Attribute Elicitation: Implications in the Research Context<sup>1</sup>


  • Jason P. Brandt
  • Steven R. Shook


Attribute elicitation, cognition, consumer perception, marketing research


Three different methods of attribute elicitation for two different paper-based products were compared in this study. The three methods used were free elicitation (FE), hierarchical dichotomization (HD), and Kelly's repertory grid (RG). The two paper-based products used in this study were bathroom tissue and paper towels. The methods were compared by abstraction, efficiency in data collection, convergent validity, and respondents' reaction to the task. The results from this comparison indicated that the level of abstraction did not significantly differ between methods or products. However, a rank order analysis revealed that a substantial difference existed with 18 to 20% of the attributes being rated significantly different between the elicitation methods for paper towels and bathroom tissue, respectively. Convergent validity was exhibited between all the methods, although was found to be highest between HD and RG. These findings suggest that all three elicitation methods elicit very similar information from the consumers' knowledge base. The efficiency in data collection revealed that for both products FE took significantly less time to complete the task, as well as to elicit the individual attributes. Furthermore, HD was identified as being the least efficient of the methods for either product. For the comparison of the reaction to task, FE was found to be the least difficult of the three methods and also allowed the respondents to more freely express their opinion.


Aaker, D. A. 1991. Managing brand equity: Capitalizing on the value of a brand name. Free Press, New York, NY. 299 pp.nAgresti, A. 1990. Catagorical data analysis. John Wiley & Sons, New York, NY. 558 pp.nAhlberg, J., W. E. Hoover, H. de Mora, H. Naucler, and T. Naucler. 1995. Pricing commodities: What you see is not what you get. McKinsey Quarterly 3:66-77.nAlba, J. W., and A. Chattopadhyay. 1985. The effects of context and part-category cues on the recall of competing brands. J. Marketing Res. 22(3):340-349.nArmacost, R. L., and J. C. Hosseini. 1994. Identification of determinate attributes using the analytic hierarchy process. J. Academy Marketing Sci. 22(4):383-392.nBannister, D. 1962. Personal construct theory: A summary and experimental paradigm. Acta Psychologica 20(2):104-120.nBigsby, H., and L. K. Ozanne. 2002. The purchase decision: Consumers and environmentally certified wood products. Forest Prod. J. 52(7/8):100-105.nBlomgren, G. W. 1965. The psychological image of wood. Forest Prod. J. 15(4):149-151.nBright, K. D., and P. M. Smith. 2002. Perceptions of new and established waterfront materials by U.S. marine decision makers. Wood Fiber Sci. 34(2):186-204.nBush, R. J., S. A. Sinclair, and P. A. Araman. 1991. Determinant product and supplier attributes in domestic markets for hardwood lumber. Forest Prod. J. 41(1):33-40.nCaldwell, N. 2002. (Rethinking) the measurement of service quality in museums and galleries. Int. J. Nonprofit & Voluntary Sector Marketing 7(2):161-171.nChurchill, G. A., Jr. 1979. A paradigm for developing better measures of marketing constructs. J. Marketing Res. 16(1):64-73.nCohen, D. H., and C. Gaston. 2003. The use of engineered wood products in traditional Japanese wood house construction. Wood Fiber Sci. 35(1):102-109.nCooper, R. J., and S. Kalafatis. 1984. Changes in attitudes to solid timber species: A test of some promotional elements. Can. J. Forest Res. 14(1):22-26.nCoxon, A. P. M. 1982. The user's guide to multidimensional scaling: With special reference to the MDS(X) library of computer programs. Heinemann Educational Books, Exeter, NH. 271 pp.nCravens, D., G. Hills, and R. Woodruff. 1987. Marketing management. Irwin, Inc., Homewood, IL. 714 pp.nCrittenden, V. L., W. F. Crittenden, and D. F. Muzyka. 2002. Segmenting the business-to-business marketplace by product attributes and the decision process. J. Strategic Marketing 10(1):3-20.nDay, G. S. 1975. The threats to marketing research. J. Marketing Res. 22(12):462-467.nDonovan, R. J., and G. Jalleh. 1999. Positively versus negatively framed product attributes: The influence of involvement. Psychology and Marketing 16(7):613-630.nEastin, I. L., D. D. Simon, and S. R. Shook. 1996. Softwood substitution in the residential construction Industry. Center for International Trade in Forest Products (CINTRAFOR) Working Paper No. 57. CINTRAFOR, Seattle, WA. 54 pp.nEastin, I. L., C. L. Lane, R. D. Fight, and J. Barbour. 1998. An assessment of the industrial markets for softwood clearwood lumber. Forest Prod. J. 48(11):48-54.nEastin, I. L., S. R. Shook, and D. D. Simon. 1999. Softwood lumber substitution in the U.S. residential construction industry. Forest Prod. J. 49(5):21-27.nEastin, I. L., S. J. Fleishman, and S. R. Shook. 2000. Change of plans: Material substitution in the residential construction industry. Engineered Wood J. 3(2):34, 35, and 37.nEvans, R. H., and N. R. Smith. 1968. Exploratory study in consumer behavior. Forest Prod. J. 18(1):15-18.nFleishman, S. J., I. L. Eastin, and S. R. Shook. 2000. Material substitution in the U.S. residential construction industry, 1995-1998. Center for International Trade in Forest Products (CINTRAFOR) Working Paper 73. CINTRAFOR, Seattle, WA. 76 pp.nForbes, C. L. 1998. Hardwood plywood product and service attributes important to North American hardwood plywood distributors. Forest Prod. J. 48(6):23-27.nForbes, C. L., S. A. Sinclair, R. J. Bush, and P. A. Araman. 1994. Influence of product and supplier attributes on hardwood lumber purchase decisions in the furniture industry. Forest Prod. J. 44(2):51-56.nForbes, C. L., L. Jahn, and P. A. Araman. 2001a. An investigation of hardwood plywood markets. Part 1. Architectural woodworkers. Forest Prod. J. 51(3):17-24.nForbes, C. L., L. Jahn, and P. A. Araman. 2001b. An investigation of hardwood plywood markets. Part 2. Fixture manufacturers. Forest Prod. J. 51(6):25-31.nForsyth, K., D. Haley, and R. Kozak. 1999. Will consumers pay more for certified wood products. J. Forestry 97(2):18-22.nGuerin, J. M., and R. W. Rice. 1998. Product and supplier factors affecting the purchasing of U.S. wood products in the United Kingdom. Forest Prod. J. 48(5):28-36.nHoek, J., J. Dunnett, M. Wright, and P. Gendall. 2000. Descriptive and evaluative attributes: What relevance to marketers? J. Prod. and Brand Management 9(6):415-435.nIdassi, J. O., T. M. Young, P. M. Winistorfer, D. M. Ostermeier, and R. B. Woodruff. 1994. A customer-oriented marketing method for hardwood lumber companies. Forest Prod. J. 44(7):67-73.nJacoby, J. 1978. Consumer research: A state of the art review. J. Marketing 42:87-96.nJohnson, R. E. 1970. Recall of prose as a function of the structural importance of the linguistic unit. J. Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior 9(1):12-20.nJohnson, M. D., and C. Fornell. 1987. The nature and methodological implications of the cognitive representations of products. J. Consumer Res. 14(9):214-228.nKarki, T. 2000. Species, furniture type, and market factors influencing furniture sales in Southern Germany. Forest Prod. J. 50(4):85-90.nKanwar, R., J. C. Olson, and L. S. Sims. 1981. Toward conceptualizing and measuring cognitive structures. Advances in Consumer Res. 8:122-127.nKelly, G. A. 1963. Theory of personality: The psychology of personal constructs. W. W. Norton & Company, New York, NY. 190 pp.nKotler, P. 1991. Marketing management: Analysis, planning, implementation, and control. 7th ed. Prentice Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, NJ. 756 pp.nLefkoff-Hagius, R., and C. H. Mason. 1993. Characteristic, beneficial, and image attributes in consumer judgments of similarity and oreference. J. Consumer Res. 20(6):100-110.nLevitt, T. 1986. The marketing imagination. Free Press, New York, NY. 238 pp.nLichtenstein, E. H., and W. F. Brewer. 1980. Memory for goal-directed events. Cognitive Psychology 12(3):412-445.nMainieri, T., E. G. Barnett, T. R. Valdero, J. B. Unipan, and S. Oskamp. 1997. Green buying: The influence of environmental concern on consumer behavior. J. Social Psychology 137(2):189-204.nMarsden, D., and D. Little. 2000. Repertory grid technique: An interpretive research framework. European J. Marketing 34(7):816-834.nMcDaniel, S. W., P. Verille, and C. S. Madden. 1985. The threats to marketing research: An empirical reappraisal. J. Marketing Res. 22(1):74-80.nMyers, J. H. 1996. Segmentation and positioning for strategic marketing decisions. American Marketing Association, Chicago, IL. 358 pp.nMyers, J. H., and M. I. Alpert. 1968. Determinant buying attitudes: Meaning and measurement. J. Marketing 32(4):13-20.nMyers, J. H., and A. D. Shocker. 1981. The nature of product-related attributes. Res. in Marketing 5:211-236.nOlson, J. C., and A. Muderrisoglu. 1979. The stability of responses obtained by free elicitation: Implications for measuring attribute salience and memory structure. Advances in Consumer Res. 6:45-51.nOzanne, L. K., and P. M. Smith. 1996. Consumer segments for environmentally marketed wooden household furniture. Wood Fiber Sci. 28(4):461-477.nPakarinen, T. 1999. Success factors of wood as a furniture material. Forest Prod. J. 49(9):79-85.nRangan, K., B. Shapiro, and R. Moriarty, Jr. 1995. Business marketing strategy: Cases, concepts, and applications. Irwin, Inc., Homewood, IL. 850 pp.nReddy, V. S., and R. J. Bush. 1998. Measuring softwood lumber value: A conjoint analysis approach. Forest Sci. 44(1):145-157.nReddy, V. S., and R. Roudik. 1995. A market-oriented approach to maximizing product benefits: Cases in U.S. forest products industries. Pages 19-38 in Environmental issues and market orientation: Current topics in forest products marketing. Publication No. 4. University of Helsinki, Department of Forest Economics, Helsinki, Finland.nRidoutt, B. G., R. D. Ball, and S. K. Killerby. 2002. Wood in the interior office environment: Effects on interpersonal perception. Forest Prod. J. 52(9):23-30.nRobertson, T. S., and H. H. Kassarjian. 1991. Handbook of consumer behavior. Prentice Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, NJ. 614 pp.nSchiffman, L., and L. Kanuk. 1994. Consumer behavior. 5th ed. Prentice Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, NJ. 684 pp.nSeward, K. E., and S. A. Sinclair. 1988. Retailers' perceptions of structural panel attributes and market segments. Forest Prod. J. 38(4):25-31.nShook, S. R. 1999. Profile of the Pacific Coast manufactured firelog market. Forest Prod. J. 49(11):35-44.nShook, S. R. 2000. Market dynamics and competitive position of wood fiber-cement siding products. Pages 258-274 in A. Moslemi, ed. Inorganic-bonded wood and fiber composite materials, volume 7. University of Idaho, Sun Valley, ID.nShook, S. R. 2001. Will lumber substitutes continue to take market share? 20 p. in World Wood Summit 2001 Conference Proc. PaperLoop. com, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.nShook, S. R. and I. L. Eastin. 1996. The North American residential decking and siding markets. Center for International Trade in Forest Products (CINTRAFOR) Working Paper 56. CINTRAFOR, Seattle WA. 121 pp.nShook, S. R. and I. L. Eastin. 1998. Marketing strategy effects on contractor perceptions of residential siding materials. Center for International Trade in Forest Products (CINTRAFOR) Working Paper 64. CINTRAFOR, Seattle, WA. 70 pp.nShook, S. R. and I. L. Eastin. 2001. A characterization of the U.S. residential deck material market. Forest Prod. J. 51(4):28-36.nShook, S. R. I. L. Eastin. and S. J. Fleishman. 2001. A characterization of the residential deck market in the US. Center for International Trade in Forest Products (CINTRAFOR) Working Paper 78. CINTRAFOR, Seattle, WA. 53 pp.nSinclair, S. A., and E. C. Stalling. 1990. How to identify differences between market segments with attribute analysis. Industrial Marketing Management 19(1):31-40.nSinclair, S. A., and B. G. Hansen. 1993. The relationship between purchase decisions and quality assessment of office furniture. Wood Fiber Sci. 25(2):142-152.nSinclair, S. A., B. G. Hansen. and E. F. Fern. 1993. Industrial forest product quality: An empirical test of Garvin's eight quality dimensions. Wood Fiber Sci. 25(1):66-76.nSinclair, S. A., R. J. Bush, and P. A. Araman. 1989. Marketing hardwoods to furniture producers. Pages 113-119 in Proceedings of the seventeenth annual hardwood symposium of the Hardwood Research Council: Making the most of the hardwood resource. Hardwood Research Council Memphis, TN.nSmith, P. M., and S. A. Sinclair. 1989. The do-it-yourself customer for CCA treated lumber products. Forest Prod. J. 39(7):35-41.nSmith, P. M., and S. A. Sinclair. 1990. The professional contractor/remodeler: Market research for CCA-treated lumber products. Forest Prod. J. 40(6):8-14.nSmith, P. M., M. W. Trinka, and W. G. Luppold. 1990. Ready-to-assemble furniture: Marketing and material use trends. Forest Prod. J. 40(3):35-40.nSmith, P. M., and K. D. Sheeran. 1992. A profile of consumer preferences for baby diapers. Forest Prod. J. 42(9):65-71.nSmith, R. L. 1994. A hierarchical analysis of factors affecting the adoption and marketing of timber bridges. Ph.D. dissertation. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA. 257 pp.nSmith, R. L. and R. J. Bush. 1995a. A perceptual investigation into the adoption of timber bridges. Timber Bridge Information Resource Center NA-TP-03-95. USDA For. Ser., NE Area State and Private Forestry, Morgantown, WV. 21 pp.nSmith, R. L. and R. J. Bush. 1995b. A strategic evaluation of factors affecting the adoption of timber bridges. Timber Bridge Information Resource Center NA-TP-06-95. USDA For. Ser., NE Area State and Private Forestry, Morgantown, WV. 22 pp.nSmith, R. L. and R. J. Bush. 1995c. Factors influencing the adoption of timber bridges: Literature review. Timber Bridge Information Resource Center NA-TP-02-95. USDA For. Ser., NE Area State and Private Forestry, Morgantown, WV. 41 pp.nSmith, R. L., W. E. Spradlin, D. R. Alderman, and E. Cesa. 2000. A perceptional comparison of wood in separate infrastructure markets. Wood Fiber Sci. 32(2):239-255.nSmith, T. M. 2002. Exploring customer value in the hardwood lumber industry. Wood Fiber Sci. 34(1):2-13.nStalling, E. C. 1988. The competitive position of wood products in the residential siding market. M.S. thesis. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA. 137 pp.nStalling, E. C., and S. A. Sinclair. 1989. The competitive position of wood as a residential siding material. Forest Prod. J. 39(4):8-14.nSteenkamp, J. E. M., and H. C. M. van Trijp. 1997. Attribute elicitation in marketing research: A comparison of three procedures. Marketing Letters 8(2):153-165.nSun, X., A. L. Hammett, and C. D. West. 1999. Hardwood use in China's furniture industry. Forest Prod. J. 49(11):51-59.nTrinka, M. W., S. A. Sinclair, and T. C. Marcin. 1992. Determinant attribute analysis: A tool for new wood product development. Wood Fiber Sci. 24(4):385-391.nU.S. Census Bureau. 2003. State & County QuickFacts: Latah County, Idaho. U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, D.C.'>, R. P., and T. F. Shupe. 2002. Homeowner attitudes and preferences for building materials with an emphasis on treated wood products. Forest Prod. J. 52(7/8):90-95.nVoss, J. F., G. T. Vesonder, and G. J. Spillich. 1980. Text generation and recall by high-knowledge and low-knowledge individuals. J. Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior 19:651-657.nWalker, B., R. Celsi, and J. C. Olson. 1987. Exploring the structural characteristics of consumers' knowledge. Advances in Consumer Res. 14:17-21.nWeinfurter, S., and E. N. Hansen. 1999. Softwood lumber quality requirements: Examining the supplier/buyer perception gap. Wood Fiber Sci. 31(1):83-94.nWilkie, W. L., and E. A. Pessemier. 1973. Issues in marketing's use of multi-attribute models. J. Marketing Res. 10(4):428-441.nWu, Q., and R. P. Vlosky. 2000. Panel products: A perspective from furniture and cabinet manufacturers in the Southern United States. Forest Prod. J. 50(9):45-50.nZhang, Y. 2002. The perceived value of structural lumber in the home builder market: A conjoint analysis using a polynomial regression modeling approach. M.S. thesis. University of Idaho, Moscow, ID. 88 pp.nZinkhan, G. M. 1988. Using the repertory grid to assess the complexity of consumers' cognitive structures. Advances in Consumer Res. 15(1):493-497.n






Research Contributions