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Observational Techniques in Marketing Research

What is Observational Research?

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Observational Research
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Advantages of Observational Techniques

Both approaches create new data, while archival research involves the analysis of data that already exist. A hypothesis is generated and then tested by analyzing data that have already been collected. This is a useful approach when one has access to large amounts of information collected over long periods of time. Such databases are available, for example, in longitudinal research that collects information from the same individuals over many years.

All forms of observational or field research benefit extensively from the special capabilities of a dedicated data anlaysis tool like ATLAS. Download the Free Trial Version below to find out how it works and how it can help you with your research! Download Free Trial Version here. Sign Up to our Newsletter. In observational research done in natural settings, subjects are reported as doing exactly as what was observed.

Observational research can be modified to obtain the best results possible, if necessary. For instance, if one cannot see clearly enough from a particular location, he may choose to move to a closer observing spot. Observational techniques often provide the only way to conduct certain research, such as determining the number of shoppers visiting a store or the behavior of children.

While observational techniques have many advantages, they also have some faults, too. Researchers have no control over the situations and environments typically used in observational research.

Additionally, observational research is time consuming. One must have patience and time to devote to watching a set number of individuals or settings to obtain the information necessary. Researchers may also become distracted while observing, which can taint the results of the research.

Several common examples of observational marketing techniques exist and are used frequently. Perhaps, one of the most common ways researchers use observational techniques is through cookies on computers, used to track users' web views and visits. Focus groups utilize observational techniques, as does the Nielson ratings used to track popular viewing habits of television programs. Transportation departments use observational research to conduct traffic counts and usage patterns.

This technique is ideal for situations in which nonverbal communication is important for a complete consumer profile. Observation provides a more reliable measurement of actual consumer behavior, rather than self-report metrics. Observation research can include a high degree of researcher bias. Because the observer is human, subconscious opinions on demographics can affect the analysis. The method also relies on the interpretation of observation.

Researchers are sometimes left at the mercy of whomever came into a store that day, whether or not it lines up with desired consumer profiles. Observation only tells one part of the story. Attitudes and opinions cannot be clearly expressed only through actions, so it may not be the clearest picture possible.

Observational Technique Definition

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Observational marketing research is a qualitative method of collecting and analyzing information obtained through directly or indirectly watching and observing others in natural or planned environments.

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There are three main methods of conducting observational research based on how involved or visible the researcher is in the particular environment. In a participant observation the researcher is an active member of the group being observed.

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Observational research is particularly prevalent in the social sciences and in marketing. It is a social research technique that involves the direct observation of phenomena in their natural setting. Observational Method. This module describes the observational method of descriptive research and discusses its uses. Learning Objectives: Define observational research. List reasons researchers use the observational method; List and describe the three basics types .

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Marketing Research; Observation Method; Observation Method. Under most circumstances, observational data are more expensive to obtain than other survey data. The observer has to wait doing nothing, between events to be observed. The unproductive time is an increased cost. Observational Research. Observational research consists of monitoring ongoing behaviors in appropriate environments. For marketing research, this can include observations in buying environments such as retail outlets, in the home, or in public, depending on whether the research concerns buying or use behaviors.