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Developing a Research Proposal for Wal-Mart

I need to create a research proposal about Wal-Mart. Can you help me identify the terms and concepts I need to include? These should be broken down as such:

1. Introduction

2. Rationale for Research Proposal (Wal-Mart's) (NOTE Explain what the study intends to accomplish. What rationale was used to determine the importance for this study? How does Wal-Mart study relate to larger issues? Make a persuasive statement to justify the reason for the study. Why is the study important? To whom is it important? What benefits will occur if this particular study is done?)

3. Hypothesis (NOTE: A hypothesis is really an educated guess. A hypothesis results when the questions are transformed into statements that express the relationships between the variables within the study. It is sometimes referred to as an "if/then" statement.)

4. Definition of Terms and Summary (NOTE: Define a minimum of ten terms used throughout the Wal-Mart study so that readers can be sure to understand the meaning of the terminology used. An example of a definition is: "For the purpose of this study, improvement is operationally defined as post test score minus pretest score. Summary should include a restatement of the problem and a summary of the proposal.)


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Guidelines for Developing a Research Proposal
Part I
Suggestive Theme of the Paper can be: Strength of price perceptions of Wal-Mart in negating the impact of the bribery scandal in Mexico.

Wal-Mart has been considered to be a low priced discount retailer by the consumers in U.S. This price perception is so strong due to its Every Day Low Prices (EDLP) strategy that it has led to leadership position of the retailer in U.S but this leadership position is now being challenged by big retail players like Target, online retailers such as Amazon and small retailers such as Dollar General and Family Dollar stores. This challenge is a result of consumers in U.S becoming more price sensitive and looking for retailers who can offer the products at low prices. According to Click IQ's research, around 80% of the shoppers of Walmart are aware of its Every Day Low Prices philosophy and 90% of these consumers believe that it is extremely important for them to get the right prices for the products they purchase (PR Web, 2012: 14 Sept.). Earlier in 2012, it was reported by Click IQ that online retail stores are giving a tough competition to brick and mortar stores and although the consumer browses through the Walmart stores but they actually purchase from online retailers such as Amazon due to low prices offered online (PR Web, 2012: Feb. 15). But despite this challenge posed by the competitors, the company has reported an increase in profitability and revenues and the profits for Walmart rose 10% to $3.74 billion for the first quarter of 2012-13 and the revenues for the same period rose by 8.5% to $112.3 billion (Clifford, 2012: May 17). This trend is continued in the second quarter of 2012 with its net consolidated sales increasing by 4.5% to $113.5 billion (Business Wire, 2012: Aug. 16). These positive results are despite the Walmart bribery scandal in Mexico which is believed to damage the reputation of Walmart (Clifford, 2012: May 17). There have been reports of bribery scandal where it is believed that Walmart officials bribed the Mexican authorities to get licenses to open Wal-Mart stores in Mexico which is believed to damage the brand image of Walmart (Buss, 2012: May 17). The retailer has been trying to focus on its bargain basement image despite competition from the other large, small and online retailers (Thau, 2012: Mar. 14).

This study aims at understanding whether the efforts by Walmart to position itself as a low priced retailer in comparison to the other competitors including online retailers will negate any negative impact on brand image of Walmart. The study will try to explore whether Walmart will be a preferred retailer of choice to the consumer in U.S despite the bribery scandal due to its strong brand image as a low priced retailer. Therefore, the study will explore the factors contributing to the brand image of Walmart and the importance of price among these factors. Along with this, the study will try to measure the association between the brand name Walmart and the 'low priced retailer image'. Although in the past, studies have been conducted on the price perceptions of consumers towards Walmart and associations established but the studies have not focused on the strength of these associations and the impact on the consumer attitudes towards Walmart even after Mexico bribery scandal.

Part II
Rationale for the research proposal
The study aims at finding out the following:
- Consumer Perceptions about Walmart as a low priced retailer as compared to competitors.
- Association of low priced retailer image and the consumer attitudes and shopping behavior
- Association of Walmart's Image as a corrupt retailer and its impact on the consumer attitudes and shopping ...

Solution Summary

The expert develops a research proposal for Wal-Mart. Terms and summary hypothesis are discussed.