Business research proposal

The aim of this research is to investigate how women feel about themselves and their body images since Dove’s marketing campaign “ Real Beauty”. Women in the media are perceived a certain way and since the marketing campaign have ordinary women changed their opinions on how they see celebrities. Rationale and Research Questions 81% of women in the United States agree that “…the media and advertising set an unrealistic standard of beauty that most women can never achieve”. Body confidence has been a serious issue with women due to how women celebrities look in magazines.

Perfect skin, flawless and slim is seen as a way all women are expected to look, but a majority of this is down to airbrushing and advanced computer technology. (2004) Dove created a marketing campaign to show women they can be happy no matter what size they are, and have taught women of all ages that women in the media have an easier access to tools to make them look a certain way, and they should not feel the need to conform to this. For this research, a more in depth analysis of how women feel and what their thoughts are on “ what they feel is beautiful” will show if Dove’s campaign has achieved and helped women with their insecurities.

Research questions are needed to ensure that the research undertaken fulfils every question and is therefore thorough. 1. How do women feel about their body image? 2. How has the Dove marketing campaign “ Real Beauty” changed women’s opinions on celebrities? 3. What can further be done to help women and their self confidence? Literature Review (Grogan, 2007) carried out research looking at the subject of body dissatisfaction of men, women and children.

Qualitative and quantitative research was carried out to get the full understanding of how people feel about their body image. …The significant rise in referral for cosmetic operations, concerns about unhealthy eating, and the increase in the use of drugs designed to make men and women more muscular,” (Grogan, 2007). These are important factors the author has recognised of what women will go through to look a certain way without the influence of women in the media. Other factors apart from celebrities have been looked into for reasons that affect women and their body image such as “ 10 years younger” a television show giving ordinary women the chance to look younger through surgery which is not the easy option leading to further body dissatisfaction.

Stephanie Moschk, 2008) carried out research on Effects of Thin-Ideal vs. Natural Ideal Media Images. Stephanie Moschk studied sociocultural theory looking into the pressures on women who are exposed to ultra thin celebrities and the pressure to look a certain way. The researcher found that, “… the effects of thin-ideal and natural ideal media images are highly dependent on individual difference measures including trait body anxiety. Refuting the hypotheses, the results showed that natural-ideal images only deceased body image disturbance for women with high trait body anxiety but increased it for women with low trait body anxiety.

This shows that all women are affected by the thin ideal whether they have high or low trait body anxiety just in different ways. Western cultures provide an unrealistic body image which women cannot achieve with shows such as “ I want a famous face,” where women feel the pressure of conforming to sociocultural standards set by the media to be thin and beautiful leading to success. “ This theory purports that individuals, particularly women, are exposed to pervasive, culturewide ideals and expectations regarding what is deemed attractive” (Thompson, Heinberg, Altabe, & Tantleff-Dunn, 1999, p. 25).

Looking at the social comparison theory (Festinger, 1954), “…individuals have an innate drive to evaluate their abilities and opinions. If an objective or non-social basis for the evaluation is unavailable, individuals tend to compare themselves to others who then serve as reference points. ” Women are comparing themselves not to ordinary women walking along the street, but to celebrities in the media and instead of being happy for themselves comparing their bodies to what the media say is beautiful will make them insecure.

The Body Image and Self-Schema Theory can be defined as the degree of attractiveness, “…our own internal view of how we look, how we think we appear to others, and how we feel about our looks” (Thompson et al. , 1999, p. 3). People may be found attractive by others but when they look at themselves they have a negative body image. When a woman has a negative body image this is known as body image disturbance.

Body image disturbance can include affective (e. g. anxiety), cognitive (e. g. expectations), behavioural (e. g. voiding situations that expose the body), and perceptual (e. g. overestimation of one’s body size) features and its levels may range from none to extremely high with most individuals falling somewhere in the middle. (Thompson et al. , 1999, p. 7). Revlon use celebrities such as Halle Berry to sell their products and Dove, “…which pioneered the use of non-models in its Campaign for Real Beauty last year. ” (Bowery, 2005).

Dove conducted research with women aged 18-65 across 10 countries, where they found 87 percent of U. S. respondents agreed that ? Beauty can be achieved through altitude, spirit and other attributes that have nothing to do with physical appearance.? When participants were asked what factors contribute to making a woman beautiful, nine of 10 respondents attached great importance to happiness, kindness and confidence. Just 60 percent said, ? overall physical appearance? and a fewer (51 percent) did in relation to ? facial appearance? (51 percent) or ? body weight and shape? (46 percent), (Dolliver, 2004).

Furthermore, research found that 56% of women surveyed said they felt better about themselves when they saw ads featuring women with figures similar to their own, (Emma, 2004). A further 87% of respondents to AdAge. com? s poll were adamant that marketers should use more images of real women in their campaigns such as Dove. In the UK sales of doves products rose by 2. 3 million and when the campaign was launched in the United Stated sales rose by 700 percent, (Jardine, 2004).

An interview was held with Jo Swinson discussing the issues of women’s body insecurities and what can be done to help women. …We have suggested that advertisements should be more honest, and those which contain airbrushed images of people should carry a label telling people the extent to which the image has been altered ” (Swinson, 2010). This shows more companies need to take Dove’s approach to selling their products. The campaign is being driven by the political party Liberal Democrats, where they held a conference attended by politicians, modelling agencies, health experts and media figures to discuss this topic and how they will tackle the issue with body confidence. Methodology

The practical approach to methodology is to explore, describe and explain the research topic decided and theoretical is philosophical research. There are three main types of approaches to methodology. Positivism is, “…an epistemological position that advocates the application of the methods of the natural sciences to the study of social reality and beyond,” (Bryman et al, 2007: 730) Interpretivism can be defined as, “…an epistemological position that requires the social scientist to grasp the subjective meaning of social action” (Bryman et al, 2007: 728)

Realism is “…an epistemological position that acknowledges a reality independent of the senses that is accessible to the researchers tools and theoretical speculations. It implies that the categories created by scientists refer to real objects in the natural or social worlds. ” (Bryman et al, 2007: 731). Humanist Interpretation is the extreme position of how we understand things around us, (also known as phenomenology). This is the most necessary approach as phenomenology does not look at facts but as how humans understand the world, and the research is looking into how people feel and their emotions.

Methods There are four main types of methods to collect data; Participant observations, questionnaires, semi-structured interviews and focus groups. The methods most suitable to the research proposal are semi-structured interviews. Semi structured interviews are, “…non-standardised often referred as qualitative research interviews,” (King, 2004). Semi-structured interviews allow face-to-face interviews, telephone calls, and structured observations to be made with the participants.

The interviews advantages allow the interviewer and interviewee to establish a relationship with basic set questions asked and dependant on the interviewee’s emotions and what they have to say, information can be expanded and the interviewer can get first hand information and emotions of how the participant feels about the research topic. Interviews provide the highest response rate at roughly 70%.

Information will be qualitative as the participant is in control of what they have to say. Along with all methods semi-structured interviews have their disadvantages; Can be time consuming (need a smaller sample size). ? Interviewee participation may be minimal ? Costly ? Sufficient preparation is needed ? Interviewee may divert away from topic All aspects of the preparation for the interview need to be looked at such as a venue to hold interviews, over what period of time and how much it will cost. Sample To get a true picture of everyone’s opinion it is best to ask the whole population but this is not realistic as costs would be high and is not achievable to reach the whole population.

Women aged 25-50 will be sampled. The sample size is important as it determines the level of accuracy and greater the potential to study, but this depends on the budget as it can be expensive. Probability sampling or representative sampling will be used, randomly selecting how many participants to be used depending on cost, time compared to how accurate results need to be.

“ This means that it is possible to answer research questions and to achieve objectives that require you to estimate statistically the characteristics of the population from the sample. (Saunders et al, 2003: 152) Stages need to be taken firstly identifying the sampling frame based on research questions, then decide on a suitable sampling size ensuring the size represents the population. (Saunders et al, 2003: 153) Technical Research will face a few drawbacks due to technical and practical issues. There may be insufficient participants willing to take part in the interviews as they may not want to share their views, or due to time restrictions people may not be able to participate.

On the other hand people may contribute in the interviews but may withdraw their results causing further drawbacks and looking for more women to take part. Ethical Issues “…the appropriateness of your behaviour in relation to the rights of those who become the subject of your work” (Saunders et al 2007: 178) Ethical guidelines need to be considered from the SRA (Social Research Association, 2003). The aim of the SRA is “ to promote ethical practice in research by offering these guidelines as advice on best practice for individual members, employing research organisations and related professional associations.

Confidentiality and anonymity are important issues as everyone has a right to keep their anonymity, also participants need to be fully briefed with all information about the research proposal and why they are needed. Participants also have the right to withdraw their results for any reason. “ The researcher needs to consider access for this particular research. Gaining access within an organisation would be difficult because of time and required resources, also a lack of cooperation from both organisations and employees. ” (Saunders, 2007: 163).