Consumer Behavior and Advanced Research Methods



Smirnova, Maria M., Associate Professor, Department of Marketing, Graduate School of Management, St.Petersburg University



45 contact hours


Introduction to marketing 

Course Description:

The course aims to start a discussion on the challenges of marketing research and analyzing consumer behavior in the dynamically developing global environment. A number of recent trends in consumer behavior are discussed and analyzed from a perspective of a firm’s opportunities for decision making and getting consumer insights. Relevant advanced marketing research approaches, concepts and tools are being presented, discussed and applied by students within a course project.
Learning outcomes:
• Understand current trends in consumer behavior and research;
• Identify courses of marketing action;
• Develop research strategy and select appropriate methods for consumer studies;
• Apply advanced research methods and interpret their results;
• Understand multiplicity of research techniques and combine them in order to enrich consumer knowledge.

Course Content (Topics and subtopics):


Topic 1. Course overview. Modern trends in consumer research.

Consumerism. New trends and consumption patterns. Challenges and agenda for marketing research. New trends in consumer research.
What is changing in consumption? How can firms embrace, analyze and address these issues?

Topic 2. Classic approaches to consumer behavior.

Evolution of consumer behavior and consumer research.

Topic 3. New consumer marketing and postmodern consumer.

- How can value-issues be addressed in research process?

Topic 4. Basics of Experimental Research.

How can experiments help in modeling consumer choice?

Topic 5. Ethnographic research.

- The consumer is evolving constantly. Are the research techniques evolving at the same rapidity?
The consumer is complex. Are classic research tools able to deal with consumers’ complexity?

Topic 6. Summary on advanced research methods.

- How can we analyze consumer as individual?
What does really matter: needs or more?

Topic 7. Individual aspects of consumer behavior.

- How can we analyze consumer as individual?
What does really matter: needs or more?

Topic 8. Consumer response to marketing actions.

Attitude and Perception. Quantitative and qualitative research methods on attitudes and perception. Insights for STP process. Green behavior and sustainable consumption.
- How can we address research on consumer attitudes and perception?
Why, where and when is this important?

Topic 9. Social and group aspects of consumer behavior.

Social decision-making. Cross-cultural differences and implications for marketing research. COO effects, consumer animosity and boycotts research. Understanding ethnic subcultures.

Course Organization:

The course is organized as an interactive workshop with intensive involvement of participating students. An applied project will be implemented during the course. Lectures, guest lectures, case studies, group work will be used as main teaching methods.
A very active participation in the course is expected from all the participants. Students have to prepare all the recommended readings and tasks before the class.

Course Reading (the full list):

Core reading:

• Hoyer W. D., MacInnis D. J., Pieters R. Consumer Behavior. 6th ed. 2012.
• Malhotra N.K., Birks D.F., Wills P.A. (2012) Marketing Research: An Applied Approach. 4th ed. Pearson

Course materials set published for the students on the Course Blackboard page.

Supplementary reading:
Articles from leading international marketing journals (including Journal of Marketing, Journal of Consumer Research, etc.)

Exam format:

Duration: 90 minutes

Grading Policy (% or points):

Course progress – 60 %, exam –40 %.
Course progress tasks include:

  • Written individual assignments
  • Activity of participation in in-class discussion, including paper-based presentation in-group
  • Group work on experimental design* 
  • Group work on ethnography*
  • Individual self-reflection essay
  • Final exam
Отзывы выпускников