Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science

, Volume 6, Issue 1–2, pp 114–125 | Cite as

The use of students as experimental subjects in marketing research

  • Donald E. Vinson
  • William J. Lundstrom


The ability to generalize experimental observations to some larger environment is frequently a critical issue in marketing and consumer behavior research. A number of books and articles have been devoted to the problems associated with external validity but only recently have marketing scholars begun to examine the validity of employing students as subjects in marketing studies. The research reported in this paper was undertaken in an effort to investigate the validity of using students as surrogates for their parents along a number of selected cognitive dimensions. Testing the responses of both groups with MANOVA, it was discovered that student repsonses were significantly different from their parents on every dimension of interest. The findings suggest that had these particular student subjects been chosen as surrogates for their parents in a marketing research study, the external validity would have been seriously questioned.


Market Research Consumer Product Experimental Subject American Market Association Student Subject 
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Copyright information

© Academy of Marketing Science 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald E. Vinson
    • 1
  • William J. Lundstrom
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Southern CaliforniaColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.University of MississippiUSA

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