Undergraduate researcher gathers data on films for marketing project
Most people simply go to the movies to sit back, enjoy the film and consume large amounts of buttered popcorn. One University of Idaho undergraduate student, however, approaches the movie industry in an entirely different way.
Payton McGriff is a marketing major at UI, originally from Idaho Falls, Idaho. Before enrolling at UI, she attended Pacific Lutheran University, but chose to transfer not because of the business and marketing programs, but for the architecture program. However, after taking several business courses, McGriff decided that her true interests lay in social business and business marketing.
McGriff works on a research project headed by College of Business faculty members Sanjay Sisodiya, Steven Shook and Berna Devezer that investigates the success of movie sequels and attempts to determine the factors that lead to their success or failure, such as release date and content.
“The goal of the project is to create a more collective database of film resources that has not existed up to this point,” McGriff says.
McGriff contributes to this project by collecting data such as movie ratings, reviews and earnings figures on individual movies, and then entering that data into a larger database for the project. If there are any inconsistencies within the data, she also contacts agencies and asks them how their research was conducted so that the inconsistencies can be resolved.
She was given the opportunity to join the research team because of her reputation among business faculty for being a hard worker. She previously worked as a teaching assistant for the marketing department and spent multiple semesters grading and assisting with clerical tasks within the department.
McGriff says her research experience has given her good exposure to real life challenges and research initiatives, which are important to finding a job after graduation. She also said that being involved in the research has taught her much about what field she sees herself working in after graduation; right now she is more inclined toward the hospitality section of marketing rather than research.
She said this project was an amazing opportunity for her because research experience is valuable in marketing professions. Gaining experience in her expected profession is very important to her, and she greatly appreciates that she gets to be a part of the project.
“It is definitely rewarding, because it’s a great introduction into marketing research and data collection,” she says.
Writer: Lauren Orr is a freshman at the University of Idaho majoring in English (emphasis in professional writing) and psychology. She hopes to be a magazine writer or perhaps a travel writer once she graduates.
Photographer: Sri Sai Sampath Gouru is a freshman and an international student from India. He is majoring in computer science and aspires to work in the gaming industry after graduation.