Case study 41 research consultants

Research Consultants has been commissioned to determine the following: Why do people select one estate agent over another? Do customers know or care if an estate agent is a member of a particular institute or professional body? And what additional services would customers like to receive from estate agents?

Research Consultants underbid four other research firms to obtain the contract and in fact their bid was some 50% of the next lowest bid. The main reason that Research Consultants was able to do this was because of the sampling methodology it selected. In its proposal the company said that university students would be used to gather the survey data. The company said that it would randomly select 20 universities from across the UK and contact the head of the business or management department at each college. The head would be asked to submit a list of ten students who would be interested in earning some extra money and then a senior consultant in the company would contact the students individually. The company's aim was to identify five students at each institute who would ultimately complete ten interviews each. When the students were contacted by the senior consultant they were told that they would be given £5 for each completed interview. The only requirement about who would be interviewed was that it must be someone who had had some experience of dealing with an estate agent in the previous 12 months. In fact, the consultant said that probably the easiest thing to do was for students to visit local pubs during the lunch hour and go from table to table asking for people who might be interested in being interviewed.

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