Course Meeting Times
Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session
Objectives of 15.821
This course has three complementary objectives, namely, to:
- provide a concise “user’s guide” to the most valuable and common qualitative customer research methods (focus groups, customer visits, interviews)
- teach key skills for “do-it-yourself” customer research (preparing & conducting interviews, group discussions, surveys, and site visits)
- through a full-course project, teach all the basic steps of a Voice of the Customer exercise
You will need a tape recoder for your interviews.
Group Project (3-4 students per project)
This material is tough to learn from a textbook. Therefore, a major element of the course is a survey-based group project. It breaks down into seven tasks, which roughly coordinated with the seven weeks of the course:
- Selecting a topic and formulating a research plan
- Preparing for customer interviews
- Conducting and taping interviews
- Transcribing the interviews and identify customer statements or “voices”
- Interpreting or “scrubbing” the voices, and organizing into a hierarchy
- Proposing a new concept or solution based on the voices
- Writing the research report
A typical problem involves understanding the customers’ perspective in a new market. You will have a lot of freedom in choosing the problem, as long as it allows application of all of the steps.
Group Project: 50%
Class Participation: 50%
Project reports are due in class.