Posted: March 15th, 2022
complexities of doing business in our virtual age, looking in particular at e-commerce but also asking how the presence of e-commerce on the market has affected traditional businesses as well. Once upon a time – that golden age – things were simple. You decided you wanted to grow up to be a bookstore owner. Or a hardware store manager. Or a florist. So you leased a store, bought some books, and lovingly hand-sold them to each customer who flocked to your door and then went home at night to count your money.
Of course, owning a bookstore or a hardware store or a flower shop was actually never that simple. But the picture now is even more complicated as virtual stores have entered the picture. Part of what makes engaging in e-commerce so difficult is that there are no paths that others have trod before one. And the costs of making mistakes in the field can be substantial: A badly designed website can make all the difference not only for a single sale but for the entire future of a company. This dissertation examines the rhetoric if websites, arguing that creating a good website is possible for any business that takes care to attend to a set of fundamental rules of rhetoric.
This research thus examines one of the most important elements of e-commerce. We should thus perhaps begin with a definition of what e-commerce is, which is actually harder to do than one might think. While the lines between traditional (i.e. brick-and-mortar) businesses were fairly clear-cut at the beginning of the Internet revolution, they have been getting fuzzier and fuzzier ever since. For example, the Amish craftspeople working in Pennsylvania and Ohio, living modest and humble and God-centered lives, would seem to be about as far as it is possible to be removed from the dotcom world. But the Amish sell their products over the Internet, and do it professionally and efficiently. When you have the Amish entering into business that uses the electronic resources of our age and especially the Internet, then it is clear that there can no longer be traditional distinctions made between old-fashioned and up-to-the-minute technologies.
But even given the fact that nearly every business today has some elements of e-commerce in it, we may still define e-commerce to include only those businesses that rely for a significant amount of their revenues (perhaps 25%) from the Internet. It is these businesses, or rather the websites that serve as the public portal of these businesses, that are the focus of this research.
In look at the relative effectiveness of certain kinds of websites, we are also asking what sets these e-businesses apart from other types of business in terms of marketing? In some key ways less than one might think because marketing does not exist in an institutional vacuum. This is the first essential thing to remember about e-commerce: The essentials of good business practices have not changed because the Internet is now involved and the rhetoric of persuasion and information remain much the same.
The second most important issue to remember concerning e-commerce is that while managing a virtual firm is in some ways different from (and in certain ways more difficult than) managing a traditional bricks-and-mortar store, most of the fundamental skills of designing and implementing effective marketing techniques are transferable from more traditional forms of business. In whatever form of business one is in management is essentially the process of managing people, and people are relatively the same if they are working on an assembly line, at a phone back, or in the fields (http://www.interwoven.com/solutions/industry/retail.html).
But, having just made the claim that in many ways businesses virtual and real are more similar than one might initially suspect, we must now make a counterclaim, or at least a partial counterclaim, and this is our third most important point to be made about e-commerce: There are significant differences between doing virtual business and doing business the old-fashioned way and the most important differences between managing a traditional business and running a virtual one come in the arena of marketing the product or services that that company offers (www.interwoven.com).
We should perhaps here provide a basic definition of what marketing itself is, or at least how we are using the term in the context of this paper. We may consider marketing to include, in general, each and every activity that is required for and involved in getting the services or goods in question from the producer to the consumer. This sounds perhaps a little overly complicated than is necessary, but that is only because we have phrased common activities such as running ads in a daily newspaper in a somewhat abstract way.
The specific content of marketing activities has changed very dramatically over the last century – and has in fact probably changed during the last week. The very first marketing techniques were essentially mirrors of the production process itself, and might today be called transportation (of the goods from the site of manufacture to the consumer) rather than marketing proper.
Now, however, marketing is much more pervasive (indeed it seems to have achieved the level of omnipresence). Marketing forces may now well be the primary force behind a new product: In large corporations the marketing functions precede the manufacture of a product. Companies come up with an idea, do “market” research on it to determine if there might be people willing to pay for such a product, and only after they determine this to be the case does the product itself actually appear. Marketing now often occupies a substantial amount of a firm’s time and money as it has come to include all of the researching and development of new products.
This dissertation investigates the connections between the rhetorical underpinnings of website discourse and the effectiveness of getting customers to buy from those companies that rely for at least 25% of their business on websites, an investigation that will rely on both semiotic analysis as well as ethnographic methods (especially open-ended interviews) of some of the natives of this world.
Given both the globalization of the economy and increasing business dependence on e-commerce, the effectiveness of website design is a key question both for those in business and for consumers.
Marketing in its current form concentrates primarily on the consumers rather than on the production end of the process by attempting to determine their needs and desires (which are not, of course, at all the same thing) as well as by “educating” the consumers about the availability of a company’s products and the specific features of those products.
It is in this area where one of the great challenges exists for the designer of websites (and the owners of any e-commerce firm). Traditional stores have – well, they have stores. Physical structures into which people can walk to look at the merchandise. They can be cajoled in off the sidewalk by brightly lettered signs in the windows. They know to look for furniture sales at certain times of the year and for car sales at others because these events have occurred for decades. And they find themselves walking into a bookstore at the mall because of the piles of new and bright and shiny bestsellers spilling out into the window casements.
Websites have no such traditions and few of these same mechanisms to draw on in marketing his or her company’s goods or services, and no physical embodiment of the company’s goods as does a traditional store. Of course, in a blended business, the manager may well indeed have a traditional store to work out of along with his or her company’s Internet facilities, thus combining the virtues – along with the drawbacks – of both and suggesting that the future of e-commerce may well be in such hybrid forms.
Thus the e-commerce store owner may spend a great deal of time tearing out his (or her) hair over how to develop strategies to persuade consumers to buy the company’s product. This is why, at least until that late unfortunateness in the high-tech sector, the mantra of the dotcom world has been “market share, market share, market share,” which is another way of saying that the e-business owner has to fight nearly constantly to get her or his company’s name in front of the public. No product or service is so good that it sells itself. People still have to be informed that it is out there to be bought. And the tools that they have to persuade people to buy are as new as pixels and as old as human discourse.
a. Describe the Who, What Where, When, Why and How of the Problem. Be Specific! What is the problem? Why is it a Problem? Who is involved? What is the environmental context? What is the historical context of the problem? Why is it important? (Just a brief overview here but this is more fully done in a later section)? Are there policy implications? Are there practice implications?
b. Enumerate and briefly explain the research question(s) to be answered and identify the policy, practice, or theory issues to be addressed. List specifically the major research questions, and any sub-questions under each major question.
c. Describe the frame of reference & identify the theoretica1/conceptual (or other) frame of reference, which is the context of the study. Summarize the elements of the rationale for the study and its design briefly here.
d. Provide a brief overview of your date sources and data analysis plans (research design), including procedures for collecting, organizing, and analyzing the data. Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria- list specific eligibility requirements for subjects, including those criteria which would exclude otherwise acceptable subjects.
e. State your expected results – provide a brief summary of what findings are expected.
f. Fully discuss the significance/importance of the study:
1. Indicate how your research will refine, revise, or extend existing knowledge. Note that such refinements, revisions, or extensions may have both substantive and methodological significance.
2. Almost all studies have two potential audiences: practitioners and professional peers (scholars). Include statements relating the research to both groups.
3. Indicate what the research means for your institution or organization, e.g., it fits in with an institutional research program; it will contribute to renewed interest in research on the part of colleagues, etc.
4. Indicate what significance the research has in your own development.
g. Describe the scope and delimitation of your study (What will it include and why? What will be left out & why?
h. Outline the contents of the rest of the proposal.
II. SCHOLARSHIP (please write around 10 pages)
A. LITERATURE REVIEW
1. Pertinent literature, conceptual & empirical, has been reviewed.
2. If there is little or limited literature on the topic, writer has reviewed material close to the problem.
3. Literature review demonstrates sound knowledge of, synthesis of, and critical thinking about the literature.
4. Diversity issues are documented and discussed as appropriate to the study topic.
1. An epistemological position is stated and expanded upon.
2. A theoretical framework or perspective is articulated or developed and articulated.
3. Competing theories are identified and a rationale offered for the choice of the selected theory or why a new theory is being developed.
4. Strengths and weaknesses of the selected theory are identified (a critique using relevant literature).
5. The selected theory is appropriate to the research question.
6. Integration of theory and empirical data is evident in the discussion and development of the theoretical framework to be used.
C. CONTRIBUTION, ORIGINALITY
1.The researcher identifies ways the study, substantively or methodologically, will make an original contribution; how the proposed study provides, in the definition of the problem/question, the theoretical perspective, the methods to be employed some contribution that is different from previous work and distinctly reflects the researcher’s own thinking.
III. RESEARCH DESIGN (please write around 10 pages)
1. Questions are appropriate to quantitative methods and clearly flow from the literature.
2. Rationale and assumptions underlying the study are explicit.
3. Questions & sub-questions clearly articulated.
1. Design of study is clearly identified (experiment, cross-sectional survey, longitudinal survey, content analysis, secondary analysis, multi-method, etc.)
2. Design of study is appropriate to research questions/hypotheses and epistemological position.
3. Operational definitions given for all important terms and concepts in hypotheses.
4. Variables used are clearly specified (definition each variable).
5. If independent variables (treatments, interventions, and exposure to programs) are/are to be manipulated, this is clearly described.
6. If a treatment/intervention is the independent variable, there is evidence that it will be/has been delivered in a uniform, standardized way.
7. Confounding variables are identified and methods of control well described.
8. In replication studies, special attention is given to maintaining equivalent conditions for all critical variables.
9. Strengths and limitations of the design are identified and discussed. How to reduce biases (researcher bias) on data-collection method, source, analyst, or theory in the proposal to show you have good plan.
10. Describe the involvement of human subjects including initial evaluation procedures and screening tests, phases, procedures and sequence of the study.
11. Address the experience of investigators if procedures are to be performed for which the investigators have not been specifically credentialed.
12. Describe any costs related to the research procedures that are over and above those incurred by standard treatment, and indicate who will be responsible for them.
13. Analysis of the Study a.Delineate the precise outcomes (variables) to be measured.
A b.Describe how data will be analyzed, including statistical analysis.
A c.Describe methods used to estimate the required number of subjects.
1. Instruments and other measurement devices and procedures are clearly linked to each defined variable.
2. Instruments/measurement protocols are justified as appropriate for the study population (in terms of age and other diversity parameters).
3. Rationale for selection of each instrument is presented, along with supporting literature on the psychometrics of instruments, including reliability and validity.
4. Reliability and validity of standardized instruments will be or is re-established for study sample/population.
5. If instruments are used for which psychometric properties are unknown, a clear rationale for their choice is presented.
6. If original instruments or procedures are used, their development is described and justified.
7. If original scales are to be developed, a plan to establish their psychometric properties (reliability, validity) is developed. (You must describe the reliability and validity about your study. How do you build the reliability and validity about your study?)
8. Monitoring Subjects and Criteria for Withdrawal of Subjects from the Study a.Describe the types, frequency and duration of tests, admissions (inpatient) outpatient visits. Consider specifying a monitor if the study involves a blinded design.
b. Define stop points and criteria for withdrawing subjects from the study.
D. POPULATION & SAMPLE
1. If a population is used/is to be used, the rationale for its use and its parameters are clearly described.
2. If a sample is used/is to be used, the population (of people, case records, text, etc.), method of sampling and rationale for the sampling method are well described.
3. Rationale for the sample size is indicated, preferably based on a power analysis or other acceptable criterion (e.g., confidence level/confidence interval justification).
4. External validity/transferability/generalizability of the study is addressed.
5. The sampling plan is consistent with the design, method and statistical procedures to be used in the analysis.
6. Sources of and procedures for recruitment of participants are detailed.
7. Procedures to enhance response rates and participant retention in the study are specified.
8. Attrition rate is anticipated and a strategy to handle it is specified.
9. Strengths and limitations of the population/sampling strategy are identified and discussed.
E. DATA COLLECTION
1. Methods/protocols of data collection are clearly described: how data are to be collected, by whom, under what conditions are clear.
2. Methods/protocols of data collection are appropriate to the research questions and design.
3. Methods of data collection are appropriate to the participants on gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation and other diversity dimensions.
4. Pre-test/pilot test plan is adequately described and is appropriate.
5. If applicable/appropriate, pilot data results are presented.
6. Strengths and limitations of the data collection strategy are identified and discussed.
F. DATA ANALYSIS
1. The nature/approach of the data analysis is clearly described and justified.
2. Analysis is consistent with questions, hypotheses, level of variable measure, and design.
3. If assumptions of chosen statistical models are violated, protective measures are indicated.
4. Data analysis demonstrates sound knowledge of the techniques used and their alternatives.
5. Strengths and limitations of the data analysis strategy are identified and discussed.
1. Research goals are consistent with the principles of working toward improving the situation of individuals and/or groups in society.
2. If this study involves human participants, the benefits and risks are clearly identified and communicated to participants.
3. If this study involves human participants, threats to free & informed consent are addressed.
4. Confidentiality of the data is adequately ensured.
5. The researcher has made provisions to share findings with participants.
6. The research clearly can be expected to receive clearance from the IRB.
7. Ownership of the data is clear.
8. Where the data will be stored and for how long is clear.
Any factors related to participant coercion, even if unintentional, and the researcher-participant power differentials are addressed.
9.Human Subject Protections:
a.Rationale for Subject Selection:
1). Strategies/procedures for recruitment b.Evaluation of Benefits and Risks/Discomforts:
1). Potential Benefits: Describe the potential benefits to subjects or to others (benefits to society) that may reasonably be expected from the research.
2). Potential Risks: Describe any potential risks — physical, psychological, social, legal, drug toxicity or other associated with the proposed procedures and assess their likelihood and seriousness.
3). Risk/Benefit: Discuss why the risks to subjects are reasonable in relation to the anticipated benefits and in relation to the importance of the knowledge that may reasonably be expected to result. Consider the following in your discussion:
a. In research involving an intervention expected to provide direct benefit to the subject, a certain amount of risk is justifiable.
c. Adverse Event Reporting and Data Monitoring
1).Provide a plan for reporting adverse events to the IRB.
2).Describe the provisions for monitoring the data collected to ensure the safety of subjects.
d. Consent and Assent Processes and Documents
Consent Procedures: Describe the consent procedures to be followed, including the circumstances in which consent will be sought and obtained, who will seek it, the nature of the information to be provided to prospective subjects, and the method of documenting consent.
IV. Summary (Could also serve as the Abstract) (please write around 1 pages)
The final section of your dissertation proposal should provide an overview and summary of your research proposal. You should provide a summary statement of virtually every section of the proposal. The reader should be able to read the summary section and have a good understanding of what you are going to do and why.
VI.Appendix (ces)(please write around 2-3 pages)
MY ROUGH IDEA:
1.To successful launch an e-commerce Web site, the question is not just about if we build it, will they come?” But also if we build it, will they come to purchase and repeat purchase?” A scenario closer to the truth is that many online companies experience disappointment in converting consumers’ clicks into purchases. It means attracting a large number of shoppers to the site is not the only ultimate measure of success. The true measure of success should be included retaining customers and converting them into repeat buyers. Positive shopping experiences on the site can help online buyers make an effective decision. It means positive feeling is the optimal experience that consumers will desire to repeat buying online. Therefore, marketers need to create effective Web sites for winning consumer satisfaction. Since Web sites are often the main contact with consumer in the Internet market, a company’s Web site elements may include some persuasive components that has imp!
A act on consumers’ positive experience. To evaluate what visual design elements constitute the persuasive power for the customers to have positive experience on a Web site, it is expected that increased levels of the consumers’ positive experience would lead consumers to have more optimistic attitudes toward Web sites, stronger purchase intention, and loyalty. If consumers feel good,” marketers can have better chance to win the battle on an e-commerce Web site. We know shopping online is almost exclusively a visual experience; therefore, there may exist persuasive powers in the visual image of design elements in an e-commerce Web site. Little research, however, directly addresses the issue of visual design- the persuasive power on influencing online consumers’ experience of willing to purchase and loyalty.
Logo+Pathos+Ethos = Positive experience 3 Purchase intention and loyalty. (Positive experience comes from satisfied consumers)
Logo, Pathos, and Ethos. To satisfy these variables can lead to purchase intention and loyalty.
2.Independent Variable (11 independent variables):
Logo (logic): price, variety, product information, and accessibility.
Pathos (emotion):playfulness, tangibility, and empathy
Ethos (credibility):recognizability, assurance, and reliability.
Dependent Variable (2 dependent variables):
Loyalty (repeat purchase and word-of-mouth referrals)
Use online survey instrument.
Create a questionnaire to measure variables.
Create a Website, put questionnaires on it. Sent email to people who I know to announce the information. Ask them send the information to their friends also. (I am not clear about this sample selected procedure, please help me develop a better way to select sample)
Use one month to do the online survey and collect data.
The researcher will try to recruit a group of 200 subjects from Internet Web site.
Participates must have online shopping experiences to do the online survey.
Use likert scales to evaluate all the factors
3.In charter 2: LITERATURE REVIEW, I hope you can mention some theoretical background such as: rhetorical theory: three means of persuasion; customer purchase behavior; user-center designn
You also can write some different paragraphs in related literature review such as: the difference between traditional commerce and Internet commerce; the importance of visual design to an e-commerce Web site; the importance of purchase and loyalty to an e-commerce Web site; the benefits and challenge to company and consumer in the B2C commercen
(These are just my suggestions, you can add more or you can change it, if you think it is not appropriate for the future development!)
4.In charter 3: RESEARCH DESIGN, maybe you can develop a framework of persuasive Web site Design to explain and construct the whole study: (you can check the article: Pairin Katerattanakul (2002). Framework of effective web site design for business-to-consumer Internet commerce. INFOR vol.40, no.1 Feb.2002.)
My idea comes from this article and I changed it little bit. Based on the proposed definition of persuasive Web site in my proposal, my study maybe can propose three persuasive design concepts as a framework of persuasive Web site design for business-to-consumer Internet commerce: (1) Design to support consumer logos (logical) experience. (2) Design to support consumer pathos (emotional) experience. (3) Design to support consumer ethos (credibility) experience. So the outline may look like below:
Previous research on visual design, customer value, and User-center design;
Characteristics of previous researches (strengths and weakness).
2.The framework of a persuasive Web site design
Persuasive Web site: the three design concept- logos, pathos, and ethos
2.1 Research taxonomy: Framework of a persuasive Web site design for business-to-consumer Internet commerce: (1) Design to support consumer logos (logical) experience. (2) Design to support consumer pathos (emotional) experience. (3) Design to support consumer ethos (credibility) experience
3. Design to support consumer logos (logical) experience
3.1 Prices (price presentation)
3.2 Variety (product structure and display)
3.3 Product information (product information display)
3.4 Effort (Intuitiveness of navigation)
4. Design to support consumer pathos (emotional) experience
4.1 Playfulness (entertainment potential of the site)
4.2 Tangibility (sensory appeal through visual, audio or other means) (visual design)
4.3 Empathy (personalization features)
5. Design to support consumer ethos (credibility-trustworthy) experience
5.1 Recogizability (corporate image and branding)
5.2 Compatibility (community building)
5.3 Assurance (privacy and security)
5.4 Reliability (channels to customer service)
Use online survey instrument. Create a questionnaire to measure variables. Build a Website, put the questionnaire on it. Email the information to related organizations or friends.
D. Population & Sample
The population is the online shoppers.
E. Data Collection
The researcher will collect all the raw data from online survey, and then the researcher will develop a coding system to transfer all of the data to the SPSS.
The techniques for data analysis will include: descriptive statistics, regression analysis, and multiple regression analysis. http://www.interwoven.com/solutions/industry/retail.html
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