Faculty of Management researchers and students recently inaugurated the new Behavioural Research Lab and Interview Room, paving the way for collaborative projects with regional and global partners.
The facilities in the Engineering, Management and Education (EME) Building provide new research possibilities in the Okanagan by helping businesses better understand consumers and launch their products.
In the new facilities, faculty researchers will:
- Conduct research that enables decision makers in the Valley to make informed choices around products, service, policies and community initiatives;
- Test ideas at a relatively low cost (learning from trial and error is often costly and time consuming); this lab will allow clients to use a controlled environment; and
- Open possibilities for interdisciplinary research around new ideas, products, and services.
The new facility was spearheaded by Management faculty members Ying Zhu, Eric Li and Arjun Bhardwaj. It marks a milestone for the Faculty of Management — and for local entrepreneurs, too, such as Kristen Garn, CEO of Mathtoons Media.
Garn was on hand for the official opening March 5, 2013, along with other community members, faculty, students, and media gathered to see the new facilities in action.
In the lab, 26 work stations were filled with students participating in a number of experiments and providing feedback on products such as Mathtoons, the innovative math teaching software developed by a local e-business in collaboration with five UBC faculties. Students trialed Mathtoons and tested device choice (PC, iPod and iPad) with other games to examine the relationship between the type of device and ability to learn.
Other studies taking place in the adjacent Interview / Focus Group room examined the appeal of certain Okanagan wine labels, bottle size and colours, and photographs for a Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association brochure.
The Interview Room is equipped with network cameras, digital recorders, and microphones so researchers are able to record participants and allow for detailed analysis.
Faculty of Management researchers currently await decision on their funding requests for additional technologies, such as eye-tracking technology to pinpoint consumer interaction with the web to enhance software, apps and website technology and development, and FMRI (brain scans) to measure subject reactions.