How to Write a Good Seminar Paper in Mass Communication

Seminar paper presentation is one of the requirements in academic institutions. Students are required to present seminar papers as a separate course or within a course. For beginners writing a seminar paper can be quite challenging but if you understand the basics it will not be as difficult as it seems. The first best thing to do is to know what a seminar paper is, the structure and the basic contents of a seminar paper.


What is a seminar paper?

A seminar paper is a an academic writing that involves a robust analysis of a concept, issue, or problem

It could involve serious field work just like the project work but on a smaller scale. It could also be an analysis of an issue or concept not involving field work or distribution of questionnaire. So the seminar can be quantitative (involving numerical data) or qualitative (involving non-numerical data) paper. The basic thing is that seminar is one of the basic features of academic programmes. It is a strong academic exercise that is aimed at making original contribution to knowledge through a meaningful, systematic analysis of a topic or issue.

A seminar is not just an essay but a research- based write-up. It involves extensive research, citation of works, interrogation of data from related studies, and organized presentation of arguments using appropriate format for seminar papers. Just note that a seminar paper follows a know method of study just like the project work. The method of study will make it easier for you to approach the seminar paper. You also need to understand the format for writing a seminar paper. This is the easiest way to begin writing the seminar. Know the format you are adopting. Then get on with the work. This is why this article will be focusing on format for seminar paper presentation, that is, the basic structure of a seminar paper.

Some departments in various institutions have a format or guideline for writing seminar papers. But the guideline is almost the same in most cases. We will present a format you should follow in writing a typical seminar paper for presentation in an academic setting.

 Writing a seminar paper

Writing the seminar paper begins with a good title. Make sure you understand the title of your seminar paper, the variables in it and what the title is set out to achieve.  Don’t just jump into the seminar paper and start writing. Ask questions about the topic; make sure you understand what it requires before settling down to start writing. Also ensure you have the materials for the work. Get the works you will read and cite, books, journals, internet materials, just make sure they are available. That way you won’t be forced to abandon the work half way through. Again, if you don’t understand the topic and what it wants to achieve don’t start writing until you do. After this, study the format to understand how to approach the work. Also note that the seminar paper is not written in chapters. This is almost a general approach recognized in virtually every institution. It does not come in chapters like the typical project work and it often comes in 15 to 20 pages for first degree programmes, and  from 25 pages upwards for higher programmes.

Using an outline

There are cases where students are told to write essay kind of seminar paper. This follows the library research method where you are expected to dissect and analyze a topic without doing any kind of field work (distribution of questionnaire or content analysis of newspapers). In such an instance, you might need to use an outline to make the work easier for you. Breakdown the topic into an outline or sub-topics then approach the writing by working on the sub-topics one after the other. Here’s an example of such a seminar paper;

Topic: Cultural Values and Journalism Ethics: The Nigerian Experience



Conceptual Clarifications: Culture and Value Systems

Culture and News Values: The fusion

Value System Versus Journalistic Ethics: The Nigerian Experience

Conclusion: Looking Towards the Future


This might not be a strong seminar paper on face value but robust citations and arguments in the work could make it very strong. There are basic formats for presentation of typical seminar papers but we had to provide this sample because a number of times students face the challenge of writing a critical seminar paper on a specific issue for in-course assessment. They might be required to do an essay kind of qualitative analysis and the use of outlines or sub-topics will make such work easy to approach. Take a look at your research title critical. Understand what it requires; break it down into sub-topics so that you get a general view of what you will be working on. Then start writing using the materials you assembled for the work. The method described here is actually the library research method and requires a bit more than has been given; but this is a quick way to get over the initial scary feeling or atmosphere a beginner experiences when given a seminar topic that involves qualitative analysis of an issue to topic is addressing.

Now let’s look at the format for writing a typical seminar paper involving a more tasking method.

Format for writing a seminar paper

Seminar papers follow a given format for meaningful presentation of arguments and lines of though. A seminar is a systematic research paper which follows a format and methodology. There has to be a meaningful way of going about the work. You structure your seminar paper according to a meaningful format. Seminar papers should have a clear structure. This implies that sections and subsections follow in a logical order according to accepted format. You don’t randomly come up with aspects relevant to the main topic. The paper has to be subdivided into paragraphs, sections and subsections.

Here’s a typical format for a seminar paper using the survey or content analysis research methods;

Survey/Content Analysis

Title of work


This is written after the entire work. It is where you summarize the entire work including the findings and recommendations. The length of an abstract varies by discipline and publisher requirements 9that is for journal publications). Typical length ranges from 100 to 500 words. It should include the general objective of study, the specific objectives, research methodology, findings, conclusion and recommendations. Some journals instruct that recommendations should not be part of the abstract


This is where you provide background to the study you are embarking on. Create perspective for the readers then end with a thesis statement. The thesis statement is a one-sentence summary of what you intend to do in the study. It is always the last sentence in the introduction. Example, “this work therefore seeks to investigate the influence of peak milk radio advertising on consumer patronage of the brand.” You give the thesis statement after presenting background to the study.

The introduction provides a first characterization of the topic. It answers the question why the topic you are working on is worth investigating. It is concluded with a thesis statement. In some disciplines this section is concluded with an overview of the structure of the paper.

Statement of problem

Writing the statement of problem is always a challenge to students. But it shouldn’t be so. All you need do is understand the meaning of statement of problem writing it. The statement of problem is primarily the problem your work intends to address. It is a problem in the society that the results of your study will provide answers to. It is not always a negative problem that leads to catastrophe but it could be an issue that requires improvement and your research work could provide that knowledge. A problem statement consists of description of an issue that currently exists which needs to be addressed. It gives the context for the research study and generates the questions which the research aims to answer. The statement of the problem is the primary reason why the research is being carried out.

Begin with a few citations from studies already done, showing existence of the problem in the society and what it could cause if left unchecked. Then end by linking your work to the solution by saying your work sets out to provide possible answers to the challenge. You can also take a look at similar done on related topics, study the way they presented their problem statement and follow the pattern. You can learn faster by looking at what those who know it better than you have done in the past.

Objectives of Study

State the objective in futuristic term using “to find out”, “to evaluate”, “to investigate”, “to ascertain”, among others. Objectives of study are specific, measurable statements that show what you intend to do in the work. Whether it is qualitative (library study) or quantitative seminar paper, you provide objectives stating what you intend to do in the work. Take a look at the samples of seminar papers we provided at the end of this article to see how objectives of study are written in qualitative and quantitative studies. You can click here for more on how to write objectives of study for a research paper.

Research questions

Convert the objectives of study into questions; they become research questions. This is about the easiest aspect of the seminar paper to write.

Research hypotheses (if you want to add them)

This is not compulsory but you could add it to strengthen your paper. Research hypothesis is a tentative statement you formulate from your objectives of study. You formulate in Null and Alternative form though some disciplines request that you present only the Null hypothesis in the section.

Operational definition of terms

This is not a compulsory sub-head. Some departments or disciplines do not require this as a sub-head. You could add operational definition of terms as a sub-head or you could operationalize the key terms in the introduction. Operational definition of terms refers to meaning of key concepts in your work as they are used in your seminar paper. This is different from conceptual definition of terms which is dictionary or conventional definition of those key terms. In operational definition you localize or customize those terms to your work. See operational definitions in the samples of seminar papers we provided in this work. It’s always good to operationalize the key terms you are using in your work so that readers will understand how they were applied to the work.

 Theoretical framework

Here you provide the theory that your work is to be anchored on. During your discussion of findings you explain whether your findings support or contradict the theory.

Literature review

This is a very tasking aspect of the seminar paper. Here you tell the reader that you know what others have said about your subject before you. This means that you should cite works done in areas related to your own topic. This is where you take a look at studies done on topics related to the one you are working on. You do this in sub-topics. Provide sub-topics for the literature review and look for works to cite while examining the sub-topics. At the end you should state the gap in literature which means stating what the works you reviewed did not treat or touch on which constitute a gap your own study will fill. You do a lot of citation here (in-text referencing). Look at the samples we provided below and see how literature review is done on seminar papers.


This consists of method of study, population of study, sample size, sampling technique; for content analysis you will add units of analysis and content categories.


Here you present answers to the research questions. The data you gathered from the field in respect of each objective of study are presented here. This is where you do data presentation.


This is where you do data analysis. Some people make the mistake of repeating data presentation here by presenting what they already have in the findings (data presentation) sub category. What you do here is that you compare your own findings to the findings of other researchers in previous studies. You mention each finding and then cite other studies your own findings supported or contradicted. Also state whether your findings supported the theory you used for the study or not. This is a very serious aspect of the seminar paper.


You don’t write much grammar here. Go straight to the point and present your conclusion based on answers to the research questions. Answers to each research question which you discussed in the discussion of findings section constitute the conclusion. Just mention those answers based on data you got from the field. In the conclusion you reflect on what you have been able to prove and what not.


Make recommendations based on your findings. You could have between four to sic recommendations. Most disciplines do not restrict the number of recommendations in a seminar paper but it shouldn’t be less than four.


Provide a list of the works you cited in an alphabetical order, depending on the referencing style you are using. It could be American Psychological Association (APA) style 5th or 6th edition, or Modern Language Style (MLA). Disciplines have specific referencing styles they recommend for their students.


This is where you provide supplementary material (photographs, documents, screenshots of messages, instruments for data collection such as questionnaire, among others) that is not an essential part of the text itself but which may be helpful in providing a more comprehensive understanding of the research problem. It consists of information that is too cumbersome to be included in the body of the seminar paper. However, some discipline do not request for instrument for data collection such as questionnaire as part of the appendix in a seminar paper. They ask for it in the project work or dissertation.


Library research

For a seminar paper using the library research method you have a few changes in the format since it is a qualitative work. It does not involve numerical or statistical presentation and analysis of data so it won’t have a number of sub-headings under methodology.

Title of work



Statement of problem

Objectives of Study

Some people think that objectives of study are not required in qualitative studies. That’s a wrong perception. The objectives of study show specify the qualitative analysis you intend to do. It shows specific issues you will focus your analysis on. It is also required in a qualitative work.

Research questions

Theoretical framework

Literature review


If you add this sub-heading what is mentioned here is the Library research method. You could also mention the presentation and analysis technique. There are techniques for presentation and analysis of qualitative works. You could use explanation building or pattern matching as data presentation/analysis techniques here.







Every explanation on the sub-sections under survey research also apply here except in the sub-heads such as objectives of study and methodology that were briefly explained.


We hope our article was of help to you. If you have questions on what we have discussed or you are seeking for clarifications on similar issues do let us know in the comment section.



Seminar paper sample

Sample One (Survey/quantitative study)

Exposure to “Emzor Para-1000” Brila FM Advertisement and its influence on Brand Recall


This study entitled Assessment of “Emzor Para- 1000” Brila FM Advertisement and its influence on Brand Recall was undertaken to evaluate whether listeners of Brila 88.9 FM Onitsha were influenced by the “Emzor Para 1000” advertisement to the point of recalling the brand. Specific objectives of the study were to: assess how frequently the respondents listen to Brila 88.9 FM Onitsha; ascertain whether the respondents listen to “Emzor Para – 1000” advertisement in Brila 88.9 FM, Onitsha; know the extent Brila 88.9 FM advertising persuades respondents to buy Emzor Para – 1000 brand of product; understand whether exposure to “Emzor Para – 1000” Brila 88.9 FM advertisement leads to respondents’ recall of the product. The study was anchored on the Selective Processes Theory. The survey research design was used in studying a sample of 399 derived from the 339,823 projected population of Onitsha Metropolis, which according to UNDP stands at 2.61% annual rate. The sample size was arrived at using the Taro Yamani formula. Findings from the study revealed among others that: majority of the respondents were well exposed to Brila 88.9 FM Onitsha; that the respondents also listen to “Emzor Para – 1000” advertisement in Brila 88.9 FM, Onitsha; that to a good extent, Brila 88.9 FM advertising persuades respondents to buy Emzor Para – 1000 brand of product; the respondents agreed that exposure to “Emzor Para – 1000”Brila 88.9 FM advertisement lead   respondents’ recall of the product. The study recommends among others that: advertisers should know their target audience with respect to their demographics, level of involvements and programmes they enjoy listening to  enable them know where and how to place advertisements; as a way of increasing effectiveness, attention and recall rates.

 Key words: Advertisement, brand, brand recall, exposure,


Given the competitive nature of the business world today, firms must be up on their toes in order to meet the ever-increasing challenges of the economy. One vital way to succeed is for a firm to be able to strategically market its products or services. With the present level of increasing and cutthroat competition in the pharmaceutical industry, companies must be prepared not just to provide the services, but to do so qualitatively and aggressively if they must survive. This is where advertising has it relevance in today’s business environment (Khurram, Qadeer, & Sheeraz, 2018).

The word ‘advertising’ is derived from the latin word advertere, which. means to turn (the mind) to. Broadly speaking, advertising is said to be anything that turns attention of the public to an article, idea, product, concept, commodity, or service. Advertising as a business force is not a new tool, although it has seen its greatest development during the past 60 years, men have used some form of advertising (Onowe and Omoyebagbe, 2014). Early in history, advertising were cut in stone and placed in strategic locations so the people could see them (Nwabueze, 2015). Advertising has been closely related to the long trend of rising standards of living in the United States. For products enjoying expansible markets, it has brought about the economics of large-scale manufacture and of mass marketing (Nwabueze, 2015; Khurram, Qadeer, & Sheeraz, 2018). Thus it has been a factor in helping to increase production and to decrease unit costs.

Advertising has become such a persuasive and intrusive socioeconomic force in Nigeria, as in other countries, that neither manufacturers nor consumers can ignore it (Chibueze, 2010). As a communication medium, advertising invades our streets, offices, village squares and homes, pushing in messages about various products, ideas, services, persons (dead or alive) and institutions through various media outlets Nwosu and Nkamnebe (2006). It does this so intensively and persistently that it is only our natural abilities to selectively expose ourselves to and selectively perceive and recall information that saves us from the thralldom of what communication experts have described as “information overload” (Nwosu, 1997). In a more limited sense, however, advertising is usually considered as any form of paid public announcement intended to aid directly or indirectly in the sale of a product, commodity or service (Nwabueze, Ezeoke and Ezebuenyi, 2011). It can also be described as salesmanship without a personal salesman.

In Nigeria today, competition has largely increased among advertisers and marketers that it has become necessary to measure recall level of advertising message among the target audience. Also advertisement clusters at the peak of a programme have been said to reduce advertising effectiveness. This can be inferred from Bogart’s (1962, p.140) argument that “a commercial which is surrounded by other commercials enjoys less attention than those isolated by entertainment.” But the evidence on how much less attention it gets is inconclusive; most likely the answer will vary from case to case depending on the specifics of the commercial.

It is therefore pertinent to study the influence of advertising on consumer preferences, using a product of Emzor Pharmaceutical Industries Nigeria Ltd known as Emzor Para – 1000 being advertised in Brila 88.9 FM Onitsha a focus.

The over 20 years involvement of Emzor Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd in Nigeria as a profit making organization involved in manufacture and marketing of quality pharmaceutical products, and its resultant resolve to use consumer-oriented marketing concepts to deliver quality and affordable pharmaceutical products to the larger society lend credence to the significance of this study.

Statement of Research Problem

The increasing globalization of world trade and product marketability, coupled with Nigeria’s continuous liberalization of trade and the struggle for increase in market share among companies with same products, aroused the curiosity or need to review advertising as a strategy to capture as much market and customers as possible while ensuring the satisfaction of the needs of customers. Pharmaceutical industries are not left out in the competition for increased market share. Hence, advertising has become a tool as it will help determine how consumers behave or respond to their products in terms of increase or decrease in buying potentials of consumers (Kanso and Nelson, 2007; Khurram, Qadeer, & Sheeraz, 2018).

Advertising is effective if the advertiser gets the desired result, which is the final action on the part of the consumer (Eze & Lee, 2012). Without a consumer first attending to an advertisement, comprehending and believing its content, there would be no action. The general perception that consumers and listeners have of radio ads is that they constitute psychological noise. For example, a radio listener who is bombarded with the clutter of nine successive commercial messages during a programme break may actually receive and retain almost nothing of what he/she has heard (Schiffman & Kanuk, 2007). Though newspapers and magazine contain 50 to 60 per cent ads, it is the broadcast media of radio and TV that is usually criticized for clutter and over commercialization. Can it therefore be said that the Brila FM Para -1000 advertisement can influence respondents’ recall of the brand? This is the problem the study intends to unravel.

Objectives of the Study

The main objective of this study is to assess the influence of “Emzor Para – 1000” Brila FM advertisement on brand recall among listeners in Onitsha Metropolis. The specific objectives are to:

  1. Assess how frequently the respondents listen to Brila 88.9 FM Onitsha
  2. Ascertain whether the respondents listen to “Emzor Para – 1000” advertisement in Brila 88.9

FM, Onitsha.

  1. Know the extent Brila 88.9 FM advertising persuades respondents to buy Emzor Para – 1000

brand of product.

  1. Understand whether exposure to “Emzor Para – 1000” Brila 88.9 FM advertisement leads

to respondents’ recall of the product.

Research Questions
  1. How frequently do respondents listen to Brila 88.9 FM Onitsha?
  2. Do respondents listen to “Emzor Para – 1000” advertisement in Brila 88.9 FM Onitsha?
  3. To what extent does Brila 88.9 advertisement persuade respondents to buy Emzor Para – 1000

brand of product?

  1. Does exposure to “Emzor Para – 1000”Brila 88.9 FM advertisement lead respondents’ recall of the product?
Operational Definition of Terms
Advertisement:  A communication in the media (Brila 88.9FM) paid for by an identifiable sponsor (Emzor Pharmaceutical Industry) and directed at a target audience (Listeners of Brila 88.9FM resident in Onitsha Metropolis) with the aim of imparting information about a product (Emzor Para – 1000).
Assessment: Trying to know whether Brila FM advertisement of “Emzor Para – 1000” leads makes people remember and buy the product.
Brila FM: A radio station located in Onitsha which airs “Emzor Para – 1000” advertisement.
Brand Recall: Remembering the “Emzor Para – 1000” brand based on exposure to  the message by Brila FM concerning
“Emzor Para – 1000”: A brand of Emzor paraceutamol advertised in Brila 88.9FM radio located in Onitsha.
Influence: How Brila FM advert of “Emzor Para – 1000” affects listeners of the station in Onitsha Metropolis.                     
Theoretical Framework

This study is anchored on the Selective Processes Theory. This theory is one unique postulation that cannot be easily tied to one name alone as its originator because different authorities made inputs to its development such as Lazarsfeld, Berelson and Gaudet (1944), Allport and Postman (1945). It has three specific phases by which information and action goes through an individual (selective exposure, retention and perception).

First, selective exposure that people are tuned to “expose themselves to or attend to media messages they feel are in accord with their already held attitudes and interests and the parallel tendency to avoid those that might create dissonance” (Baran & Davis, 2009, pp. 146,147). There is every tendency that one who does not love smoking may feel the urge to walk away or tune off the television each time Benson and Hedges come up with the tobacco advertisement. But if such a person hears a programme on the screen calling for personal hygiene, he or she may be more relaxed to watch such.

Secondly, there is a concession that selective retention is the means by which people tend to recall best and longest messages consistent with their preexisting manner of behaviors or attitudes or likes (Baran & Davis, 2009). To situate it more clearly one can say that “Selective perception is the idea that people will alter the meaning of messages so they become consistent with preexisting attitudes and beliefs” (Baran & Davis, 2009, p. 147). What is left in the minds of the audience member is the very interpretation he accords the phenomenon that has been received over time. This theory is appropriate in this study given that the process of recall in advertising demands that one selectively remember such advertisement.

Literature Review
Audience and Advertising Messages

The concept “audience” has been defined by various scholars according to their various intellectual persuasions. Audience is described as heterogeneous and anonymous, they comprise of people of different demographic characteristics (age, sex, race, ethnics group, economic status, educational background etc.) and psychographic characteristics likes, dislike, emotions, attitudes interest, self esteem and perception, ego, values and opinion (Nwabueze, 2014, p. 59).

In relation to the above definition, the audience in this study are the listeners of Brila 88.9 FM Onitsha, who are exposed to the “Emzor Para-1000” advertisement. Advertising messages consists of contents and forms of an advertising which constitutes several factors to communicate effectively with the audience, an advertiser must use words symbols and illustrations that are meaningful, familiar and attractive to the audience who listen to radio or watch television advertisement.

According to Onyeka (2001, p 15) who quote Pride and Ferrell (1998, p. 365) advised advertisers to attempt to move audience through a persuasive sequence called AIDCA model. This implies that advertising must pass through this model in order to enable it communicates effectively to the audience during Honey well wheal meal televisions advertising. The AIDCA model simply means.

A- Attention; I- Interest; D- Desire; C- Conviction; A- Action;

Attention: Attention is the first of an advertisement, the advert message should attract “audience attention, create enough interest to make them react and watch the advertisement in television when a company’s product is being advertised, the audience will react because the advert got their attention.

Interest: This means that the tone and language of advertisement must fit in the experience attitude of the target audience. The consumers are not interested in how wonderful the advert copy is, they want to know what the product or service will do for them. An advertisement should be able to generate interest in order to persuade the audience to patronize the product advertised because interest leads to desire to own the product.

Desire: The advertiser needs to communicate effectively with the target audience. Advertisers should understand how the audience thinks, behave and make decision and then give them the reason why they must listen or witch honey well what meal advertisement. To create the desire, the consumer should be told that they will be better off with the product. Nnayelugo (1999, p.38)

Conviction: For the audience to accept an advertising message, they have to be convinced that the product advertised will meet their different needs. It is therefore necessary to prove to your target audience that the product they are buying is good. This will require convincing facts, proof of performance, testimonial and so on.

Action: According to Okoro (1990, p.38) “an advertising message must move the target prospects from the base of ignorance to the affective level in order to ignite a buying action. An advertising message should be beyond considering how the product might be in life to actualize its purpose, it must be made to take action.”

Importance and Effectiveness of Advertising

Modern marketing calls for more than developing a good product, pricing it attractively and making it accessible to target customers. Companies must also communicate with their present and potential customers. Every company is inevitably cast into the role of communicator and promoter. One of the major ways of communication between the company and public is through advertising. Professor Theodore Levitt conducted a study to determine the relative contribution of the company’s reputation (build mainly by advertising) and the company’s sales presentation (personal selling) in producing industrial sales. States as follows:

* A company’s reputation improves the chances of getting favourable first hearing and an early adoption of the product. Therefore corporate advertising that can build up the company’s reputation will help the company sales representatives, thus increase in sales.

*Advertising cannot in and of itself cause sales. It can only help or contribute towards sales success. Rather, all the marketing elements must pull together in combination and in the right sequence. To borrow Bernstein’s analogy, a single mix element is like a thread. Alone it is pretty weak, but when intertwine with all the other threads, it contributes to the force and strength of a rope. Threads cannot cause sales, ropes can!

* Advertising increases distribution. It brings before the public the advantages of buying the goods and services offered. It awakens new desires and inspires consumers to work harder to earn money to satisfy such desires. Thus it is a force that makes it possible to sell more merchandise. Advertising is mass selling, without which mass production could not function. It makes possible larger production and lower unit manufacturing costs. It enables the manufacturer to extend his market speedily and to place his goods in stores all over the country and in many cases all over the world in a short space of time.

Advertising as a means of communication has some influence on a person’s AOB i.e. attitudes opinions and beliefs. Thus, people are more likely to respond to persuasive communication of any sort if they are in line with the person’s predisposition. In other words, advertisement is more likely to be effective if it tells people what they want to hear or is consistent with their past beliefs.

 Communication, Perception and Advertising

Marketing communications are designed to make the consumer aware of the product or service, induce purchase or commitment, create a positive attitude toward the product, give the product a symbolic meaning, or show how it can solve their problems better than those of competition (Schiffman and Kanuk, 2007). Perception is a mental activity by which sensory input from our eye and ears is classified into recognisable categories and meanings (Hammond, 2008). Authors like Mowen (1987), Loudon and Della-Bitta (1993) Mullins and Hicks (2002) defined perception as a phase of information processing.

Understanding how audiences perceive communicated messages is very critical to the success of an advertiser. Such reactions will enable advertisers to test the effectiveness of messages sent in terms of getting desired results. Each human being possesses a different predisposition to what he sees or hears. That is to say, the members of an audience are very selective in what they read, listen to or view from the media. Pappas (2000) argues that people are exposed to an estimate of 3,000 to 5,000 advertisement messages every day, and that it is impossible for a person to pay attention to all these stimuli. It also means that the pattern of understanding and interpretation of one person may be very different from that of another when attending to identical media content.

Also the social categories into which we can classify members of a media audience for example, men and women, young and old, rich and poor, blue collar and professionals affect the way individuals perceive a message. Therefore for an advertiser to be successful, he must learn to understand the attitude and reactions of his/her target audience He must discover which technique to use and when in order to reach the minds of his audience. For any idea to be transmitted effectively from source to receiver, whether the source is personal or non-personal, the message must meet these three qualifications:

  1. It must be so designed and delivered as to gain the attention of the receiver
  2. It must use signals that are understood in the same way by both the source and the receiver.
  3. It must arouse needs in the receiver and suggest some way of satisfy these needs that is appropriate to the receivers group situation when moved to make the desired response.
Impact of Radio Advertising on Buying Behaviour of Listeners

Radio advertisements are largely targeted to the listeners. Besides media, retailers also outsource sales promoters to deliver gifts and price lists to people at strategic points. Such promotion campaigns allow the store to increase its turnover by achieving a higher volume of sale in the market area, an increase in the frequency of visits, and stimulate spending by consumers in the store. Store-level promotions through radio advertisements help listeners to acquire information and take decision on buying or induce family and friends to help in visiting stores to witness promotions and buy.

The radio advertisements reinforce a low-price positioning, a key to attract customers of price sensitive segment using an ‘everyday low price’ or ‘everyday new promotion’ strategy. However, such a strategy leads to an increase in sales at the expense of a substantial loss in profit in long run (Hoch et al, 1994). Radio commercials hold a marginal share among the main media categories, for example newspaper and television. However, it is still regarded as an important and useful medium in marketing and advertising in large cities and metropolitans.

The broadcast of commercials on radio needs real feel orientation and voice is the single major determinant that draws the attention of listeners. Programs on sales and market news are the principal preferences of urban commuters for large metro radio stations (Parker, 1993). The majority of short and informative advertisements for consumer products in an urban setting use radio advertising with communication appeal related to the efficacy of products and psychosocial enhancement of consumers at retail outlets. Promotional efforts by manufacturing and retailing companies appear to focus on positive emotional appeal to influence consumers through radio advertisements (Yusuff and Yusuf, 2009).

Though the print and television media has taken the major share of revenue from commercials, advertisements on radio still hold audience of large cities. However, little research has been published on the impact of commercial broadcast by AM or FM radio on urban consumers. Most studies did not consider radio and outdoor advertising as principal research agenda, despite their importance in business communication, consumer behavior and towards sale stimulation for retailers (Mulhern, 1997; Volle, 2001).

Advertising Success and Brand Recall

Brand recall is the mental reproduction of some target item experienced or learned earlier (Bagozzi & Sailk 1983). It is defined by Prashar et al., (2012) as ―the extent to which consumers remember advertising and other messages that have been sent about a brand. It is a type of brand awareness where the consumer recognizes or identifies a brand, using information from memory. Brand recall is the customer‘s ability to recall a brand when some cues related to the brand is given, requiring that consumers correctly generate the brand from memory (Baumann, Hamin & Chong, 2015; Keller, 1993). The importance of memory cannot be ignored when we think about recalling a brand as memory factors help in retrieving the brand and also the other competing brands and thus making a consideration set for the consumer to make the final purchase (Nedungadi, 1990). For well-known brands, Aaker (1996) proposed that brand recall and top-of-mind awareness can be more significant and meaningful. Operationally, when a cue is provided, and the respondent retrieves the target item from the memory that is a brand recall.

The consumer today is aware and knowledgeable, thus it has become more complicated for the managers to understand the purchase behaviors of consumers. The goal of every business is to get consumer purchase their goods/services and develop long term profitable relations with the business. Marketers are trying to achieve this goal by communications, however, only by remembering any advertisement or any other communication does not necessarily lead to purchase (Srull, 1983). There are many other factors, such as brand awareness (Lin, Lin & Ryan, 2014), brand image and brand knowledge lead to actual purchase (Schiffman et al., 2010; Yazdanparast, Joseph, & Muniz, 2016). The purchase decision is a stepwise decision starting from initial awareness to information search, evaluation, selection and reaching ultimately to brand loyalty (Court et al., 2009; Powell et al., 2010). Brand recall plays a major role in advertising success.

Brand recall is based on the information that is stored in the memory of the consumer that the consumer can retrieve when the cue is given. The brand that can create image and personality rightly in the minds of the consumer has a better chance of revoking recall, and for various categories, brand recall is enough for generating sales.

Brief History of Emzor Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd

Emzor pharmaceutical Industries Limited, a subsidiary of Emzor Chemists Limited, is a wholly private, indigenous pharmaceutical manufacturing company, incorporated in Nigeria, in1984 for the purpose of manufacturing high quality pharmaceutical products and medical consumables. Its holding company, Emzor Chemists Limited opened for retail business in January 1977 at number one Fola Agoro Street, Abule Ijesha, Yaba, Lagos. The rapid growth of the retail business encouraged Emzor Chemists Limited to venture into the importation and wholesale of assorted pharmaceuticals. The idea to manufacture locally came later and this was predicated on the need to develop local capability, create jobs and provide high quality pharmaceutical products and services to the Nigerian people at prices that are not only affordable but represent value.

The company started pilot production in 1985 and in 1988 it has become an established pharmaceutical manufacturing company especially with the introduction of “Emzor paracetamol” into the Nigerian market. However, Emzor pharma rose from a humble beginning of four (4) products lines in 1987 to a range of over fifty (50) products in the analgesic, anti-malaria, vitamin, haematinics, multivitamin supplement, antihelmintic, antibiotics and therapeutic class.

The factory is located on 2.5 acres of land in the Isolo Industrial area of Lagos with Modern facilities to make a wide, variety of high quality pharmaceutical products that meet international standards at affordable and competitive prices. It has invested heavily in comprehensive and cutting-edge facilities for research and development unit. Emzor pharmaceutical is a success because of its people. The management style is participatory and team leaders are people with vast experience and comprehensive education.

Synopsis of Brila 88.9 FM Onitsha

Sports Radio 88.9 Brila FM also known as Brila FM is a sports radio station founded on October 1, 2002 by Larry Izamoje as Nigeria’s first and only sports radio station (Izamoje, 2009). Licensed by the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Brila FM has three sister stations located in Abuja, Kaduna and Onitsha (Vanguard, 2011, May 26).

The people of Onitsha, Anambra State are in for a unique entertainment and informative sports experience as sports radio Brila FM makes the city its last home, following establishment in Lagos, Abuja and Kaduna ( Officially launched on November 7, Brila FM Onitsha is latest addition and fourth branch of the fast expanding sports station which can also be accessed on audio channel 1of HiTv. The station has started broadcasting its comprehensive balanced sports programme much to the delight of the sports loving fans of the city (


The survey research design was adopted for this study. Osuala (2005, p.253) states that survey research studies both large and small population by selecting and studying samples chosen from the population to discover the relative incidence, distribution and interrelations of sociological and psychological variables.

The population of interest for this study was the 261, 604 persons in Onitsha North and Onitsha South Local Government Areas (Onitsha Metropolis) (NPC, 2006).

However, it is expected this population has increased since the last census exercise which took place seven years ago. In this situation, Owuamalam (2012, p. 107) posits that the research is expected to use an annual increase rate of 2.28% as stipulated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to work out the new projected population figure. He provided the formula thus:

Pp     = Gp x Pi x T


Pp        = Projected Population

Gp       = Given Population (as at last census)

Pi         = Population increase index

T          = Period between the given population and year of study.

therefore          Gp       = 261,604

Pi         = 2.28%           = 0.0228          = 0.023

T          = 2019 – 2006  = 13

therefore          Pp        = 261,604 x 0.023 x 13

=    =   78,219.528

It means 78, 219 persons were added to the actual or given population (261, 604) to obtain projected population of 339,823.  It is from this population that the sample size was calculated and drawn.

The sample size for this study is 399. This is good according to Wimmer and Dominick, (2011) which certify that 300 samples are good enough for a study of this nature.

One of the essences of survey is to generalize. Taro Yarmani formula was used to determine the sample size for this study. The formula, cited in Okeke (2005) is given as follows:

n =      N

1 + N (e)2

Where n =       Sample size to be determined

N =      Population figure

(e) =     Margin of error

Detailed computation of sample size for survey research method using Taro Yamani’s sample size determination formula stated as follows:


s           =                339,823

1+339,823 (e)2


s           =          339,823

1+339,823 (0.05)2


s           =          339,823

1+ 339,823 x 0.0025

s           =          339,823


s           =              339,823

850.5575           =  399.5297202

Sample size =399.

The purposive sampling technique was used in reaching the actual respondents. The main reason for using purposive sampling technique is to ensure that the researcher focuses on particular characteristics of a population that are of interest, which will best generate answers to research questions. For this study, the characteristics of interest to the researcher are those samples who listen to Brila FM’s ‘Emzor Para 1000’ programme and lived in Onitsha Metropolis.

The research instrument used for this study was the questionnaire.  The questionnaire contained multiple choice questions, open-ended and dichotomous response questions.

Findings and Discussion

A total of 399 copies of the questionnaire were distributed to listeners of Brila FM Onitsha Metropolis. This was to assess their recall of “EMZOR PARA-1000” BRILA FM advertisement. Out of the 399 copies distributed, 394 copies were returned and found usable, giving a response rate of 98.7 percent and mortality rate of 1.3 percent.

Table 1: Demographic Characteristics of Respondents
Variables Frequency Percentage
Male        279        70.8
Female        115        29.2
Total        394        100
15-20         121       30.7
21-26         154       39.1
27-32          67       17.0
33 and above          52       13.2
Total        394       100
Marital Status
Single       258       65.5
Married       136       34.5
Total        394       100
Educational  Level:
FSLC        110        27.9
SSSC        161        40.9
OND/NCE        42        10.7
HND/ FIRST  DEGREE          81        20.5


Total        394        100
 Occupational Distribution 
Students         153        38.8
Business          113        28.7
Public service          45        11.4
Unemployed          83        21.1
Total          394        100


Analysis of demographic data presented in Table one above shows that out of the 394 respondents, 279 representing 70.8 percent were male while 115 representing 29.2 percent were females. This means that more than two- thirds of the respondents for the study were males. The respondents cut across diverse age groups. Those between the ages of  15-20 years were 121 or 30.7 percent, those  between 21-26 years were  154  or  39.1 percent,  those between  27-32 years were 67   or  17.0 percent while  those between 33 years and above  were 52 or 13.2 percent. This is an indication that majority of the respondents fall within the age group categorized as youths.

The data on marital status show that 258 or 65.5 percent of the respondents were single while 136 or 34.5 percent were married. This again indicates that more than two- thirds of the respondents were single. Analysis of data on the  respondents educational qualifications shows that  110 or 27.9 percentage  of the respondents had first school  leaving certificate (FSLC), 161 or 40.9 percent had senior secondary schools certificate (SSSC), 42 or  10.7 percent had  OND/NCE, 81 or  20.5 percent had HND/First degree. Data on occupational distribution show that 153 representing 38.8 percent of the respondents were students, 113 or 28.7 percent were in business, 45 or 11.4 percent were in public service, while 83 or 21.1 percent were unemployed. This is an indication that the respondents cut across different fields of endeavour.

Thematic Data: Answer to Research Questions
Research Question One

How frequently do respondents listen to Brila 88.9 FM Onitsha?

Table 3: Assessment of respondents’ frequency of exposure to Brila FM



Frequency percentage
Very often      150     38.1
Often      100     25.4
 Sometimes       44     11.1
Rarely                                             28      7.1
Very Rarely                              72     18.3
Total                                                                             394     100


Analysis of data in Table 3 shows that 150 or 38.1 of the respondents answered ‘very often’ when asked to indicate their frequency of exposure to the Brila FM, 100 or 25.4 percent answered ‘often’, 44 or 11.1 percent answered ‘sometimes’, 28 or 7.1 percent answered ‘rarely’ while 72 or 18.3 percent had no opinion on the question. This means that majority of the respondents have had a good exposure to the Brila FM.

Research Question Two:

Do respondents listen to “Emzor Para – 1000” advertisement in Brila 88.9 FM Onitsha?

Table 3: Assessment on whether respondents listen to Emzor Para-1000 Brila FM             advert

Responses  Frequency  Percentage
Yes    263      66.7
No     31       7.9
 Can’t say    100      25.4
Total            394      100%


Analysis of data presented in Table 3 indicates  that 263 or 66.7 percent of the respondents indicated ‘yes’ when asked whether they listen to Emzor Para-1000 Brila 88.9 FM Onitsha advert, 31 or 7.9 percent  indicated ‘no’ while 100 or 25.4 percent had no opinion on the question. This shows that more than two- third of the respondents listen to Emzor Para-1000 Brila 88.9 FM Onitsha advert.

Research Question Three:

To what extent does Brila 88.9 FM advertisement persuade respondents to buy      “Emzor Para – 1000” brand of product?

Table 4: Assessment on the extent Brila 88.9 FM advertisement persuade respondents to buy “Emzor Para – 1000” brand of product

Response Frequency Percentage
Very large extent  143 36.2
Large extent  186 47.2
Fair extent    62 15.7
Poor extent







Analysis  of data presented in Table 4 shows that 143 or 36.2 percent of the respondents  answered ‘Very large extent’ when  asked the extent Brila 88.9 FM advertisement persuade them to buy “Emzor Para – 1000” brand of product, 186 or 47.2 percent answered ‘Large extent,  62 or 15.7 percent answered ‘Fair extent’ 43 or 10.9 percent answered ‘Poor extent’. This means that more than two- thirds of the respondents accede to have been persuaded by  Brila 88.9 FM advertisement to buy “Emzor Para – 1000” brand of product.

Research Question Four:

Does exposure to “Emzor Para – 1000”Brila 88.9 FM advertisement lead   respondents’ recall of the product?

Table 5: Assessment on whether Does exposure to “Emzor Para – 1000”Brila

88.9 FM advertisement lead respondents’ recall of the product?

Response Frequency Percentage
Yes  279 70.8
No   53 13.5
Can’t say   62 15.7
 Total 394 100%


Analysis of data presented in Table 5 shows that 279 or 70.8 percent of the respondents answered yes when  asked whether Does exposure to “Emzor Para – 1000”Brila 88.9 FM advertisement lead respondents’ recall of the product?,  53 or 13.5 percent answered no while 62 or 15. 7 percent had no opinion on the question. This means that more than two- thirds majority of the respondents agreed that exposure to “Emzor Para – 1000”Brila 88.9 FM advertisement lead   respondents’ recall of the product.

Discussion of Findings

Having presented and analysed data gathered from the study, findings reveal that majority of the respondents have had a good exposure to the Brila 88.9 FM Onitsha. This finding is tandem with the exposition given to the station as a unique platform for entertainment and informative sports experience and thrills its audience in special ways. The station has started broadcasting its comprehensive balanced sports programme much to the delight of the sports loving fans of the city.

Further findings also reveal that more than two- thirds majority of the respondents listen to Emzor Para-1000 Brila 88.9 FM Onitsha advert. This finding validates the submission of Yusuff and Yusuf (2009), who opined that promotional efforts by manufacturing and retailing companies appear to focus on positive emotional appeal to influence consumers through radio advertisements.

Another finding from the study shows that more than two- thirds of the respondents accede to have been persuaded by Brila 88.9 FM Onitsha advertisement to buy Emzor Para – 1000 brand of product. This finding reinforces an earlier observation by Kuffert (2009), who states that the perception of radio as an intimate medium of communication during the non-availability of visual media profoundly affects the way people consider listening to radio programs including commercials, perform information analysis, and make applied decisions. Since the audiences have easier access to radio communication, they develop higher perceived intimacy to the broadcasts. In a similar manner and according to Hoch et al.(1994), radio advertisements reinforce a low-price positioning, a key to attract customers of price sensitive segment using an ‘everyday low price’ or ‘everyday new promotion’ strategy. Such a strategy leads to an increase in sales at the expense of a substantial loss in profit in long run radio commercials hold a marginal share among the main media categories, for example newspaper and television.

Finally, finding from the study indicates that a more than two- thirds majority of the respondents agreed that exposure to “Emzor Para – 1000”Brila 88.9 FM advertisement lead respondents’ recall of the product.

Again, this finding supports an earlier submission by Daniel Starch cited in Okoro (1998), who argues in agreement that an advert will be successful only when it is seen or heard, remembered (recalled), believed and acted upon by the viewers or consumers. He added, no matter how advertising is defined, the ultimate aim will remain to persuade and attract people to the advertised product, service or even brand.


From the data analysis of this study and the summary of its findings, its being concluded that advertisement has effect on consumer behavior in a purchase decision, especially where there are competing brands. Some of the ways by which advertising does this is by creating awareness of the product, highlight the unique features and, thus persuading the consumers to make a trial purchase.

            The study further showed that there is a positive effect of advertising on Emzor Para- 1000 brand of products. The brand is widely accepted by consumers, hence, there is need for continuous advertising to reach the target market at all times with a view to encouraging repeat purchase and brand loyalty. The Emzor Para- 1000 brand being advertised meets and indeed surpasses consumer expectations and needs in terms of quality, effectiveness and perceived value-added. However, if the success already achieved by advertising Emzor Para- 1000 in Brila 88.9 FM Onitsha is to be retained, there ought to be a continued recall tests.


In the light of the above research findings, we make the following recommendations. Advertisers should know their target audience with respect to their demographics, level of involvements and programmes they enjoy listening to. This will enable them to know where and how to place advertisements. As a way of increasing effectiveness, attention and recall rates, we suggest the use of the long commercial or informercial to appeal to consumers who are innovative, brand and price conscious and desirous of convenient shopping.

To attract more and increase recall level in the audience, ad should be done more frequently, and tailored to meet the needs of the target audience. Messages must be reasonable, factual and truthful. More interactive media should be explored to break through the passive, traditional methods especially for high involving products.

Finally, programme insertion in determining advertisement effectiveness, additional research can be carried out to test for: recall of product category and brand in relation to commercial length and number of advertisements in a programme and rate of advertisement effectiveness in terms of product patronage and usage.


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The Author

Chinenye Nwabueze

Nwabueze is a communication researcher with several years of lecturing experience in Nigerian universities.

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