Portfolio of Research Studies

Oak Dining Chairs or Metal Dining Chairs. Which do Families Prefer in their Kitchen?

The Research Objective
When picking out furniture for any room in the house, there is without fail a multitude of consumer spending options that immediately jump out to us. Before we've even begun to sink our teeth into the depth of the task that sits before us, an overbearing feeling can come over us that leaves us flustered and agitated. A wide variety of consumer choice is always a good thing to experience from the perspective of the customer in the vast majority of cases. A great level of products/services to choose from and as a consequence, customers will also benefit from lower prices due to reduced levels of competition. 

The research proposal for this particular study was quite simple, acquire a greater level of knowledge and understanding into a very small aspect of the consumer decision making process when it comes to shopping for furniture, or more specifically in this context, shopping for dining chairs. Therefore, the following research question was proposed:

"Which are the preferred choice of dining chair for a family kitchen, oak dining chairs or metal dining chairs?"

By combing this main research question with several profiling questions to establish demographics for each of our survey respondents, we aim to not only directly answer our research question, but to also attempt to identify any potential correlations between the choice of purchase and personal characteristics such as age, gender, income and more. 

Research Methods
In order to both accurately and reliably answer the research objective at hand, a very large sample of respondents were required for this particular research study. This was due to the fact that the main research question is rather vague, along with a large sample size being required for valid and reliable results, as is usually required with research objectives that aren't focused around a very niche subject matter.

By working with the company who requested this research study to be conducted, we sent out an online questionnaire using Survey Monkey to a sample size of 15,000 recipients. Out of these 15,000 recipients, we received 11,678 responses to our survey, forming an impressive response rate of 77.9%. Out of these 11,678 respondents, we were fortunately able to land within a 35-65% margin for all of the key demographics that we were tracking for. This also included ensuring that we got an accurate representation of family sizes and that all respondents were valid for the research study in hand by only allowing respondents with at least one child in order to reliably answer the research objective, due to the fact that we are only looking at if metal or oak dining chairs are preferable for a family kitchen. Of the total overall respondents, a further 213 responses were removed from the final sample size to analyse due to the respondent filling in that they didn't have children. 

Analysis Methods
Analysis of this particular study was significantly easier than is usually the case with many other research projects. Due to the fact that our primary research objective to answer was a simple closed ended question, more complex analysis methods weren't required to allow us to come to a valid and reliable conclusion for that particular aspect of the study. 

However, in order for us to dig deeper into the more philosophical aspects of the consumer decision making process relative to the research objectives that we set out to answer, further analysis to offer a more in depth perspective would be required. We achieved this goal by conducting cross-tabulation analysis between the respondents' choices of dining chair against the key profiling questions that we included within the questionnaire in order to put each respondent into key demographic groups. By doing this we will then be able to further investigate the potential demographic based causes that prompt certain people to prefer to have a metal framed set of dining chairs over oak dining chairs. For instance, do older couples with older children prefer oak dining chairs?

Our Research Results
The research question that our study set out to answer was as follows:

"Which are the preferred choice of dining chair for a family kitchen, oak dining chairs or metal dining chairs?"

Our research results show that 72% of the respondents within the sample that we used for this study displayed a preference for oak dining chairs over metal framed dining chairs. Going into the study, our prediction was that our research would yield a slight preference towards oak dining chairs, but not as significant of a preference as was displayed in the final findings of our study.

As a result of extensive cross-tabulation analysis involving the preferred choice of dining chair and key demographic criteria that we gathered, we were able to make some interesting observations relating to potential reasons as to why our sample base of respondents opted to choose the preference that they selected. The following relationships were determined as a result of the post-research analysis that was conducted.

*Respondents aged 38+ showed a significant preference towards oak dining chairs

This was a trend in the results that we predicted before the start of our research study. Oak dining chairs are a more traditional design of dining chair, therefore it is to be expected that older demographics lean more favourably towards a more traditional furniture design. The same trend was also true for the 28-38 age demographic, but not to a mathematically significant degree. A mathematically significant degree is confirmed upon a presence of a 60%+ response. Furthermore, the results showed that respondents in the 18-28 demographic that had children, were more likely to prefer metal framed dining chairs, however not to a significant degree.

*Respondents with 2+ children showed a significant preference towards oak dining chairs

This finding within our analysis generally has a lot of overlap with the above conclusion. In general terms, it would be a reasonable assumption to make to assume that most respondents with 2+ children will fit into the older age ranges, particularly 28+. As a result, this finding further backs up the finding make from the previous conclusion.

Further Action
In order to provide further insight into the findings that our analysis have produced, a more in depth study would be required to be conducted. Future research should look further into the consumer decision making process to better understand the psychological aspects of the consumer decision making process in relation to their choice of dining chairs. This research should be conducted on a much larger scale than what was used for this study. For instance, consideration should be paid for the difference between different designs of oak dining chairs. Opportunities from this study have been presented to encourage future research to investigate this area. For example, do traditionally designed oak dining chairs have a different impact on the consumer decision making process compared to more modern styles. Furthermore, is price a significant determining factor in the process, likewise the destination of the purchase. Does shopping online compared to a bricks-and-mortar shop have any significant bearing on the decisions that are made? Finally, it would also be interesting to dive deeper into the correlation between purchasing decisions and more niche demographic criterion.