Marking Pro-forma for Dissertation Proposal

 Title/topic: Branding/consumer behaviour in London supermarkets

 Subject specialism: Marketing

Proposals are assessed on the information provided in Sections 6-9 of the proposal pro-forma. Indicative weights are shown. 

The focus of the proposal

Does the proposal have a sharp focus? Is the chosen topic interesting? Important? Does the proposal have a degree of originality? Is there a specific hypothesis that will be tested?                  

No – it is very vague. You want to look at branding and consumer behaviour (not very original) but it isn’t clear which products or which consumers you are intending to investigate.

Your aim is to understand the impact of branding on purchasing behaviour – is there anything new here?

The hypotheses are extremely naïve – branding has no direct relation to the customer purchasing choice’. What sort of evidence would lead you to conclude that this was correct? 


Does the proposal provide evidence of relevant prior reading? Is this well-documented? 

There is a long list of sources, both general marketing books and more specific journal articles. But it isn’t clear how these relate to your proposed research. 

Literature Review

It’s a discussion of consumer behaviour that mentions a few sources but which you would find in any text on the subject. Many of the sources are not mentioned in the ‘literature review’ so how do they relate to your research? 

Intended methods of data collection

If primary data collection is proposed is there clear evidence that the student has thought through the practical difficulties of data collection?

You say you are going to observe and write down the activities of all the relevant people – but who are these people?

Then taped interviews with 15 to 20 people which will be analysed. Have you considered how long this will take? A single 30 minute interview will take a further 30 minutes just to listen to let alone analyse using whatever method.

If published data is to be used is the source of that data clearly stated? Is there evidence that the student has already accessed that data source and is aware of its limitations?

You mention journals, websites etc though there is no published data specifically singled out. 

You need much more clarity in your research objectives. At the moment this looks like it’s going to be a long essay on branding plus some vague data collection that hasn’t been thought through.