on the questionnaire. If not, the respondent was excluded from the study. In addition, brands were included on the basis of visual similarity.
In the study by Loken et al (1986), an effort was made to include product categories that were frequently used by students. In addition, inclusion included popular brands in each product category, and selected private label brands with similar and dissimilar appearance to national brands. Multiple products were included to explore possible differences and minimize the possibility that findings result from the idiosyncratic nature of a selected category.
Ethical Consideration
Ethical considerations in research are important. Respondents should be informed early as to the purpose of the study. Research involving human beings should not be carried out without the informed consent of the participants, and since some of the issues raised by the participants might touch on their personal lives. In the study by Loken et al, the students were informed of the purpose of the study after the end of the term, which was unethical. It should have been proper ethical procedure to inform them before carrying out the study so they could decide whether to get involved or not. The ethical protocol in Balabanis and Craven is to have a short questionnaire to minimize respond...
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