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