Observation research provides the researcher the

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Observation research provides the researcher the Powered By Docstoc

What you see is what you get
 Observation Research Defined

Observation research can be defined as the
   systematic process of recording the
behavioral patterns of people, objects, and
   occurrences without questioning or
       communicating with them.
      Observational Situations
Situation                        Example

 People watching people   Observers stationed in supermarkets watch
                          consumers select frozen Mexican dinners.
                          The purpose is to see how much comparison
                          shopping people do at the point of purchase.

 People watching          Observer stationed at an intersection counts
 phenomena                traffic moving in various directions.

 Machines watching        Move or videotape cameras record behavior
 people                   as in people-watching-people example.

 Machines watching        Traffic-counting machines monitor traffic
 phenomena                flow.
         What can be observed

 Human behaviour and physical actions
 Verbal behaviour
 Expressive behaviour
 Spatial relations and locations
 Temporal patterns
 Physical objects
 Verbal or pictorial records
              WHAT CAN BE OBSERVED

    Phenomena                    Example

Human behavior or physical   Shoppers movement
action                       pattern in a store

Verbal behavior              Statements made by
                             airline travelers who wait
                             in line

Expressive behavior          Facial expressions, tone of
                             voice, and other form of
                             body language

  Phenomena                     Example

Spatial relations      How close visitors at an
and locations          art museum stand to paintings

Temporal patterns      How long fast-food customers
                       wait for their order to be served

Physical objects       What brand name items are
                       stored in consumers’ pantries

Verbal and Pictorial   Bar codes on product packages

 – Natural versus contrived situations.
 – Visible/open versus disguised/hidden
 – Structured versus unstructured
 – Human versus machine observation.
 – Direct versus indirect observation.
Advantages and Disadvantages of
    Observation Research
   Advantages
    – Observation research provides the
      researcher the opportunity to watch what
      people actually do rather than relying on
      reports of what they say they do.
    – This approach can avoid much of the
      biasing factors caused by the interviewer
      and question structure associated with the
      survey approach.
•Communication with respondent is not necessary
•Data without distortions due to self-report (e.g.: without social
•No need to rely on respondents memory
•Nonverbal behavior data may be obtained
•Certain data may be obtained more quickly
•Environmental conditions may be recorded
•May be combined with other methods to provide supplemental

– Only behavior and physical personal
  characteristics can usually be examined.
  The researcher does not learn about
  motives, attitudes, intentions, or feelings.
– Observation research can be time
  consuming and costly if the observed
  behavior occurs rather infrequently.
– Interpretation of data may be a problem
– Possible invasion of privacy
Who sees what where…
     Humans observing Humans

   Mystery Shoppers
    – People employed to pose as consumers
      and shop at the employer’s competitors to
      compare prices, displays, and the like.
   One-Way Mirror Observations
    – The practice of watching unseen from
      behind a one-way mirror.
   Shopper Patterns
    – Drawings that record the footsteps of a
      shopper through a store.
   Response latency
    – Recording the decision time necessary to
      make a choice between two alternatives.
   Test sites
    Humans observing Physical
Content Analysis

  –A technique used to study written material
  (advertising copy, newspapers, minutes) by
  breaking it into meaningful units, using
  carefully applied rules.

Physical   trace evidence
  –Study of visible signs of past
Physical Audit
  –The examination and verification of the sales of
  a product.
  –Pantry audits
Machine Observing People

   Electroencephalogram (EEG)
    – A machine that measures the rhythmic
      fluctuations in electrical potential of the
      brain and can be used to measure an
      individual’s emotional response to a
   Eye tracking monitors
    – Record how subject reads or views
   Pupilometer
    – Observes and records changes in the
      diameter of subjects pupils which changes
      as a result of cognitive processing
   Psychogalvanometer
    – Measures Galvanic Skin Response (GSR)-
      involuntary changes in the electrical
      resistance of the skin
   Voice pitch analysis
    – Measures emotional reactions through
      physiological changes in voice
Machine Observing Phenomenon

   Traffic counters
    – Machines used to measure vehicular flow
      over a particular stretch of roadway.
   People meter
    – A microwave computerized rating system
      that transmits demographic information
      overnight to measure national TV
   Scanner based research
    – A system for gathering information from a
      single group of respondents by
      continuously monitoring the advertising,
      sales, promotion, and pricing they are
      exposed to and the things they buy.

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