Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2014-2015 (archived)

Module BUSI4G815: Consumers and Consumption

Department: Business School (Business)

BUSI4G815: Consumers and Consumption

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2014/15 Module Cap
Tied to N5K609


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To emphasise the importance of understanding consumers in formulating marketing strategy.
  • To facilitate an understanding of how and why consumers act, think and feel the ways that they do by exploring the psychological, social, cultural and marketing factors that influence, and are influenced by consumption.
  • To critically review a broad range of marketing and consumption theories and practices at the cutting edge of industry and academia.


  • Content will include, but is not limited to, subjects such as:
  • Consumer Society
  • Organisational Buyers
  • Consumer Culture Theory
  • Consumption Experience
  • Consumer Choice
  • Cultural and Brand Meaning
  • Brand Communities and Subcultures
  • Reference Groups
  • The Self, Identity and Symbolic Consumption
  • Consumer Motivation and Desire
  • Involvement
  • Attitudes
  • Learning and Memory
  • Retail Psychology/Situational and Environmental Issues
  • Consumer Misbehaviour
  • Impulse Buying
  • The content taught each year will change to reflect the interests and current research of the marketing group at Durham University Business School.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module students will:
  • Have a critical understanding of the psychological, social, cultural and marketing influences on consumers' behaviour, thoughts and feelings.
  • Be able to explain the various consumption activities that individuals undertake.
  • Have a critical appreciation of why and how an understanding of consumers and consumption is important for marketing.
  • Have gained the necessary subject knowledge to enable them to observe, interpret and demonstrate marketing and consumption in action.
  • Be able to understand the latest research issues and instruments in Marketing and Consumer Research.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of the module, students will have acquired the following specialist skills at an advanced level:
  • Ability to critically evaluate one’s own behaviours as consumers.
  • Ability to develop and evaluate marketing strategies in the light of marketing and consumer theory.
  • Ability to critique consumer research reports.
Key Skills:
  • Effective written and oral communication skills
  • Planning, organising and time management skills
  • Problem solving and analytical skills
  • The ability to use initiative
  • Advanced skills in the interpretation of data
  • Advanced computer literacy skills

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The module will be taught in 3-hour blocks to allow a greater level of engagement with students and to enable a flexibility of approach as appropriate. The teaching blocks will comprise a balanced mix of lecture-type teaching, group work, case studies, discussion and seminar style working such as will enable the learning outcomes to be met.
  • The summative assessment of the module, by written examination and group presentation, is designed to test students’ knowledge and understanding of the subject-matter and their ability to apply their knowledge and specialist skills in the context of specific issues in consumer research.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Teaching Blocks 9 1 per week 3 hours 27
Preparation and Reading 123
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Individual written (closed-book) examination 1.5 hours 100% same
Component: Group presentation Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Group presentation based on case study or equivalent 15 minutes 100% Individual report (1000 words) that tests same learning outcomes

Formative Assessment:

1500-word essay. Students will receive individual written feedback on the essay. In addition, seminar exercises will be used to give students an opportunity to explore, discuss, critique and apply the key topics in practice.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University