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Research Project:

An Examination of Consumer Tastes for Mined vs. Alternative Diamonds By Kelsey Judd and Kelli Barker and Liz Barrett
Problem:

There is a long standing tradition that a diamond symbolizes marriage, but as more information is exposed about the procedures of attaining diamonds, people feel conflicted. There is history of civil wars, human loss, and suffering tied into what people call blood diamonds. The industry has responded to outrage with the conflict-free diamond but so has the industry that offers diamond alternatives. Cubic Zirconia, an artificial crystal resembling a diamond in refraction, dispersion, hardness, and color, used in jewelry was introduced in 1930. Many people do not accept a CZ as an alternative to a diamond for their engagement ring but as technology is becoming more sophisticated, CZs and other stimulants are becoming more believable. So believable, that many people may be secretly passing them off to be a real diamond. As consumers may become more socially responsible, they will want conflict-free and environmentally-friendly alternatives to mined diamonds. This research will examine if there is a growing interest in diamond alternatives compared to mined diamonds.
Is the topic too broad?

The area of this research will be concentrated if people are willing to buy a diamond alternative over a mined diamond.
Can the problem really be investigated?

The problem can be investigated because most people, at some point in their lives, will be involved in the process of purchasing a diamond (or an alternative) if they have not done so already.
Can the data be analyzed?

There will be enough people to analysis to make the data adequate. Whether the subjects will answer truthfully or not could be an issue. People may not want to disclose that they would be willing to buy a diamond alternative.
Is the Problem Significant?

The results will add knowledge to information that is already available to the field. If this research can prove that many people are starting to buy alternative diamonds and passing them off as real, it could predict that the diamond industry will be hurting in the future. Companies that manufacture diamond alternatives could take this research as a green light to expand their inventory or take the plunge to use more company money and dedicate it to producing better quality stimulants.
Can the results of the study be generalized?

Since many of the participants will be students with little money, the results should only be generalized to other people in similar situations. Although not everyone purchasing a diamond or diamond alternative will be a student, many do not have adequate funds to make the expensive purchase so in that sense, the results could be generalized to populations outside of the research.
What costs and time are involved in the analysis?

The cost involved would be minimal; printing and postage costs for surveys. The time involvement would be greater because specific people would need to be located and mailed a survey.
Is the planned approach appropriate to the project?

The approach of mailing out surveys is appropriate for our project. If email surveys were to be done, people may not answer truthfully because they may feel that their identity could be revealed. With mailing back a survey, a return address will not be listed.
Is there any potential harm to the subjects?

There is no potential harm to the subjects. The research will not cause any physical or psychological harm.

Research Articles Conflict diamonds: Not so clear-cut Ivona Josipovic. Harvard International Review. Cambridge:Summer 2003. Vol. 25, Iss. 2, p. 10-12

This article is important to the research because it exploits that even though the conflict diamond trading problem has been addressed, there isnt bright hope that itll end. The diamond industry, NGOs, and the United Nations have met and have formed what is called the Kimberley Protocol which is designed to stop trade in conflict diamonds. Although it took two years to complete, the Kimberly Protocol may be insufficient to guarantee a conflict-free diamond market. The article helps the research because it demonstrates why some people may have given up on diamonds out of guilt and may turn to diamond alternatives.
Mined Diamonds Forever? The Emergence of Lab Diamonds and the Suppression of Conflict Diamonds J.D. 2008, Georgetown University Law Center. (c) 2008, Kori Kelley.

This article is excellent for the research because it addresses that the lab diamond industry is having higher demand due to consumers becoming more socially responsible. People want conflict-free and environmentally-friendly alternatives to mined diamonds. It discusses the possibility of the natural diamond industry hurting financially due to labproduced diamonds.
Research Question

Would United States consumers ages 25-35 rather buy diamond alternatives instead of mined diamonds because of social responsibility, lower prices, and the believability of a diamond alternative? Operational Definitions Social responsibility- When someones conscience is clear that the diamond or diamond alternative doesn't involve any actions that harm the environment or exploit the people around it. Believability- When the diamond alternative's brilliance and sparkle are the same as premium quality diamonds and no one can tell difference. Diamond alternative- A diamond alternative imitates the appearance of a real diamond. It can be a stone with a different chemical makeup such as Moissanite and it can also be completely synthetic like lab grown "diamonds" or in other words, cubic zirconium.

Media Research Methods Project Specifics - Part 2


From page 14 in your text, please have steps 1 through 8 completed. Please place your project in a 3-ring binder! Remember: You will need three secondary sources that will help you with your research. Please state specifically how these secondary sources relate to your design. You will also need to create a survey for your research. This section is done -Kelsey Judd 6/19/10 10:56 AM (1) You completed steps 1-3 for mid-term. Make sure you include these stepswith my comments on your designwhen you submit this project for final evaluation. Correct the areas that I discussed on your papers and any other corrections you feel would make your project viable. (2) Continue on with your design with Step 4 from page 14, Determine an appropriate methodology/research design. Explain the following areas. If you determine a particular area/question is not relevant to your design, please indicate why it is not relevant. Double space your copy: 1. Explain in detail what/who constitutes your total population. United States men and women ages 25-35 How will you get a list of your total population? The list of our population would be obtained through the census Ask teacher if people have to pay census to obtain list so we can include in budget -Kelsey Judd 6/19/10 11:20 AM Will you utilize a census of your population? Or, will you utilize sampling? Census- Aren't we sampling from the census? So we should put we are utilizing sampling? Ask teacher-Elizabeth Barrett 6/22/10 5:54 PM What type of sampling will you use? Systematic Random Sampling Found on p.93 -Kelsey Judd 6/19/10 11:25 AM

Will it be probability or non-probability sampling? Probability sampling Can you compute your sampling error? Yes 2. Will you use qualitative or quantitative (or both) research? Quantitative A. What type of qualitative/quantitative research will you use? Mail survey Found on p. 50 -Kelsey Judd 6/19/10 11:27 AM 3. Explain how you will ensure internal validity. Ask teacher how we will ensure internal validity b/c "history" will be a artifact in our research. Found on p. 27 -Kelsey Judd 6/19/10 11:31 AM 4. Explain how you will ensure your research is externally valid. page 32 -Elizabeth Barrett 6/19/10 11:33 AM To ensure external validity we will use random sampling, repeat the study several times and we will also select samples from our target population. Add multiple studies to budget-Elizabeth Barrett 6/19/10 11:36 AM 5. Will you use an experiment? What will be your independent and dependent variables? What type of manipulation will you use? I don't know if this is the type of experiment it is asking for but I was thinking an experiment where we have two diamonds, a natural diamond and a synthetic diamond. We would ask or survey all the participants about their opinion of natural versus synthetic diamonds and if they would consider buying a synthetic diamond. Then we would have participants, ages 25-35 look at the diamonds and try to figure out which is the natural diamond. After this experiement we could see if their opinion changed. Need to define the independent, dependent, and manipulation -Kelsey Judd 6/24/10 4:43 PM 6. Explain what measurement levels (nominal, ordinal, interval, ratio) you will use. Give specific examples. We would use interval level to measure the opinions before and after of probablility of buying a synthetic diamond as opposed to a natural diamond. Is interval right? -Kelli Barker 6/22/10 10:39 AM Found on page 54-Kelli Barker 6/22/10 10:49 AM 7. Explain how you will ensure that all who participate in your research project will adhere to ethical standards. Are there any potential ethical problems? To ensure ethical standards we will ensure that participants are fully aware of our study and what we are trying to accomplish. We will ensure confidentiality in our survey research and also ensure we do not lie to participants. I do not see any potential ethical problems as long as we are honest with participants and do not use their information in any ways other than what we specified with them. 8. Will you utilize longitudinal research? Content analysis? Yes we will utilize longitudinal research, specifically a Panel Study. This will be the most effective because we will get our participants opinions before and after. 9. Explain what basic statistical procedures will be required to complete your research.

For basic statistical procedures we will be required to use parametric statistics because we are generalizing our findings to the population. Basic stats info can be found starting on page 294, I am not sure which of these parametric methods we should be utilizing.Elizabeth Barrett 6/22/10 6:10 PM (3) Continue on with step 5, Collect relevant data. Please type and have included your survey as if it were ready to be completed by your respondents. 1. Explain how you will gather your survey data. For the experiment, data will be collected through interviews. For the surveys it will be survey research. The survey research we will be utilizing is mail surveys, which we will include first class return postage and envelops to have higher survey response rates. Found on p.139 -Kelsey Judd 6/24/10 4:46 PM 2. How will you increase your response rate? We will increase the survey response rate we will offer the incentive that one responder will receive a .5 ct diamond and one responder will receive a .5 ct diamond alternative Add this incentive into budget -Kelsey Judd 6/24/10 4:51 PM Are you saying that every other person will be getting .5 carat diamond? That could get expensive fast. One idea that we could do would be to have a handful of real .5 carat diamonds that go out with a bunch of diamond alternatives. We would say in our intro letter that their diamond could be real- all they have to do is return the survey which would have a number on it. That number could indicate if we included a real diamond or a diamond alternative -Elizabeth Barrett 6/29/10 10:31 AM (4) Step 6, Explain how you will analyze and interpret your results. ? 1. Can you utilize a computer file for entering your data? How will that be done? We will categorize our results in Microsoft Excel (5) Step 7, Explain how you will present the results in an appropriate form. 1. Indicate how you will present the results. Will you use charts or graphs? Both 2. Will you publish your results? If you publish, where will the report be published? Yeah of course it'll get published, who do you think I am? Probably in the Business Wire and the Economist 3. If using scales, what type of scale(s) will you use? (6) Step 8, Will the study need to be replicated? Why/why not? The study will need to be replicated to ensure accuracy in the findings. We plan to replicate the study once more after the initial surveying is done. 1. Explain how this research will benefit other professionals in your field of study. This research will benefit other professionals such as jewelers who are interested in the consumers stance on diamonds versus cubic zirconia. Other professionals you can think of? Will this benefit other researchers?-Elizabeth Barrett 6/29/10 10:27 AM 2. Could other professionals utilize your research to assist them in future research projects? Yes. Our research will be thorough and provide a solid base for other researchers to use on their future research projects. (7) Please have a detailed estimate of how much this research project will cost. See pages 34-38 for CPI to help you determine some of the costs. Compute CPI, if appropriate.