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Behavioural Observation

Behavioural Observation

Why Behavioural Observation?

Whenever automated behaviour patterns are involved, it is difficult to verbalise them. And it is not unusual for there to be discrepancies between what a person, who is questioned, says and what they actually do – whether this is due to the inability to remember or lack of awareness. Questioning as a market research method quickly comes up against its limits, opening the way for observation.

The different types of observation are:

  • biotic (concealed under real conditions): in the natural environment, without the person under observation knowing that he is being observed, so he knows neither the purpose of the observation nor his task, e.g. route analyses/customer path studies at the POS, mystery studies
  • quasi-biotic(or also semi-biotic): in the natural environment, the person under observation only knows that he is being observed, but does not know the purpose or his task, e.g. eye tracking studies of newspapers
  • non transparent: the person under observation knows that he is being observed and knows the task, but not the purpose of the observation, e.g. accompanied shopping
  • open: the person under observation knows that he is being observed, knows the purpose and the task, e.g. viewing figures for television research, driving clinic with gaze direction measurement
  • in relation to the observer: participative vs. non-participative
  • in relation to the place: in the lab vs. in the field
  • in relation to the tools: with vs. without equipment (e.g. skin resistance measurement with the tachistoscope, eye tracking)

In order not to rely purely on the interpretation of the monitoring and to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the product-consumer relationship, observation is often combined with questioning, e.g. thinking aloud during the accompanied shopping, or an in-home interview with video recording as part of the ethnographic research with EthnObserve®.

What are the advantages of behavioural observation?

  • realistic and authentic
  • high validity
  • no or low reflection on their own behaviour by the person under observation
  • captures spontaneous utterances, reactions, moods
  • explanation of previously known, non verbalisable and/or non-remembered aspects
  • with processes using equipment and biotic processes: objective data
  • no or reduced interviewer influence
  • no or reduced social desirability

Where is behavioural observation used?

  • Ethnographic research with EthnObserve® or Netnografie/digital ethnography with logInsight®
  • POS research, shopper research
  • Advertising impact research, advertising pre-tests
  • Product concept tests, usability tests