Exploring Marketing Research William G. Zikmund Chapter 10: Observation
Scientific Observation Is Systematic One day Sherlock Holmes asked Dr. Watson how many steps led up to the Baker street apartment. Watson responded that he did not know. Holmes replied “Ah Watson YOU SEE, BUT YOU DO NOT OBSERVE.”
Scientific Observation Is Systematic
Observation is a systematic process of recording the behavioral pattern of people objects, and occurrences as they are witnessed.
Observation becomes tool of inquiry when it
Serves a formulated research purpose.
Is planned systematically.
Is recorded systematically and related to general proposition rather simply reflecting a set of interesting curiosities.
Is subjected to checks or controls on validity and reliability.
What Can Be Observed?
Spatial relations and locations
Verbal and 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
What Can Be Observed 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 Records
Categories of Observation
Human versus mechanical
Visible versus hidden
Observation of Human Behavior Benefits
Communication with respondent is not necessary
Data without distortions due to self-report (e.g.: without social desirability) Bias
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 survey to provide supplemental evidence
Observation of Human Behavior Limitations
Cognitive phenomena cannot be observed
Interpretation of data may be a problem
Not all activity can be recorded
Only short periods can be observed
Observer bias possible (distortion of measurement resulting from the cognitive behavior or actions of the witnessing observer)
Possible invasion of privacy
Observation of Physical Objects
Visible mark of some past event or occurrences.
Wear and tear of a book indicates how often it has been read
Scientifically Contrived Observation
The creation of an artificial environment to test a hypothesis
Recording the decision time necessary to make a choice between two alternatives
It is presumed to indicate the strength of preference between alternatives.
Obtains data by observing and analyzing the content of advertisements, letters, articles, etc.
Deals with the study of the message itself
Measures the extent of emphasis or omission
Eye Tracking Monitors
Eye tracking technology detects eye movement by identifying the pupil and tracking its motion to determine precisely where the user is looking.
tracking system uses micro cameras and complex eye tracking software algorithms to electronically monitor eyelid and pupil activity
Record how the subject actually reads or views an advertisement
Measure unconscious eye movements
This device observes and records changes in the diameter of the subject’s pupils.
Measures galvanic skin response
Involuntary changes in the electrical resistance of the skin