All posts by Regoniel, Patrick A.

Dr. Patrick A. Regoniel is a graduate school professor of research, statistics, and environmental science at the Palawan State University. He has helped many graduate students complete their theses or dissertations by providing research and statistical advice and services since 1991. A Ph.D. in Environmental Science graduate of the University of the Philippines Los Baños in 2004, Dr. Regoniel is a member of the Gamma Delta Sigma Honor Society of Agriculture. He currently serves as Vice President for Research & Extension at the Palawan State University.

What is Experiential Learning?

What is experiential learning? This article describes this learning approach, presents a model of how it works and gives an example. It also enumerates the four steps of the learning process and the elements needed for learners to gain knowledge.

What is Experiential Learning?

Experiential learning is founded on the idea that learning takes place among students by giving them the experience to do what is expected of them. Kolb (1984) defines learning as “the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience.” It does not follow the conventional one-way lecture approach where students become passive listeners. Learning takes place when students desire to gain the knowledge they seek. Thus, teachers need to guide students through the process of learning by experience.

The philosophy behind experiential learning is that students learn best when allowed to discover new things and experiment on the outcomes of an action firsthand, instead of just hearing or reading about the experiences of others. Students learn after they have reflected on their experiences, with the end in view of doing it better the next time they engage in such activity.

Model of Experiential Learning

The desire to learn varies among individuals. Hence, experiential learning focuses on the individual’s learning process.

Let us see how experiential learning takes place by presenting a model. A model is a representation of what scientists think about how it works. One of the popular models of experiential learning is that of Kolb (1984). The four-step experiential learning model is presented in the figure below.

what is experiential learning
Experiential learning model by Kolb (1984).

How is the model applied in real life situations? The following example will show how this model works.

Example of Experiential Learning

I employ experiential learning whenever a software application interests me. Being an open source enthusiast, I studied Lyx, an advanced open source document processor running on Linux. Nobody in my work environment knows how to use Lyx, so I learned by discovery.

Once the software has started, I just typed on the document processor and used the menu by clicking on it and selecting from the dropdowns. I discovered that a button, for example, sets the font in Italic in a way different from the word processors that I use. As the I go through the whole process, I discovered many other things or features of the software. Thus, I learn more things as I reflect on the effects of my action and apply what I have in mind.

Using the model, the following are the four steps of the learning process:

  1. Concrete experience: booting up the computer, installing Lyx, and opening the software for actual use;
  2. Active experimentation: playing with the menus;
  3. Reflective observation: discovering that the Menu labeled Edit contains the command to change the default font to italic, bold, among others,
  4. Abstract conceptualization: figuring out the use of other menus using the experience gained.

Elements of Experiential Learning

Experiential learning takes place even without a teacher around. However, learning becomes much more meaningful if the learner possesses the following characteristics:

  1. willing to engage actively in the activity,
  2. reflects on the experience,
  3. uses analytical skills, and
  4. able to decide and solve problems using new ideas gained from experience.

References

Kolb, D. (1984). Experiential learning as the science of learning and development. Prentice-Hall. 256pp.

University of Colorado (n.d.). What is experiential learning.  Retrieved on July 22, 2017 from http://www.ucdenver.edu/life/services/ExperientialLearning/about/Pages/WhatisExperientialLearning.aspx

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick A. (July 22, 2017). What is Experiential Learning?. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from http://simplyeducate.me/2017/07/22/what-is-experiential-learning/

Consumer Behavior Analysis on Locally Produced Rice: A Suggested Conceptual Framework

One of the readers — Adwoa — requested help on consumer perception about locally produced rice after reading the post titled “Conceptual Framework: A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Make One.” This issue falls under the purview of consumer behavior analysis.

How would she come up with her conceptual framework? What are the variables she should take into consideration?

I do not exactly know why she decided to pick this topic. Perhaps she wants to know the consumers’ buying behavior in her place. It is possible that the main issue she is trying to resolve has something to do with consumer rice preference.

Thus, in framing the research issue, it is important to define the intention. What does the researcher want to achieve at the end of the study? Hence, the objectives of the study must be clear.

For discussion purposes, I presume that Adwoa would like to know if significantly more consumers in her locality buy rice produced in other places than locally-produced rice. Specifically, she might want to find out if there is a preference for imported rice. Thus the objective is:

Find out if imported rice is preferred over locally-produced rice.

To make clear the issue, let us state the problem in question form. Hence, the question that will guide our thinking shall be:

Problem Statement: Are there more people buying imported than locally-produced rice?

Consumer Behavior Analysis Framework for the Study

The variable in question must be identified to understand consumer behavior.  A variable is an entity that takes on different attributes.

In our example, the variable is the source of rice, i.e., whether it is local or imported. These attributes are textual, meaning, they do not show values but just categories. Thus, the consumer is presented with only two options: to buy local or imported rice.

A research hypothesis, represented by Ha, can then be drawn:

Ha: Significantly more consumers buy imported rather than locally-produced rice.

The researcher conceptualizes that the consumer’s decision to buy depends on whether the source of rice is local or imported. Perhaps, what prompted Adwoa to conduct the study is her observation that demand for imported rice is high as evidenced by a greater volume of consumption of that type of rice.

The type of data gathered in this study is referred to as frequency data. A simple Chi-square Goodness-of-Fit test will show if more people buy (or prefer) imported to local rice.

If for example, the proportion of randomly selected people buying imported rice versus local rice in a population of 100 is 80:20, apparently it shows that more people buy imported rice than local. However, if the proportion is something like 56:44, will you conclude in the same way? That data requires statistical analysis. The Chi-square goodness of fit test takes care of that.

If indeed the consumers prefer imported to local rice, then Adwoa might wonder and ask: “Why do people prefer imported rice?” Thus, the factors that affect the choice of rice type may be explored.

The conceptual framework to guide the study might look like this:

consumer behavior analysis
Suggested conceptual framework for rice preference.

Why include age, gender, and economic status in the picture? As a researcher, Adwoa might have noticed that most of those who buy rice are young, females, and belong to the higher echelon of society. Perhaps these factors may have influenced the decision to buy imported rice.

The alternative hypothesis (Ha) for the study at this stage, therefore, will be:

Ha: Age, gender, and economic status determine rice preference.

But do age, gender, and economic status determine rice preference? Before finalizing her conceptual framework, Adwoa may review the literature on consumer behavior analysis first to find out if somebody has done a similar study. If she does find related studies, then she can cite those studies to strengthen further or enhance the conceptual framework.

Analyzing the relationship between profile and preference requires a good knowledge of the appropriate statistical test. Thus, building the conceptual framework in this instance requires the guidance of a statistician or at least a working knowledge of statistics.

Consumer behavior analysis can thus guide policy makers in drawing out policies to guide local consumers. Preference for imported rice can affect local farmers and the local economy in general. Hence, research lends help to policy making.

©2017 P. A. Regoniel

The Importance of Time Management and Exercise

My designation to a higher position impacted on the rank of this site. I could not write just like before as my tasks zap my energy to levels that prevent me from writing online. But I need to make updates or new blogs to keep this site going and at least maintain its rank and audience. The importance of time management comes into the picture.

Being designated a higher position next to the highest position in the organization means having to contend with so many administrative tasks — tasks that require an entirely different work atmosphere that left me very little time to do research work.

The Importance of Time Management

But is time an issue? Is it not because of how we handle time?

Despite the heavy workload, I was able to do some tasks related to at least two research projects specifically on human waste management and the time-consuming systems analysis of water pollution in El Nido, a popular tourist destination in the northern part of Palawan Island. Two other projects on community empowerment and a book project on endangered species of wildlife await. Earlier, I finished a book project on endemic, charismatic and amazing wildlife of Palawan where I live.

I once felt overwhelmed, incompetent and guilty of not being able to do what I should do in the projects where I am involved. But upon reading a book on time management titled “Effective Time Management” by John Adair, I changed my perspective.

the importance of time management
Mind map of time management (Jean-Louis Zimmermann 2008).

I discovered that I am using my time optimally, meaning, I should not feel guilty of not being able to do what I need to do.  Using Time Tracker, a free software I use in Zohrin, a Linux distribution, I realized that I am not wasting any time at all. I just need to prioritize my work. And of course, I also need rest to let my brain take and body take much-needed rest.

Time for Exercise

Indeed, the work that I do is stressful, but I cope up with regular one to two hours of exercise in the morning. This time is allocated specifically for this purpose. I give premium to exercise as I found out that my stresses are gone after I finish my two or three-mile run. In fact, I have run four 10Ks in the past two years. My best time so far is 1 hour and two minutes last April. I hope to get a sub-hour on my next run, or I might as well try the 21K. Running this distance without stopping is a product of regular 2-3 mile runs for the past four years. Running at least three times a week made this possible.

As workers, how can exercise help us? According to Mochon, Norton, and Ariely (2008) regular activities like exercise, give positive boosts that bring higher well being. Incremental boosts provided by training had a cumulative positive impact on well-being.

Hence, don’t underestimate the importance of time management particularly including exercise in it. Exercise reduces not only stress but also improves learning and mental performance (Cotman and Berchtold, 2002). Regular physical exertion enables researchers to do more mental work and face all work tasks with a general feeling of well-being. It must be an integrated part of your time management program.

References

Cotman, C. W., & Berchtold, N. C. (2002). Exercise: a behavioral intervention to enhance brain health and plasticity. Trends in neurosciences, 25(6), 295-301.

Mochon, D., Norton, M. I., & Ariely, D. (2008). Getting off the hedonic treadmill, one step at a time: The impact of regular religious practice and exercise on well-being. Journal of Economic Psychology, 29(5), 632-642.

Research Design: A Simplified Definition for Beginning Researchers

What is a research design? To understand what these two words mean, there is a need to have a clear understanding of what is “research” and “design.”

This brief article defines the research design and its role in preparing a good research paper.

The Meaning of Research Design

As Zigmund (1999) puts it, research literally means “to search again.” It means the researcher has to look again at existing information to explain a subject or topic of interest. There is a need to know more about a given phenomenon in all its dimensions.

The design is essentially a plan to show the final product even before it is built or made. An example is a house’s “blueprint” that describes the details of how a building should look.

research design analogy
An example of a blueprint.

Thus, bringing together these two concepts, research design is the plan that guides data collection to achieve the objectives of research, i.e., to generate new information based on existing ones. The plan details the procedure and instruments for data collection, how the variables associated with the phenomenon should be measured, and the statistical analysis to be applied to the data obtained.

The plan should systematically answer the problem statement or research questions. A one-to-one correspondence between problem statement and the instruments or methods to use to resolve the problem avoids missing out the required data for analysis.

A matrix or a table with headings such as problem statement, data collection instrument, and statistical analysis ensures efficient collection of data (see table below). Gathering data more than is needed is both costly and time wasting. And gathering less than required data prevents meaningful analysis thus failure to address the research problem.

Problem StatementData Collection InstrumentStatistical Analysis
What is the profile of coastal residents living within the government defined tsunami danger zone?Survey formDescriptive statistics
How shall local government units respond to tsunami if it does occur?Key informant interviewNone required; qualitative
What is the expected tsunami inundation area?GIS modeling softwareNone required

Researchers, therefore, should not start their study without adequately figuring out what type of data or information is needed to meet the objectives of their research. Failure to do so means unnecessarily spending more time and money in conducting the investigation. The probability of making illogical or irrelevant conclusions will be high.

Reference

Zikmund, W. G. (1999). Essentials of marketing research. South Western Educational Publishing.

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick A. (February 12, 2017). Research Design: A Simplified Definition for Beginning Researchers. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from http://simplyeducate.me/2017/02/12/research-design/

Crabbing: A Sustainable Livelihood in the Coasts of Magsaysay

Crabbing is an exciting activity I happen to witness during my recent trip to the remote island of Cuyo, a volcanic island between the islands of Palawan and Panay in the Philippines (Figure 1). This article describes the activity and provides insights for conservation and management of natural resources.

Cuyo Islands
Figure 1. Cuyo archipelago

Dodokon: The Intriguing Crab Species

As part of my task in a United Nations Development Program (UNDP) project, I lectured on the value of biodiversity to human life. A workshop followed the speech where the participants coming from five communities in the municipality of Rizal identified economically important species in their respective barangays. They plotted these resources on maps attached to the walls of the lecture hall.

I noticed several unfamiliar words stuck on resource map of participants coming from Barangay Rizal. They drew and pasted on the map a crab species unknown to even a colleague living in the place and me. It’s remarkable how the locals can discriminate certain species of crabs and give them unique names. They call the crab “dodokon.” Collecting dodokon forms part of their crabbing activity during low tide.

Intrigued how “dodokon” looks like, I told Marge, the director of the campus, that I would like to make a tour along the coast to document the species. It also presents an opportunity to use my newly cleaned Leica D-vario lens that had been kept for years after I inadvertently submerged it in the water while crossing a river during one of my field trips. She arranged for an early morning trip to a nearby sea grape farm about three kilometers away from our quarters.

Crabbing Tour

It was almost seven o’clock in the morning when my colleagues and I made a quick visit of the latô (sea grape) farm in Barangay Rizal, Magsaysay in the island of Cuyo. The school driver brought us in the appointed place in less than 15 minutes. A tour guide met us upon arrival and walked with us to the shore.

We waited a moment and realized that only one raftsman was around to give us a tour of the latô farm. My colleagues suggested that I take the first raft and start the tour as I still have a meeting at 9 o’clock with research coordinators of the extramural campus of our university. As research director, they need my guidance on the new research agenda of the university.

I thought that Elmer, the raftsman, will bring me around the intricate arrangement of latô enclosures. But around mid-way of the trip through the murky waters, he told me to stand back at the other end of the raft, about three meters from the rear end. The purpose is to achieve balance in the flimsy bundle of bamboo poles. He placed a large stone on his side and submerged half his body into the muddy substrate then wore an improvised swim googles to see underwater. I thought he was collecting sea grapes but learned later that he was collecting crabs as he tossed several crabs into a plastic pail while navigating the shallow waters.

What’s inside the pail? It’s the dodokon (see below).

crabs
Crabs (dodokon) collected from the murky waters of Rizal.

Crabbing as a Sustainable Livelihood for Coastal Fisherfolks

Crabbing is a sustainable source of food for the fisherfolks of Rizal as they wait for their latô farms to produce enough volume for commercial purposes. As long as the habitat is undisturbed, the muddy areas next to the mangroves can yield an unending supply of crabs to meet subsistence needs. In mangrove areas next to polluted bays or estuaries, subsisting on such crabs will make one cringe. Crabs are filter feeders and contaminated organic substances may contain toxins that can threaten human life through the process of bioaccumulation.

The residents of Rizal are fortunate because they still have pristine mangrove forests free from pollutants. Houses on stilts just like those found in urban areas are nowhere in sight. One can still enjoy the crunchy, dodokon delicacy just like the one we consumed when we dined back in our base.

crab meal
A crunchy, breaded meal of dodokon concluded our day.

Save Time Using the Internet as Source of Information

How can research help you save time? This article describes how a simple web search for information can save time in daily concerns such as commuting from one place to another. Read on to see how research can save time as well as money and effort.

Research can do worthwhile improvements in our daily lives such as saving time. Time is gold so they say and we must consciously do things that can help us save time. More time available means more opportunity to do other things.

I narrate my personal experience on how research tools and techniques matter. The application of simple review of available information and putting the information to good use means efficient use of time and money.

Save Time Using Online Information

I was one of the participants of a planning meeting in the Department of Science and Technology at 10 o’clock in the morning last Wednesday. My residence is in Quezon City and I will be traveling from that point of Metro Manila to the City of Taguig. If I take the taxi as I did before, I will be paying roughly PhP500 to reach my destination. That would take about two hours, at moderate traffic.

I dislike the feeling of urgency whenever the taxi I am in gets trapped in the traffic mess. The  driver complains and asks me to pay extra for the delay. It gives me stress and this can get ugly if my frustration leads to a heated exchange of words with the driver.

I realized later that the driver is not to be blamed because running on an empty taxi after unloading me in my destination in the midst of heavy traffic means expending gas with no passenger to pay for the gas consumed.

Stating the Problem

I thought there must be a more efficient, less costly and less stressful way to get to Taguig. Can research help resolve the question I have in mind? So I framed my problem statement thus:

Is there a faster, more efficient, and less expensive route to reach the City of Taguig from Quezon City?

Given this question, the next step is to review available information.

As there is nobody to ask around, the internet is the most convenient source of information. I browsed the web and learned that aside from taxis and buses, Taguig can be accessed by train. Train? I never thought of that option and I haven’t heard any of my colleagues take that route.

Although unsure if the route still exists because the information was written a few years back, I assumed that it still holds true. I am familiar with the Magallanes station of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT). And the information says that just a few hundred meters southward, the Philippine National Railways (PNR) station can be found.

I followed the route, taking the Ikot jeep in UP Diliman to get to UP Pantranco jeep so I can ride the Metro Rail Transit at the junction of EDSA and Quezon Avenue. The train arrived at the Magallanes station at around  7:50am.

I fumbled my way to the supposed EDSA station of the old railway system of PNR asking a guard for directions somewhere below the Magallanes interchange. He pointed the way to the station. Walking about 50 meters more, I “discovered” the hidden access.

The Old Train Arrived

My arrival would have been timely because a diesel-powered train arrived shortly. But being a newbie passenger, I missed it as I need to go against a throng of passengers who alighted from the train. I have to wait for the next train that is expected to come within an hour. I glanced at my watch and saw the time is 8:34am. I am still okay, I thought, as the meeting will commence at 10am.

save time by train
The Philippine National Railways train arrives at EDSA station.

Patience is a virtue, so they say, so I spent the time documenting the station and the surrounding areas. It’s a hot day so I walked from the  sunlight exposed sitting area and stood in the cooler western portion of the waiting shed.

At around 9:18am, the distinctive train toot and bright headlight came into view. I prepared to board the train with several other passengers. The train is moderately full at this busy hour. It seems many people are unfamiliar with this alternative route that goes from Tutuban to Calamba.

It took the train only 14 minutes to reach Bicutan, after two brief stops in Nichols and FTI. I arrived at my destination. The DOST compound is only at the other side of the road. In less than five minutes, I was 15 minutes ahead of the meeting schedule.

Cost of the Trip from Quezon City to Taguig

The whole trip from Quezon City to Taguig cost me only PhP50. Below is a breakdown of my expenses:

  • Ikot jeep: PhP6
  • PANTRANCO jeep: PhP10
  • MRT: PhP24
  • PNR: PhP10

I didn’t mind the congested ride in the jeep and at the MRT because it’s the busiest time of the day as employees rush to work. It’s great to find a more efficient, inexpensive and stress free route to my destination. The cost is 10 times less than taking the taxi. And I can improve on my commute time with the knowledge I gained on the train schedule.

Walking up the stairs at the Quezon Avenue station of MRT and queuing along with the long line of train passengers is the only patience challenging part of the trip.

The Default Theory

I have been thinking about this concept for quite a time. And I am convinced that advancing this idea as a theory can help explain the phenomenon that commonly beset human affairs, i.e., nothing happens, or nothing changes without deliberate and sustained effort to institute changes. I call this the Default Theory.

The Default Theory I have in mind applies to many cases of human endeavor. Although there is a theory by Timothy Levine called Truth-Default Theory or TDT, the theory I am advancing is entirely different from his description.

For example, I disseminated information among colleagues that there is an opportunity for innovation and development proposals to be potentially funded heavily by the Commission on Higher Education. The initiative is part of the government’s effort to minimize the adverse effects of the K-12 Transition Program.

A week was given to comply with the simple requirement of submitting a one or two-page concept paper to the funding agency. The concept paper preludes the preparation of a full-blown research proposal once the proposed concept is accepted.

I discussed the rationale, explained the mechanics and gave all the forms to be accomplished to the unit heads. I thought they would appreciate the effort and be motivated likewise to disseminate the information to the 400-500 faculty members of the university. I also explored possible topics as starting points that the group can follow through.

Even while disseminating the information and being hopeful that they will respond to the call, at the back of my mind, I somehow anticipate that nobody will submit or make the extra effort to present their proposals. By default, nothing gets done for some reason. Almost always, nothing gets done despite efforts to make a change.

And nobody did submit except me as I took extra effort to make a submission on or before the deadline. I am aware of the Default Theory. Things happen as they should if no additional effort is done to counter its effect. I have done this action several times, and I made changes and took a career turn. I counteract the default with deliberate, sustained effort to do something.

urban sprawl
Eutrophication of coastal areas occurs by default.

When applied to dealing with environmental issues or concerns which are my cup of tea, the Default Theory works likewise.

For example, for many years and after so many ideas, suggestions, propositions, projects, programs among others that arise to counter the effects of environmental degradation, the default prevails. That is, nothing gets accomplished that significantly and with lasting impact.

If you attend conferences or read scientific papers, the issue of environmental problems such as pollution, illegal trade, over-extraction, and similar problems faced decades back remain. The default is that nothing gets done, at least on a sustainable manner, even with much effort and expense. There may be successes, but history reveals that everything goes back to board one through time. Gains are not sustainable.

So where does this bring us?

It all starts with the recognition that this phenomenon exists. And deliberate, sustained effort to counter the “business as usual” must be made.

Information System: Its Definition and Role in Decision Making

What is an information system? How can it influence an organization’s effectiveness? This article defines information system and how it works.

The rapid pace of urban development in the information age is made possible by computer-based information systems. Middle level and upper-level managers benefit a lot from the outputs of a well-designed and efficient information system. In a highly competitive world, information systems define the winners and the losers in many areas: economic, political, social, among others.

But what is an information system? How does it work? How can managers make use of it?

Definition of Information System

An information system is an organized scheme of people and data collection and retrieval tools to produce information. Data is meaningless unless analyzed or processed to meet the needs of the users. Thus, data processors which may be human or machines, process the data and produce information. Information may be in the form of graphs, tables, figures or any output that translates data into understandable forms. Thus, information is processed data.

Modern organizations use computer-based or computer information systems because of its high efficiency in delivering information. Manual information systems, while still in use, is slower and relies mainly on the ability of people to process data.

In the age of information, information systems are synonymous with computer-based or computer information systems. That is because computers are used to process data into understandable chunks of information that the user needs. Slow data processing systems that rely on manual retrieval of data from physical folders or files in a metal cabinet are gradually phased out in modern workplaces.

information system
The information system in relation to the business world (Source: Wikipedia.org).

How Does a Computer Information System Work?

A computer information system requires the input of data, a processing capability, and the ability to produce an output that can be stored for future use. The acronym IPOS summarizes the components of an information system. This acronym stands for Input, Process, Output, and Storage.

In a computer information system, an input is made through the use of a keyboard, a mouse, or a microphone. Process refers to data analysis using software applications that take advantage of the computer’s processor. Computers perform complex calculations to organize data into useful outputs that can be displayed on a screen or printed on paper. It makes sense of data whose raw form is meaningless.

The output may be used immediately or retrieved from a storage whenever necessary. Flash drives, hard disks, and cloud storage facilities are commonly used to store both data and information.

Requisites of Good Information

The information produced in an information system is only as good as the data used to generate it. It follows the GIGO principle: Garbage In, Garbage Out. Wrong information produces false results.

According to Zikmund (1999), useful information should be 1) relevant, 2) timely, 3) of high quality, and 4) complete.

Relevance is the degree to which the information produced is related or useful to the current issue that needs resolution.  Information is timely if it is available whenever needed. Information is of high quality if it is based on accurate data and analyzed correctly. And information is highly useful if it answers all of the user’s queries or requirements.

Good information, therefore, is helpful in decision making if it is produced through systematic means. The rigorous manner applied in conducting research plays an essential role in delivering information that makes clear a decision maker’s options.

See how information is generated in the post titled: Market Analysis: The Pizza Study.

Reference

Zikmund, W. (1999). Essentials of marketing research. Dryden Press. 422 pp.

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick A. (June 8, 2016). Information System: Its Definition and Role in Decision Making. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from http://simplyeducate.me/2016/06/08/information-system/

Doctoral Thesis: Working Your Way Out

What attitude should you adopt in writing a doctoral thesis? Is it all too difficult? Here are five tips to get you going.

Writing a doctoral thesis is one of the most challenging tasks a graduate student would have to face in the course of completing a graduate degree. What are the challenges associated with doctoral thesis writing? I narrate my experience as I worked my way through the hurdles of the graduate school.

Give Up or Go On?

One of the professors I hold in awe and respect highly told everyone in class that pursuing a degree in the graduate school is not an easy path to take. There will be times you would want to give up and be free of the many demands of graduate study. He advised us to just “Go on and don’t be discouraged because depression is a normal part of a graduate student’s life.”

His words rung in my mind each time I feel like giving up. Much more so when I plunged deep into the water and looked up and around the blue waters surrounding me. I was assessing the status of coral reefs in selected spots in two bays. I was looking into the congruence of community perception on adjacent coral reefs with the “true” situation of their reefs verified by actual physical assessment of its condition.

Deep down in seawater at about 30 to 60 feet, I reflected upon myself: “What the hell am I doing here, swimming like a fish when I am a human being who should naturally be walking on land!” I am engaging in something unnatural. Humans are not meant to be in the depths of the sea. All of these I do for the sake of science, of trying to support the argument of my doctoral thesis. I felt like giving up.

But a doctoral thesis requires a more intelligent and rigorous inquiry into the unknown (see the difference between a master’s degree and a doctoral degree’s approach to the phenomenon). There should be a difference between a doctoral thesis and a master’s thesis. And I have to do something groundbreaking. At least that’s what I thought it should be.

doctoral thesis
Thesis defense, or offense?

Writing the Doctoral Thesis: Five Tips

So how can a Ph.D. candidate cope up with the challenges associated with the writing of a doctoral thesis? How can one cope up with the many and never ending manuscript editing woes?

Remember that writing a doctoral thesis is not your most amazing work. It is a prelude for you to appreciate and critically inquire into the theories that are never perfect. You can blaze a path of your own and be known in a niche you can best excel in.

How can you best cope with the task of finishing your doctoral thesis? Here are five suggestions to help you out of your predicament:

  1. Make sure you select an adviser who has a good reputation in your field. A good mentor produces good mentees.
  2. Be very clear about your intention in writing the doctoral thesis. An excellent review of the literature will help you clarify the issue that bogs your mind.
  3. Be brave to change your topic if the path you take gets too messy. Writing the doctoral thesis is done in partial, not full, fulfillment of the course requirements. Don’t aim towards perfection as that means more time and effort that may not be needed.
  4. Don’t force yourself too hard when you are not in the mood to write. Take a break. I did by playing a computer game all day long.
  5. Schedule your work and do a little at a time when your mind is not functioning at its peak. But compensate when you are in the mood. Do things gradually and you will accomplish a great deal. Just be consistent.

The point of the whole matter is that once you decide to go for a doctoral degree, there are some sacrifices to be made. No pain, no gain.

Market Analysis: The Pizza Study

What is market analysis? How is it done? This article describes how market analysis works using data on a pizza study.

After having defined marketing research in my previous post and giving an example conceptual framework for a pizza study, I decided to get into the details of market analysis using a standard multivariate statistical analysis tool. I saw the need of writing this article upon reading several articles on market analysis. There is a need to demonstrate what is market analysis.

Before everything else, the concept “market analysis” should be defined first.

What is market analysis and how is it used?

Market Analysis Defined

Marketing strategies work best when founded on a systematic evaluation of consumer preferences. What do consumers want? How do they respond to a product or service? Marketing research provides answers to these questions.

Hence, market analysis can be defined as the process of evaluating consumer preferences using a systematic approach such as marketing research, among others. Market analysis is a detailed examination of the elements or structure of the market.

Why is a market analysis done? An analysis is done to draw out important findings for interpretation, discussion and finally, a decision on what steps to make.

The Pizza Study

Once again, the conceptual framework given in the pizza study is given below to serve as a reference in the following discussion.

market analysis of a pizza study
Conceptual framework of the pizza study.

To find out what customers want, let us have a sample data of feedback from 200 pizza shop customers. To understand how analysis works, you need to read the article on variables as these are important units of analysis. If you already understand what variables are, then proceed to read the rest of the discussion.

Coding the Variables for Market Analysis

Let us have the following measures for the variables in this study namely pizza taste, service speed, and waiter courtesy:

Pizza Taste

1 – Very bad
2 – Bad
3 – Moderate
4 – Good
5 – Very good

Service Speed
1 – Satisfied
0 – Not satisfied

Waiter Courtesy
1 – Courteous
0 – Not courteous

Level of Satisfaction
Let us assume that the following Likert scale applies to the customer’s level of satisfaction:

1- Not at all satisfied
2 – Slightly satisfied
3 – Moderately satisfied
4 – Very satisfied
5 – Extremely satisfied

If for example, the customer is satisfied with pizza taste, service speed, and waiter courtesy; he rates everything “5.” If he is not satisfied with courtesy, then he might rate it a “0.”

Multiple Regression Analysis

Below is a data set representing the response of 200 pizza customers that serves as input to multiple regression analysis (you may try the data set if you know how to compute using multiple regression):

You may skip this table by clicking the link below:

Jump to the Results of Analysis.

A table summarizing the results of the pizza survey.

Customer #SatisfactionTasteSpeedCourtesy
15511
25411
34411
44411
54411
63500
75511
84511
95511
104411
114410
124411
134311
145311
154311
163401
174411
185411
195410
205410
214411
223501
234511
244411
253401
264511
275511
285411
294411
303401
313501
323501
333401
344411
354311
364210
375411
385311
395311
404311
414411
425411
434411
445311
454411
465411
474511
485511
494511
505511
514511
525411
534411
545411
554410
565511
573501
583501
593501
604411
614410
624410
634400
645511
655511
665511
675511
685411
695411
705411
714411
724411
734411
745311
754311
765311
774411
784411
794411
804511
814511
824510
835511
844411
854411
864411
874511
884511
894511
903501
914511
924411
934411
945411
954411
964411
974410
983401
993401
1003401
1013401
1024311
1034411
1044411
1054410
1064511
1074511
1084511
1095511
1104511
1114411
1124411
1135411
1144411
1154411
1164411
1175511
1185511
1195510
1205511
1215511
1225411
1235411
1245411
1255411
1265411
1275411
1284411
1294411
1304410
1314411
1324511
1334511
1344511
1354511
1364511
1375411
1385411
1395411
1405311
1414411
1424411
1434411
1444411
1454410
1464411
1474311
1484311
1494311
1503401
1514411
1524411
1534411
1543401
1554411
1564511
1574511
1584511
1595511
1605511
1615510
1625510
1635511
1645511
1654511
1664511
1674510
1684510
1694511
1704411
1715411
1725411
1735411
1745411
1754411
1764511
1774511
1784511
1794511
1804511
1815511
1825511
1835511
1845511
1854511
1864511
1874511
1884411
1893401
1904411
1914411
1924411
1934411
1945411
1955411
1965410
1974511
1984411
1994411
2003401

Result of the Regression Analysis

The following table presents the results of the multiple regression analysis using a simple spreadsheet software application with regression capability – Gnumeric. The first part shows the general relationship between the dependent and independent variables. The second part shows the details of the relationship between satisfaction score and pizza taste, service speed, and waiter courtesy.

Part 1. Regression Statistics
Multiple R0.66
R^20.44
Standard Error0.47
Adjusted R^20.43
Observations200
Part 2. Details
CoefficientsStandard Errort-Statisticsp-Value
Intercept2.91920.269110.84860.0000
Taste0.03260.05260.62080.5355
Speed1.32450.107612.31000.0000
Courtesy−0.01610.1098−0.14690.8834

Notice that the overall relationship has R values. Among these R values, the most important for interpretation is the Adjusted R^2 value. This value represents the relationship between variables of the study. The value obtained here is 0.43. This means 43% of the variation in satisfaction score is accounted for by the three variables.

Closer scrutiny of the details in Part 2 reveals that service speed significantly relates to satisfaction score. The red font indicates this significant relationship (for better understanding, please read the post on how to determine the significance of statistical relationships).

Interpretation of the Results

Based on the results of the statistical analysis, we can say with confidence that among the variables studied, service speed relates significantly to customer satisfaction. If you look closely at the entries in the data set, for every 5 or 4 satisfaction score, a 1 corresponds to service speed, meaning, the customer is satisfied with service speed. Take note, however, that this interpretation holds true only to the particular location where the study transpired.

Given this result, the marketing manager, therefore, should focus on the improvement of service speed to satisfy customers. This simple information can help the pizza business grow and gain a competitive edge. Market analysis guides decision-making and avoids incurring the unnecessary cost associated with the hit-and-miss approach.

Cite this article as: Regoniel, Patrick A. (May 21, 2016). Market Analysis: The Pizza Study. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from http://simplyeducate.me/2016/05/21/market-analysis-pizza-study/