Evaluation of the Whitlarkian method of consumer decision map creation
This research investigated the reliability and efficacy of a new method of building consumer decision maps first proposed in the literature by David Whitlark of the Marriott School of Management. Current approaches necessitate a significant amount of qualitative research, often followed by time consuming quantitative analysis of the qualitative data. The new approach starts with a small qualitative sample, but ultimately, the consumer decision map (CDM) is constructed using survey data, allowing for a significantly lower expense and greater sample sizes. This research involved three studies that explored 1) the relationship between the Whitlarkian map and a qualitative map assembled from the same study, 2) the consistency of Whitlarkian maps assembled by different researchers using the same base data, and 3) comparisons of the Whitlarkian map to machine learned networks using the same data. The results support the hypotheses that the Whitlarkian approach produces similar structures to the current gold standard qualitative approaches, remains fairly consistent across researchers given the same data set, and does well in representing the overall correlational structure of the full data set. These initial results provide supporting evidence to the usefulness, reliability and efficacy of the Whitlarkin CDM building algorithm.
Thesis (Ph.D.)-- Wichita State University, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dept. of Psychology