Research Methods for Engineering Projects
Prepare a formal written report:
Prepare a Word document with a Title page and write formally (i.e. avoid use of “I” or casual terms). Parts 1 to 3 of 2,500 words maximum (excluding tables).
Also References (essential) and Appendices (if needed). Minimum 12 point font for text (9 for tables). For calculations show (preferably tabulated) formula; data; workings and results. To assist you with your coursework preparation please refer to the Marking Guidelines provided on the final pages.
Part1: Understanding Customers.
-Demonstrates excellence and authoritative grasp in the use of different approaches for the field research of users and end user value analysis with a critical appraisal of user-centred research.
Part 2: Quantitative Data Analysis
– Authoritative evaluation and conclusions, demonstrating exceptional clarity including insights into user requirements and critique for market segments as well as anticipated router needs.
Part 3: Field Research Proposal
– Demonstrates excellence in the interpretation, advanced evaluation and communication of end user perspectives and to plan field research (with objectives; flow chart) with proposals justified.
Part 1. Understanding Customers
You support a firm which is a manufacturer of (low speed) electric mobility vehicles with the potential to develop electric motorcycles that are of moderate performance, are highly “durable” with the option of purchasing a spare battery and charger. Consumers comments on social media indicate concerns about how well electric vehicles will suit their lifestyles.
- Examine the data below of consumer driving patterns for car journeys and ownership:
- Assess the likely interest in electric motorcycles for three consumer groups: Segments A; B and C where ‘A’ ‘B’ and ‘C’ are the last 3 (non-zero, non-repeating) digits of your student
- Take the customer perspective and identify (preferably tabulated) their “Needs/Wants” as well as any likely product related “Fears/Concerns”.
|Segment data:||Low Mileage (<10,000 per year)
Groups 1, 4 & 7
|Medium Mileage (10,000 to 20,000
per year) Groups 2, 5 & 8
|High Mileage (>20,000 per year)
Groups 3, 6 & 9
|Miles per day:||20
|Typical Ownership:||Group 1: Up to lease (3 years)||Group 2: Up to lease (3 years)||Group 3: Up to lease
|Group 4: 5 to 8 years||Group 5: 5 to 8 years||Group 6: 5 to 8 years|
|Group 7: Till end of life||Group 8: Till end of life||Group 9: Till end of life|
- The firm decides to offer as a USP (Unique Selling Point) a free 2-year subscription to a carsharing service where members may book vehicles from 30 minutes up to a few months, online or by phone. A smartphone or smartcard is used to pick up and return the car at specified locations – with charges for the vehicle usage. How might you conduct field research (on behalf of the firm) into the likely consumer reaction to this USP?
Part 2. Quantitative Data Analysis
A firm that design and manufactures consumer electronics equipment has obtained some market research results on the average time spent online per day by different types of households. Examine the table below for three household groups: Segments A; B and C where ‘A’ =4‘B’=3 and ‘C’=4.
Time online per day (hours)
- Examine the market characteristics for Segment A; Segment B and Segment C:
- Use Standard Deviation to examine how diverse online usage is for each
- Comment on the level of online usage (Range; Median etc..) of your 3
- The firm you are advising has three Smart Home control units as shown in the table which are engineered to handle (occasional) peaks of 40% above the Normal usage:
|Device specification:||Low capacity Price £180/unit||Medium capacity Price £320/unit||High capacity Price £450/unit|
|Normal usage||4 hours per day||6 hours per day||8 hours per day|
- Which product would you recommend for each of your three groups: Segment A; Segment B and Segment C? Show your workings and
- What is the likelihood (probability) that online usage for a new household is below the upper quartile of the (maximum) product capacity for each of your groups?
Part 3. Field Research Proposal
3D printing (a form of “additive manufacturing”) is a process of making three dimensional solid objectives from a digital file. A manufacturer of 3D printers is looking to expand their market into small/micro sized businesses that typically lack knowledge of this process.
Research Proposal: propose (and justify) field research (and visualise the findings) into 3D printer usage: user service experiences and technology acceptance in an industrial context.
Hint: consider the “Research Wheel” and ‘Inductive’ vs ‘Deductive’ research approaches.