Market analysis courses may focus on the practice of market research, stock market analysis, or a specific industry. The goal of any market analysis course is to teach students how to gather, interpret and use data. Professionals often gather and use data to come up with strategic solutions, choose one project over another, or uncover consumer preferences. Advanced courses may focus on specific research methods, statistical regression analysis, and how to use information technology to uncover consumer behavioral patterns.
Some of the core market analysis courses are in marketing research and consumer behavior. A course in marketing research explores how companies use research data to design new products, create advertising messages, choose distribution strategies, and segment consumer groups. Foundation research courses provide an overview on how firms design surveys, focus groups, and test marketing experiments to make product launch decisions. Consumer behavior courses explore ways to identify various segments by certain demographics and the influence those characteristics might have on consumers' choices.
Financial markets rely on research and analysis to set prices, determine trends, and ascertain what type of trading activity is currently appropriate for specific investments. Market analysis courses that focus on financial markets examine theories related to certain trading markets, such as the U.S. Dow Jones Industrial Average. Students also learn to recognize specific signs or indications of market volatility, as well as heavy purchasing and sell-off activity. Some courses that focus on the financial market may also teach potential analysts how to apply different trading and portfolio management theories.
Schools that cater to industries such as real estate may offer market analysis courses that teach students how to manage several diverse market segments. Real estate companies often purchase and manage multiple properties that cater to different groups of consumers. For example, a commercial real estate company may purchase several high-end shopping centers along with a few mid-level strip malls. The staff needs to be aware of the differences between the expectations of potential tenants and shoppers, while also setting realistic asset management and return projections.
Graduate level or advanced market analysis courses dig deeper into the differences between quantitative and qualitative research methods. Quantitative methods, such as the Likert scale, associate numbers with responses. This type of research is typically close-ended and respondents can only choose among predefined options. Qualitative research is more open in nature as respondents are free to provide detailed descriptions about their opinions.
Other potential courses in market analysis include data mining and statistical regression analysis. Data mining is the ability to use computer programs to find previously unknown associations between purchase behavior and certain influences, such as coupons or special sale prices. Regression analysis is a somewhat similar concept. Gathered data is plotted on x and y coordinates and the results are manipulated according to one or more specific details, such as the price differences between houses that have two bedrooms and those that have only one.