Case Assignment “Inquiring Minds Want to Know–Now!”


CaseAssignment &quotInquiring Minds Want to Know–Now!&quot



CaseAssignment Paper 1


Themanagement research questions hierarchy is a process of questionsthat help solve the coordination dilemmas with appropriate decisions.The management sets these issues in order to make valuable decisionsthat pertain the organization. Research questions commence when themanagement precipitate the importance of decisions. The regimeinvolves six research questions (Meuleman,2009).


Theseare problems that require management decisions. The dilemmas occurwhen there is a real problem in the organization (Meuleman,2009).These problems include rising costs of advertisements and decliningsales amongst others. The dilemma facing Penton Media is the declinein use of publication reader service cards. It has lead to a decreasein inquiries that adversely affects the sales volume. The otherdifficulties that Penton faces are determining whether the company`sadvertising finances will reduce if new approaches are adopted toincrease inquiries. The question that Penton Media Management shouldaddress includes what are the current issues that the administrationis facing from their point of view?


Themanagement of Penton Media should address different issues (Weicket al., 2013).For instance, what should the management do to ensure that thetargeted group and promoters get access to the appropriateinformation they require? Other questions include: what should themanagement of Penton Media do to increase the number of returnedservice cards? How can publication reader service cards be increased?Are the methods adopted the best in requesting information about theproduct?


Researchquestions form the outline of the objectives by providing a clearground to answer questions relating to the management dilemma (Weicket al., 2013).This is the hypothesis that best analyzes the objectives of thestudy. Questions asked include should the management continue usingthe reader service cards, stop using or should they adopt newtechniques? Also what is the target population? And what number willbe interviewed?


Theseare questions that the researcher should answer satisfactorily inorder to arrive in the conclusion on the management dilemma(Meuleman,2009).Different issues are addressed such as what means do advertisers usein order to get customers preferences on the products and services?Also, the management should analyze on the importance of eachalternatives from the available course of actions in order to come upwith the best alternative. The other question is what are the impactsof technology advancement on the readers? What is the kind ofinformation that users seek in most cases? What are the emergingtrends in communication?


Measurementquestion are discussed based on the approaches used in gathering ofinformation. Questionnaires, tests and sampling are some of thetechniques used to gather data (Meuleman,2009).Penton Media used these methods with a view to addressing themanagement dilemmas it faced. Penton Media also adopted surveymethod. This process helps in forming the consistency of the datagathered as well as locating omissions. Editing is done to reduceerrors thus improving legibility and clarifying unclear feedbacks.The question addressed includes what method will be used so asobtain the information required by the management?


Afterthe completion of the research process, a report of findings andrecommendations is forwarded to the management for decision making. Agood report finding should address issues affecting customers as wellas benefiting the organization. The report must contain a detailedsummary of the consisting of the synopsis of the management dilemma,findings and conclusions (Weicket al., 2013).Management decision should be the one that will help increase thesales of Penton Media by minimizing costs. The questions askedinclude what is the best option to take as per the researchrecommendations?


Ethicalissues are circumstances that require an organization to evaluatebetween different alternatives that are analyzed either ethical orunethical. Although the ethical issues experienced by organizationsare solely dependent on the operations of the organization, someethical dilemmas are prone to occur to all the organizations.Decisions should be handled with wisdom, given the effects that theorganization would face if the issues are ignored and not addressedin the correct manner. The world is becoming a diverse and isshrinking, and the public is demanding for social responsibility fromthe organizations. When an organization identifies the ethical issuesaffecting their business, they become more savvy entrepreneurs(Cheney,2013).

Thestudy case of Penton Media reveals a number of relevant ethicalissues. During the questionnaire survey, readers were informed on theimportance of the studies, and the level of confidentiality put inplace. This made them cooperate by giving their views andparticipating in the review process. The sample selection criterionwas given, but the outcome was not provided.

Technologyis an essential element in every organization (Coldwell&amp Herbst 2010).Advancements in technology have caused a number of ethical dilemmasin organizations. Penton Media has gone through a tremendous growthfor a six-year period commencing 1992 to 1998. During 1992, thetechnology was not well developed and hence Penton Media tried topersuade the readers to order products through mails. Technology wasnot the most-effective way to communication. A further survey showedthat an improvement in technology in the next few years means thatmost readers will be able to access information through visiting thewebsites. It is crucial for the management to weight between thefreedom of employees as well as establishing standards that willensure the organization uses technology for business purposes(Cheney,2013).

Byproving emails and websites, Penton Media made it easier for readersto access more information making it known globally. Towards the endof 1997, computers and internet had become more accessible, and morepeople were using them all over. It is of importance to state that anorganization can only succeed if it must maintain its customer’sloyalty. Most of the companies that have succeeded operate inopenness and transparency. The management should ensure that honestyis key when dealing with customers (Baehr,2011).Penton Media management should understand integrity and conduct theirbusiness with trust and honesty as well as treating customers in afair way.

Advertisingwas another ethical dilemma. Penton Media had adopted a method ofadvertising through mails, but this was not an effective way for anew business. Most people ignore these adverts and consider them asjunks. This technique would benefit this organization in the longrun. According to the research by Penton, there was an increase inthe number of responses options in the year 1992 and 1997.

Aresearch by Santa Clara University showed that established aframework for ethical decision making, is essential in analyzing theethical issues as well as well as recognizing the best course ofaction. Penton Media should identify these ethical dilemmas and testthem in order to achieve the best outcome. These will help themprotect the customer’s rights, beliefs and values (Baehr,2011).

Actingethically will enable Penton Media make a good business sense. Thebenefits that this organization will get include higher investments,new sources of finances and improved business awareness andrecognition (Coldwell&amp Herbst 2010).On the other hand, failure to address these ethical dilemmas, theorganization will incur higher costs that will lead to a decrease inrevenues.


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Baehr,J. S. (2011). Theinquiring mind: On intellectual virtues and virtue epistemology.Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Cheney,D. (2013). Ethicalissues in research.Frederick, Md: Univ. Publ. Bottomof Form

Coldwell,D., &amp Herbst, F. J. (2010). Businessresearch.New York: Juta Academic.

Meuleman,L. (2009). Publicmanagement and the metagovernance of hierarchies, networks andmarkets: The feasibility of designing and managing governance stylecombinations.Heidelberg: Physica-Verlag. Bottomof Form

Weick,C. W., Jain, R., &amp Triandis, H. C. (2013). Managingresearch, development and innovation: Managing the unmanageable.Hoboken, N.J: Wiley. Bottomof Form

CaseAssignment Paper 2


Samplingis the process whereby a few people in given area are selected andthe data collected is used to represent the entire population. Thebest sampling technique is the one that represents the features ofthe community (Sower,2011).A sampling plan refers to an outline that specifies the measurestaken during the course of this exercise. A research by Giadrosich in2009 stated that a sampling plan should answer five questions thatinclude what is the targeted population? What is the sampling area?What is the sample size needed? What are the parameters of interestand finally what is the best sampling method to adopted? Thesequestions are answered in order to achieve the organizationalobjectives (Giadrosich,2009).

PentonMedia created their sampling plan by utilizing and answering thesequestions. First, they tried to identify their targeted population.Their target populations were those who read their magazines. Fromthe United States, Penton phone database had 1.7 million domesticsubscribers while those from emails were 300 subscribers and 4000executive members. The second question that Penton Media analyzed isidentifying the sampling area. The sampling area was 42 cellscomprising of seven industry groups with six job titles in everycategory. In defining the sample size, 710 surveys were considered.Penton Media used the questionnaire data collection technique. Theanswered questionnaires were analyzed by weighting their responses inthe overall population.

Samplingis one of the commonly used methods of data collection. Strengths ofsampling approach include the ease of analyzing the sample. Samplingis a fair way of selecting a sample in the population as every partgets an equal chance of being selected. The other strength is theability to represent the population (Giadrosich,2009).A small sample is chosen that acts as a representative of the entirepopulation. The only element that compromise the outcome is luck, andthis is referred to as the sampling error. A sampling plan helps indrawing conclusion. The findings of this method represent the wholepopulation and can be relied upon when making decisions. The goals ofany research study are to come up with findings that a representativeof the population from a given sample. Further, sampling is a costeffective way of getting information from members in the community(Sower,2011).Penton was able to gather enough data from customers using thistechnique.

Onthe other hand, the sampling plan encounters a number of weaknesses.One of the limitations of the sampling plan is that there is a needto complete a list of every element represented in the population. Itis also uneconomical to achieve. The other weakness of the samplingplan is that members selected might be dishonest, giving wrongresponses and thus affecting the conclusion (Sower,2011).They might also take too long hence leads to interference with timelimits and resources allocated.

Thereare also limitations when using phone communication surveys, and thishad a greater impact on Penton`s information. Conversation on phonesto limited on the length of the interview. On the same point, aninterviewer cannot handle complex and visual issues that areaddressed on the face meetings (Giadrosich,2009).A research showed that telephone interviews have a lower responserate as compared to face to face conversations.

Question4 Researchdesign is the overall strategy that a researcher adopts to analyzethe components of the research study in a more logical manner so asto address the research problem. Research design composes of datacollection techniques,measurements and data analysis (Davis, 2010). According to the caseof inquiring minds want to know, the researcher constructed thesurvey using stratified disproportionate random sampling method byidentifying a sample of 42 cells. The variables are chosen from twocategories of the population. 1991 and 1997 are the two strataselected from which information will be collected, and conclusionsdrawn.

Researchdesign has a wider scope of research and hence can comprise ofqualitative and quantitative analysis. These plans may involvescientific words that need to be clearly explained to customersotherwise you might lose them. Distinction should be made betweenresearch designs and methods of data collection because researchdesigns are not means of information. Designs are independenttechniques. They comprise of crucial methods to gather theinformation needed and addresses the research issues.

PentonMedia uses descriptive survey in an attempt to identify themanagement dilemmas. It is a quantitative design analysis thatanalyses the circumstances as they are without affecting thesubjects. Surveys are considered the best research designs adopted byresearchers to analyze individual behaviors, describing the marketpattern and consumer habits (Davis, 2010). It has been applied byPenton Media where they analyzed data from 676 customers. Further,Penton Media gives an error margin of 4 % and a confidence level of95%. It is of importance to note that research design helped Pentonresearch team reduce error levels when arriving at the conclusion. Ithad designed the research in a way that utilized the availabletechniques to acquire the right information to address the centralissues.

Researchdesigns have a number of strengths. First, it assures a balancedsample (Zikmund, 2013). The Penton Media research ensures that thereare 42 cells that constitute of seven industry groups with six jobtitles. Further, research designs provide a stratified sample that isusually require medium sample that in turn helps reduce the cost. Onthe other hand, Research designs are with a few weaknesses. To begin,this is a difficult task. This is because it calls for moremanagement effort rather than a simple sampling example. The othermajor weakness is that research designs may lead to greater variancesamong the groups involved (Creswell, 2014).


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Creswell,J. W. (2014). Researchdesign: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches.Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications.

Davis,M. (2010). Computability&amp unsolvability.New York: McGraw-Hill.

Giadrosich,D. L. (2009). Operationsresearch analysis in test and evaluation.Washington, DC: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Sower,V. E. (2011). Essentialsof quality: With cases and experiential exercises.Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley &amp Sons.

Zikmund,W. G. (2013). Businessresearch methods.Mason, OH: South-Western.

CaseAssignment Paper 3


Critiquerefers to a detailed analysis of the situation (Coppedge, 2012). Inthe case for inquiring minds to know, the main agenda of the researchstudy was to determine the reasons for the experience in declining ofpublication reader service cards. This review helped in analyzing andcompared the inquiry responses. In critiquing, this study PentonMedia analyzed the methodologies and the strengths and weakness ofthe survey. Penton commenced the research by comparing the responseoptions of two years: 1992 and 1997. The average response options perad in 1992 were 3.3 as compared to an increase to 4.1 in 1997. The1997 ads had offered more free telephone communications and faxnumbers.

In1992, emails and company websites were the nonexistence and hence themethod used was sending responses through postal mails. In the year1992, only 69% of the responses were sent via postal mailings ascompared to 55 % of the responses send in 1997. During the year 1997,customers had begun sending emails and accessing the advertiser’swebsites. More than 60 % of website addresses were viewed in the year1997, and email addresses responded to 17.7% of the ads.

Further,Penton sent questionnaires by phones to 1.7 million domesticsubscribers in the United States. A second protest was sent by emailsto 300 subscribers. The final letters were sent to 4000 executivesand sales agents. These study samples were constructed with the helpof a stratified sampling method with examples being drawn from 42cells. From a sample of 710 completed questionnaires, only 676 of therespondents were considered as being potential buyer in theorganization. The responses in each of the 42 cells were studied inorder to make a conclusion of the entire population. The overallsurvey error was 4% with a confidence level of 95 %.

Follow-uptelephone conversation interviews were conducted on 40 customers soas to understand children`s attitudes. The findings showed thatalmost every customer had contacted an advertiser in the previousyear. This Research stated that more than half of the buyers hadadopted newer methods of making enquiries. These customers had madeenquiries through websites, fax and emails. In an attempt to forecastin the future of the organization, Penton Media analyzed the impactsof information technology. According to the report findings in thenext five years, more that 73% is expected to respond to ads bysending emails while 72% are expected to view the company`s website.Further, 60% is anticipated to increase the use of fax on demand.

Further,critiquing this survey on the future of the organization, PentonMedia concluded that over 50% of the customers have access to theinternet while 75% of those without internet expected to have it inthe next five years. 72% of customers intended to use the internet insearch of new suppliers, products and services in the future years ascompared to 33% of buyers using the internet in the previous years.

Onthe other hand, in critiquing of any study there are challengesfaced. Penton Media findings showed that the need to acquire quickerresponses and information about products and services availability isgreatly influenced by different factors. These factors include costconsiderations and the pace of conducting business. Time pressure isanother vitiating factor (Tooley et al., 2009). It arises due tomanagement decision to lay off workers in an attempt to cut downcosts.


Researchersspend most of their time gathering information from customers andgetting to know their needs. They then create a plan that is used togenerate information that will be converted to knowledge (Kuiper,2011). In the preparation of the survey for analysis, differentinterrelated steps are applied that help arrange, summarize andchange raw data to useful information. Penton Media main objectivewas to determine the causes for the decrease of publication readerservice cards. This made the research team to conduct a number ofsurveys on buyers to determine the reasons behind it. Theytransformed the data collected to useful information that enabled theorganization to identify the needs of customers (Glock et al., 2009).

Thefirst process in preparing a study of analysis is a quick review.Researchers are encouraged to read their results in order to identifyerrors in questionnaire and responses (Kuiper, 2011). Further, thishelps one identify if the responses are from the right targetpopulation. Penton Media used this process by choosing 676 customersfrom a sample of 710 questionnaires distributed. Quick review canhelp detect any errors during the survey process. The study from 676buyers generated an error margin of 4% and a high confidence level of95%. It also identifies on the specific areas that require detailedanalysis.

Theother important step in survey analysis preparation is writing andcleaning. Care is taken when writing so that useful data is notthrown thus leading to biased results (Kuiper, 2011). Only discardincomplete and duplicate responses. Penton Media disregarded 34questionnaires from individual who were not potential customers.

Thethird step is a detailed analysis. This is considered as themost-crucial stage in any survey analysis. Data collected isconverted to useful information. Detailed analysis leads to alternatethe course of actions (Glock et al., 2009). Extreme care needs to beobserved because a significant error at this stage can lead toserious consequences on the business. Detailed analysis concludeswhether the survey was a success or not. Researchers use charts,graphs or cross tabulations to decide the alternative to undertaking.Further, some researchers may use a more complex statistical analysisusing analytical elements such as Excel, SPSS and other computationapplications.

Reportingis the final stage in the development of study for analysis. After adetailed analysis, a report on finding is prepared. Adequate evidencesupporting the conclusion is given. Reports such as HTML andPowerPoint presentations are best for simple samplings. The besttechniques for presenting reports are graphs and tables (Glock etal., 2009). Such techniques allow one to comprehend in a quicker waythan compared to other methods of data presentations. Penton Mediapresented their reports on percentages, and this was also a betterway of showing comparisons. It is of importance to state thatresearch objectives and sampling methods be placed at the beginningof the report so as to enable one understand the reasons for thereview (Kuiper, 2011).

Datagathered from research studies need to analyzation in order to makesense. The analysis begins by labeling data according to the sourcesmethods of collection and the evidence it holds. Working with theinitial data is tiring and cumbersome and hence the need for coding.Coding helps researchers minimize cumbersome information in simplerforms that are represented in computer programs like Excel,spreadsheets and SPSS. A code sheet shows how the questionnaires arecoded during data recording. Further, it helps outline every questionin the questionnaire where data originated, variables, coding usedand the number of columns among others depending on the type ofresearch.


Codesheet for Case Assignment “Inquiring Minds Want to Know-Now.”

Periods Codes

1992 YR-01

1997 YR-02

Variables Codes

ReaderService Cards 00V1

Emails 00V2

Webvisits 00V3

Faxon demand 00V3

Telephonecalls 00V4

Samplearea Codes

Managers 0S1

Executive 0S2

Engineers 0E3

PurchasingAgents 0S4


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Brace,I. (2010). Questionnairedesign: How to plan, structure and write survey material for effective market research.London: Kogan Page.

Coppedge,M. (2012). Democratizationand research methods.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Glock,C. Y., Bennett, J. W., &amp Russell Sage Foundation. (2009). Surveyresearch in the social sciences.New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

Kuiper,S. (2011). Contemporarybusiness report writing.Mason, OH: Thomson South-Western.

Tooley,J., Darby, D., &amp Great Britain. (2009). Educationalresearch: A critique: a survey of published educational research:report presented to OFSTED.London: Office for Standards in Education.

CaseAssignment Paper 4


Inthe case study of inquiring minds wants to know, Penton Mediaperformed an analysis to determine the customer’s interest in thepublication reader service cards. The research report providedstatistical data that needs to be analyzed and provided to IndustryWeek so that the future use of these service cards can be accessed.In order to address this issue, there is a need to develop a reportthat will lead to a better understanding of this information, bothwritten and visually in order to help in future decisions (Willemse,2011).

Tobegin, I would begin by verbal research. This enables users to getinformation in regard to the techniques involved. As a researcher, Iwill explain my finding and give adequate feedback (Willemse, 2011).Text words will help Industry week understand this information andanswer questions related to how the data was collected and analyzed.I would also try to keep the information simple and clear so thatreaders can interpret it.

Theother method that I would use in presenting statistical informationis by use of graphs. These are considered useful in datapresentation. A graph summarizes complex and sophisticatedstatistical information (Weerahandi, 2013). I would use these inrevealing the patterns that exist between population readers’service cards and customers of Penton Media. Charts would show howthe enquiries were made at different periods and their percentageincrease over years due to impacts of technology. Further, graphsbreak large amounts of words and tables thus simplifying theinformation (Weerahandi, 2013). For instance, when representing theimpacts of technology on the number of inquiries in the next fiveyears, I would consider either using a bar graph or pie chart.

Theother method that I would use in presenting statistical data would betables. An efficient table presents simplified information forcustomers as well as pointing out the key areas being addressed(Feliciano,2012).This will make the information being conveyed to be clear andunderstood by all. According to the research made by Penton Media,most of the information provided would do well in a table. Forinstance, the inquiries made from various fields such as emails,websites and fax on demand would be simplified in a table so thatwill help the management understand how the different methods ofadvertising were doing in the market. Labeling of each tableseparately, columns and using clear titles help reduce confusionswhen making decisions (Weerahandi,2013).I would provide footnotes that will help understand these tables.

Asa result of development in technology, most of the customers intendedto use internets in the next five years. The relationship betweentechnology and the number of inquiries would be clearly shown in thetable for Industry Week for the decision maker to access whether tocontinue publishing discontinue or adopt new methods. Further, Iwould try and rank the statistical information from the highest tolowest. I would also try and use consistency in the tables as well aspatterns that show crucial relationships to achieve uniformity.Unnecessary information is left out, and decimal places minimized sothat tables don’t appear congested (Feliciano,2012).Congested tables may be confusing to readers may not be in a positionto make valuable decisions, and they obscure important information.


Ina research study, limitations are defined as influences beyondresearcher’s ability that interfere with the methodologies andfindings of the study. In conserving the limitations of this study, Iconsidered the following elements analysis, methods used, thesamples and finally time constraints. The first limitation in thisstudy is the sample size (Pinnegar &amp Hamilton 2009). The samplesize is dependent on the type of the research problem beinginvestigated. A smaller sample will lead to insufficient information.Given that Penton Media involved a large population a bigger samplearea was required. The survey sample in Penton Media used a samplesize of 42 cells constituting of seven industry groups by six jobtitles. It was difficult to ascertain whether the experience indeclining reader service cards affected all the industries or some ofthem. This would affect the final report because the most-affectedindustries are not ranked first.

Theother hindrance in this research study is the selection criteria ofthe base year chosen. This study was based on two years 1992 and1997. This method of selection does not represent the wholepopulation. Between the two years, there could be an event thatoccurred that would either increase or decrease the number of readerservice cards and hence not considered in the study. The techniqueused in selecting the year 1992 as the base year could also not havebeen the best year. This study would give a more efficient decisionif more years were considered. For instance, the interval was twoyears, and five years were compared.

Lackof available and reliable data is the other limitation of this study.Lack of reliable data will force the researcher to reduce the scopeof the study, sample size and if there is no relationship between theresearch objective and the responses received (Krishnaswamy et al.,2010). The study of Penton Media faces this limitation whereby fromthe sample of 710 completed questionnaires only 676 were potentialcustomers. Lack of reliable data led to a decrease in the samplesize. A better understanding of this study required a more samplesize. The responses from the 676 customers could not be the bestsample size to represent the entire population.

Theother limitation is the margin of errors associated with researchstudies. A higher margin shows that the methods used are biased(Krishnaswamy et al., 2010). A research study conducted on PentonMedia on 676 customers gave rise to an overall error of 4%. On thesame point, this study gives room for bias during sample collection.This is because selected samples could give rise to the same results.The selection of 676 customers could lead to almost similarcustomers’ needs. This study would be sufficient if all elements ofthe surrounding environments were considered.

Timeis another limitation for most of the research studies. This studyinvolved follow-up interviews with 40 customers that further helpedunderstand their attitudes. Phone interviews have limited time, andthis might not give all the required information (Pinnegar &ampHamilton 2009). This technique is also limited to simple questions,unlike the face to face interviews where complex issues areaddressed. Further, there was a need for fast response andinformation about the product delivery and availability that wasgreatly affected by time pressures. The time pressures were due tolaying off of staffs and the need to greater production.


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Feliciano,G. (2012). Therelative effectiveness of seven methods of presenting statistical information to a general audience.

Krishnaswamy,K. N., Appa, L. S., &amp Mathirajan, M. (2010). Managementresearch methodology: Integration of principles, methods andtechniques.New Delhi: Pearson Education.

Pinnegar,S. E., &amp Hamilton, M. L. (2009). Self-studyof practice as a genre of qualitative research: Theory, methodology,and practice.Dordrecht: Springer.

Weerahandi,S. (2013). Exactstatistical methods for data analysis.New York [u.a.: Springer.

Willemse,I. (2011). Statisticalmethods for business.Lansdowne [Cape Town: Juta.Bottomof Form