A Tutorial in Consumer Research: Keeping it Real in Experimental Research – Understanding When, Where, and How to Enhance Realism and Measure Consumer Behavior
24 Pages Posted: 12 Mar 2020
Date Written: February 12, 2020
In this article, we consider the reasons why employing realistic experimental designs and measuring actual behavior is important and beneficial for consumer research. More specifically, we discuss when, where, and how researchers might go about doing this in order to increase the veracity and believability of their work. We analyze the choice of independent variables (IVs) along the experimental-realism dimension, ranging from artificial to realistic, and the choice of dependent variables (DVs) along the behavioral-measures dimension ranging from hypothetical intention to actual behavior. Importantly, we also map various goals of consumer research along these two dimensions to highlight when it is most appropriate to enhance the realism and behavioral measures of an experiment. Using a number of illustrative examples from research in the extant literature, we specifically highlight how consumer researchers can increase experimental realism and utilize actual-behavior measures in their experiments in order to improve both the fidelity of the research and the likelihood that the research provides insight into “real” consumer behavior.
Keywords: Experimental design, Realism, Behavior, Measurement
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