MKT 804 Theory Development and Model Building

This course teaches students how to develop and test theories in an applied and concrete way. We discuss and study different research approaches and methods, including structural equation modeling. This course provides students with an opportunity to develop and to fine-tune appropriate and specific theories for their own research. Students come up and choose a specific topic of their interest at the beginning of the class and develop and present a theoretical framework suitable for their project. The course is also geared towards designing means to test the proposed theory. Another key learning outcome is to enhance students’ ability to conduct empirical research in a scale development exercise.

Learning goals

  • Learn how to generate ideas, define concepts, and clarify relationships between concepts.
  • Explore the process of theory construction and theory testing using the structural equation modeling (SEM) framework.
  • Identify and explore substantive theoretical contributions to the literature and present these in class.
  • Exercise and extend analytical skills in order to conduct sound academic research (using R).

Seminar organization

The course will consist of assigned reading material, lectures, student presentations, discussions, and hands-on exercises. Lectures will be intended to elaborate points that might be difficult to glean from readings and to stimulate discussion. Participants will be responsible for reading and analyzing course readings prior to class, presenting the assigned material, leading discussions on this material, and contributing additional relevant material on topics covered. The success of the course is heavily dependent on all participants having relatively equal levels of knowledge about each topic. It is important, thus, that all participants read the material in advance of each class session.

Course requirements & evaluation

Students have to complete the following requirements:

  1. Presentation of own research 30%
  2. Presentation of readings 30%
  3. Project work 40%

Presentation of own research

Students will present a marketing and management related phenomenon and must include the development of a theoretical framework. The theoretical framework can be original but should be grounded in, or at least linked to, existing theories and models. It is intended to have a short PowerPoint presentation of 10 minutes (per student) which will be followed by a question and answer session of approximately 10 minutes (per student).

Presenters are responsible for:

In order to introduce your project to the class send one slide (.ppt file) with a brief introduction of your research (research idea, key concepts/constructs, theoretical framework) to You will present your introduction of your research in the first session of the course.

Your grade for the presentation of your own research is based on:

  • your ability to deliver a targeted presentation of the theoretical framework in question and a literature review
  • your ability to bring in your interpretation of the literature relative to the relevant theoretical framework
  • the quality of the classroom experience for the other students
  • and the quality of the presentation slides (I will provide the presenters’ slides as hand-out for the audience).

Dates and Times:

After the kick-off session, the course will be taught in six consecutive weeks in single sessions. The specific dates will be announced here.

Presentation of readings

In pairs of two, I ask students to prepare and present the assigned readings in class. The presentation should take not more than 15 minutes. Please send the presentation (.ppt file) to one day prior to your scheduled presentation. The readings will be allocated after the kick-off.

Presenters are responsible for:

  1. presenting the assigned readings for their session
  2. critically evaluating the assigned readings and relating it to the context of the course

Your grade for in-class presentation of assigned readings is based on:

  • the quality of the classroom experience for the other students
  • the quality of the presentation slides
  • and the student’s ability of critical reflection.

I will provide the presenters’ slides as hand-out for the audience.

Project work

Each student has to develop a reflective measurement scale as an individual assignment. Students will prepare a written report describing their research approach and the R code for their statistical analysis.

The project is expected to contain the following components:

  1. construct specification
  2. item generation
  3. measurement purification
  4. construct validity assessment

Your grade of your project depends on:

  • the clarity of the construct specification
  • accuracy and comprehensibility of the argument (e.g., item exclusion, model identification)
  • coherence and rigor of statistical analyses
  • comprehensiveness of comments in the R-code (can a third person easily comprehend your R-code?)

Please make sure that your R-code can be executed smoothly and send an R-file (.R), the corresponding dataset as well as the written report of 2 pages max. to