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Areas of Application


In addition to the core classes in methodology, students in the GSR are required to choose an area of applied research in which to focus their studies. Students take at least two electives in their chosen area, followed by a research internship appropriate to their areas of study.

The program offers four broad areas of application:

Market Research and Consumer Behavior
Internship Advisor: Professor Michael Wood
Telephone: (212) 772-5572

Media Research Analysis
Internship Advisor: Professor Mike Owen Benediktsson
Telephone: (212) 772-5647

Research and Policy Analysis in the Public and Nonprofit Sector
Internship Advisor: TBA (see Prof. Lune)

Research and Training in International Development
Internship Advisor: Professor Marnia Lazreg
Telephone: (212) 772-5570

Other Research and Evaluation Courses
Internship Advisor: See Program Director
In addition to these areas, students can arrange to build a customized area corresponding to a faculty member's area of expertise. 


Market Research and Consumer Behavior

Courses Offered

  • GSR 722 Consumer Behavior Cultural, social, and psychological influences on consumer decision-making and consumer satisfaction; rhetoric and persuasion, attitude change; consumption
  • GSR 723 Nonprofit and Social Marketing Prereq: GSR 721 or perm.instr. Marketing and marketing research applied to non-business organizations; marketing for nonprofit organizations, marketing for social and public causes; macromarketing issues and planned social change.


Marketing has been defined as "the effective management by an organization of its exchange relations with its various consumers and publics." Marketing means the planning and execution of an integrated set of activities, carried out in observance of the wants and demands of consumers: the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods and services. Marketing is not confined to the realm of business and business organizations but applies to as well to nonprofit, social, political and community organizations such as colleges, hospitals, symphonies, museums, parks, and social movement organizations.

Marketing research means the systematic gathering, recording and analyzing of information about the external and internal environments of organizations in order to guide decision making and to achieve organizational goals. Marketing research entails, fundamentally, identifying the wants and needs of consumers. In the case of nonprofit organizations donor and other publics may be included in the research effort.

Most social research undertaken to inform marketing decisions is one of two types: sample surveys and focus groups (unstructured group interviews). Although a majority of the leading consumer goods companies in the US have established their own formal marketing research departments, nearly two-thirds of total expenditures for marketing research go to independent companies specializing in research services. Marketing research companies range from full-service suppliers that take a project all the way from conceptualization of the problem to data analysis and conclusions, to syndicated services that provide a standardized set of data on a regular basis, and limited-service suppliers that specialize in particular research tasks (e.g. focus groups). Apart from the scope of research firms, there is also industry or topic specialization. For example, some firms specialize in political polls and various types of opinion surveys used in political campaign and public relations.


An important part of the training is the internship experience which normally consists of a full-time work placement for at least one semester (15 weeks). GSR students have served as interns in companies such as Prudential-Bache, Audits and Surveys. Trans-World Airlines, Research and Forecasts, the Newspaper Advertising Bureau and the American Savings Bank. The internship, in addition to being an irreplaceable source of experience and practical skills, can lead to permanent employment in the host firm. Students wishing to serve as an intern in a marketing oriented position should consult the marketing research & consumer behavior internship advisor, and the Internship Guidelines.


Students who want to specialize in marketing research and consumer behavior should:

  • If majoring in sociology, take a minor in psychology, economics, or communications.
  • Join professional associations such as the American Marketing Association, American Association for Public Opinion Research, and The Advertising Research Foundation. Membership in the New York Chapter of the American Association for Public Opinion Research is especially recommended. The New York Chapter of AAPOR conducts monthly seminars and workshops of interest to the professional research community.
  • Actively attend the research colloquia meetings of the GSR Program.
  • Follow trade periodicals such as Advertising Age and Marketing News.


Media Research Analysis

Courses Offered

  • GSR 731 Television Programming and Audiences Socioeconomic analysis of television programming and the various audiences served, including the cable universe; review of relevant theoretical approaches, research methods and audience data, patterns of television consumption.
  • GSR 732 Motion Pictures Analysis of contemporary American motion picture industry: social structure of production, product analysis, audience appeal and marketing; review of relevant theoretical approaches and current research.
  • GSR 733 The New Electronic Media and Information Markets Investigation of new media and information technologies and the markets they create (optical fibers, high definition TV, home video, DBS, etc.); relation between these media and markets and the class structure; analysis of the consumptive and pragmatic use of information.
  • GSR 734 Development Media Electronic media use in developing countries with emphasis on television and developmental applications; policy and research issues; case studies (TELEVISA, ARABSAT, SITE, etc.)

Students can take graduate courses in the Department of Communications provided they are directly related to media analysis and research.


Media Research involves quantitative and qualitative analysis covering the print and electronic media as oriented to the general public or specific target audiences. It encompasses areas as diverse as the rating of television programs, markets for Direct Broadcast Satellite systems or Low Power Television Stations, impact of new distribution and production technologies, marketing strategies for motion pictures, and the concept testing of ideas for movies and television programs.

Among the many methodologies applied are content analysis, geo-demographic research, formative research, people meters, focus groups and concept testing. Depending on the research executed, media analysis assumes, but is not restricted to, knowledge of SPSS, SAS, multivariate regression analysis, and database use. Most importantly, it requires the ability to conceptualize research problems, to provide pragmatic insights and the command of qualitative research approaches.

It is taken for granted that media researchers have substantive knowledge about print, traditional and new electronic media, are able to write concise reports and to make clear oral presentations and can sustain work in a high pressure environment.

Given the close link between media research and marketing, programming, sales, media analysts and researchers can readily transfer to other areas in the media industry.

Students and graduates from the Graduate Research Program who specialized in media analysis have held positions with e.g. NBC News Research (Consultant), The Newspaper Advertising Bureau (Research Analyst), the Children's Television Workshop (Field Research Coordinator), Information and Analysis (Senior Project Director), Independent Television Sales, Inc. (Junior Analyst), Hecht, Gray and Assoc. Consultant. They have also worked as consultants and freelance writers, and obtained fellowships for Ph.D.programs.

Research approaches emphasized in media analysis seminar are not covered in other program courses or workshops. Each media seminar incorporates lectures by professionals from the industry and field trips. Presentations have covered "Financing Movies" (J.Griffiths, Manager, Film programming, HBO); "Marketing Movies" (D. Rosenfeld, VP Media Tristar Pictures); "Alternatives to Nielsen & Arbitron" (N. Hecht & Staff, President & Senior Executives, AGB Television Research, Unc.); "On the Use of Focus Groups" (S. Seidmon, Director of Research, MTV Networks, Inc.); "Videotex Research" (Trintex, Inc.) ; "Magazine Research" (T. Wilsdon, Field Research Coordinator, CTW); "Development Media and the United Nations" (T. Congo-Doudou, UN Radio and Visual Services), etc. All students specializing in media analysis are trained in oral presentation skills . Provided funding is available, these sessions are carried out in each seminar by Corporate Communication Skills, Inc. Further, field trips are arranged to events such as the Atlantic City Cable Show, as is training in the operation of video equipment.


Students who want to specialize in media research should follow these recommendations:

  • If majoring in sociology, take a minor in communications, computer science, or economics.
  • Take the media analysis seminars in sequence and review carefully the research papers written by media students for preceding seminars (on file in Wl634).
  • Join professional associations such as the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the American Marketing Association, The Association of Independent Video and Film Makers, Independent Feature Project, etc., and participate in their activities.
  • Attend the GSR research colloquia, as well as presentations given by outside speakers in the media seminars.
  • Follow the trade press on a regular basis (Variety, Multi Channel News, Cable Vision, etc.).

Provided you plan your career in advance, gain professional exposure in the media research setting, and deliver a superior performance in the Graduate Research Program, you will have no problem finding a professional position in media/marketing research.


Research and Policy Analysis in the Public and Nonprofit Sector

Courses Offered

  • GSR 741 Social Policy and Planning Critical theory application to relation between state and economic structures; processes of legitimization, exclusion, problems, solutions and management of political discourse; review of relevant theoretical and empirical data.
  • GSR 742 Public Policy Analysis Policy analysis as guided by major socio-economic theoretical frameworks as distinct from traditional policy analysis omitting comprehensive theory. Review of policy impacts such use of theory reveals. Case study of Great Society program from the perspective of cultural theory of poverty, supply side-theory, pluralist theory and critical theory of J. Habermas.
  • GSR 746 Formal Organizations and Bureaucracy This course treats organizations as open systems situated in supply, regulatory, client and market environments that affect their decisions and options. Various internal aspects of organizations--goals, structures, technologies, cultures and leadership styles--are evaluated. Similarities and differences among organizations in the public, profit-making, and not-for-profit sectors are addressed through the use of case studies.

Students can also take graduate courses offered by Hunter's Department of Urban Affairs, and the School of Public Policy at Baruch College, as well as courses at the CUNY Graduate Center.


This area includes research and social policy analysis in the public and voluntary non-profit sector. Organizations in these two sectors are largely charged with educational, religious and "welfare state" functions of the society and so are qualitatively different in many ways from the profit oriented business sector. In recent years, however, this distinction has become blurred as the profit-oriented sectors have taken on more of the welfare functions of the society and social policy analysis may now be carried out in all sectors of the society.

While it is impossible to be exhaustive as to the types of research that is carried out buy the public and non-profit organizations, the following should give some idea of the range of opportunities.

Administrative Research

Program accounting and systems analysis This type of research keeps track of the usual activities of an organization, including the number and kind of services given and the people served as a way of monitoring the whole range of its activities, as well as to help detect problems in program operations. In general, this type of research gives baseline data to help administrators make general operating decisions. Most permanent positions in public and non-profit organizations are likely to be in this area.

Program Evaluation research is usually directed toward measuring the effectiveness of a particular project or program compared to alter- native programs; however, the term "evaluation research" can be extended to include the assessment of program effectiveness in general against some established standard.

Special Studies From time to time, organizations may conduct special studies for example, of internal operations morale, employee problems, and the like. Sometimes these are done "in house;" at other times, the research may be done by a consultant.

Policy Studies Policies and their relation to various states (welfare, social security) and ideologies (socialist, liberal, conservative) are at the center of social policy analysis as is the consideration of the consequences of social policy research. More specific studies can cover policies with respect to health and aging, or the political economy of changing social welfare concepts, program and their implementations. Such research strategies come to terms in a serious and often critical manner with the restructuring and questioning of the quality of life in advanced industrial society.

Impact Studies Impact studies are primarily directed to the external environment of an organization. This includes research on the external environment of an organization. This includes research on the characteristics of present and future clients, the response to new client needs and an analysis of the effects of its policies on the community at large.

Developmental Research Less common now than in the past when funding for research was more widely available, a considerable amount of research is still conducted in the non-profit sector. This type of research is primarily directed toward the development of new knowledge or to knowledge which will be useful, at some time in the future but is not necessarily applicable to current operating decisions.

Types of Positions

Regular staff positions are likely to focus on administrative research; other types of research are related to particular projects. These positions are funded by special time-limited grants so that long term employment is now assured. Incidentally, because so many non-profit organizations are highly dependent upon foundation and government grants for their support, successfully proposal writing is a skill in high demand.

Graduates of the GSR Program have found employment in various agencies of the city and state government, including the Human Resources Administration, Department of Substance Abuse, and the Department of Corrections; in the Metropolitan Transit Authority; the Brookdale Center on the Aging; Bloomfield State College; the Urban League; the National Coalition for the Homeless; and the Puerto Rican Family Institute, among other agencies.


Research in International Development

Courses Offered

  • GSR 734 Electronic Media in Developing Countries Electronic media use in developing countries with emphasis on television and developmental applications; policy and research issues; role of social marketing (the TELEVISA model); the international digital divide, and related issues.
  • GSR 761 Development Theories and Practices History of the evolution of theories of development and analysis of their application to postcolonial societies from 1945 to 1989; assessment of development practices and their implications for poverty alleviation and social change; analysis of the conditions under which development aid is provided and its impact on a sample of countries from Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
  • GSR 762 Rethinking Development in the Global Era Critical analysis of the shift from the old development discourse to a new one centered on "postdevelopment" or the "global" economy; identification of the ways in which developing societies attempt to integrate themselves into the global economy; assessment of the cultural, social and political impacts of the switch from socialist or mixed economies to market economies; analysis of the role of IMF, the World Bank, and world trade agreements in reshaping developing societies. Methodologies of social development, conflict resolution, legal reform and poverty alleviation used in aid organizations.
  • GSR 763 International Development Practicum Structures and functions of international aid organizations. Training in program/project analysis; training in gender and development; advocacy for a number of development issues as well as governance.
  • GSR 790.75 Special Topics: Social Development, Evaluation, and Assessment This course is especially designed to equip students with a range of skills required in development work as it takes place in international organizations and agencies. It addresses social development from the standpoint of development practitioners. It focuses on: the relationship between social and economic development; methods of policy analysis and assessment developed by organizations such as the United Nations Development Project; and an introduction to the phases of development including project design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and report writing. 

Other Research and Evaluation Courses

Courses Offered

  • GSR 752 Focus Group Research Theory and application of focus group research. Methodological procedures, conceptualization of research problem, organization of group, listening and probing techniques, analysis of verbal and nonverbal data, report writing.
  • GSR 753 Critical Analysis of Higher Education Introductory research seminar focusing on problems of higher education in the US. Case studies, policy problems, and basic theoretical and research issues.
  • GSR 767 Interpersonal Process in Organizations Analysis of social relations in organizations; interpersonal processes in management, conflict negotiations, and interdepartmental relations.
  • GSR 790 Special Topics Seminar Recent special topics courses include: Health Policy, The Demography of Social Policy, Family Policy, and Industrial Policy Analysis: Germany and Japan.
  • GSR 791 Independent Research Execution, under faculty supervision, of an individual research project based on a written proposal. With appropriate approval, may be taken up to 3 times.
  • COURSES IN OTHER DEPARTMENTS In addition to the Social Research Courses listed above, with approval students may take graduate courses in other departments, including Urban Affairs and Planning and Statistics at Hunter College, the School of Public Policy and the Department of Marketing at Baruch College, and courses in the Ph.D. Sociology program at the CUNY Graduate Center.

Customized Areas of Applied Research

In order to meet the interests of those students who wish to specialize in a substantive area not covered by the graduate program's areas of specialization in marketing; media and policy analysis; or who desire greater flexibility in their course of studies, the graduate program offers the choice of 'Customized Areas of Specialization.'

Students can elect a specialized area provided that a graduate faculty member who has expertise in that area agrees to supervise the student throughout the course of studies and internship. A program of studies would be designed consisting of graduate level elective courses and seminars offered by graduate programs at Hunter College and other units of the City University of New York, especially the Graduate Center. For more information please contact the program office.

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