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Saturday, 15 September 2018

Methods of Observation

The following are the methods of observation which the marketing researcher can adopt.

1. Direct or indirect observation : in direct observation, the event or the behaviour of the consumer is observed as it occurs. Observing shoppers as they make a decision concerning which brand of relaxer to buy in a supermarket is an example of direct observation. In contrast, indirect observation implies that some record of past behaviour is observed. In other words, the behaviour itself is not observed, rather its effects are reserved. And observer engage in indirect observation generally looks for physical traces of behaviour or occurrence of an event. For example if he is interested in knowing about the liquid consumption of a household, he will look for empty liquor bottles in the garbage. Similarly, the observer may seek the permission of the housewife to see the pantry. In this case, the researcher carries out a pantry check or audit to ascertain the consumption of certain types of products. Here consumption is estimated from the disappearance of product from the pantry or kitchen cupboards. We have to point out that the success of an indirect observation largely depends on how best the observer is able to identify physical traces of the problem under study. Direct observation is far more common than indirect observation.

2. Observation under natural setting laboratory setting : observation may be conducted in a natural setting or environment where the consumer is observed without any contact with the researcher, and there is little if any manipulation of the environment. For example, the observer can watch the behaviour of shoppers standing in line at a supermarket or customers in a bank. In such cases, the subjects are usually unaware that they are being observed.

 One feature of the natural setting is that the recession has very little control and so a variety of factmay influence results. In addition, the observer may have to wait a long time for a natural event or the behaviour he is interested in to take place. Therefore, it is often necessary to create an artificial laboratory setting where subjects are invited to participate, often for payment. For example, consumers are invited to attend a movie or the showing of television programs, in which certain commercials are placed. Their reaction to these commercials is observed. To test consumer reaction a new product or packaging designs, researchers will often construct a simulated stock, where subjects are asked to make selection decisions from a section of a supermarket aisle which has been set up for the purpose of the research.
 observations in field studies are in their natural settings and are, therefore, undertaken in extremely realistic conditions. Observation in a laboratory setting, on the other hand, enables the observer to control extraneous variables which influence the behaviour of people.

Structured or unstructured observation : structured problem has been formulated precisely and the observers have been told specifically or exactly what is to be observed. They may be given a sample form to record their observations. Unstructured observation implies that the observers are free to observe whatever they consider relevant or important. Where little is known concerning the topic or problem being studied, the observer is given more freedom to record information.

 4. Disguised or undisguised observation :  in disguise observation, the subjects  Do not know that they are being observed. In some cases, disguised observation may be made by the observer posing as one of the shoppers. It is not always possible to prevent the subject from being aware of the observer. So in open or undisguised observation, the subject knows that he is being observed. Disguised observation is often performed to open observation because it is feared that people might believe differently when they know that they are being observed.

5. Human or Mechanical Observation :  Much observation will simply involve an observer watching other people or events. Most of the studies in marketing research are based on human observation wherein trained observers are required to observe and faithfully record their observations. In other cases, some mechanical or electronic devices may be used to record behaviour or in conjunction with human observation. For example, the eye camera, The pupilometric camera and motion picture camera.  a device known as the audiometer is attached to a radio set for recording automatically the station to which the radio set is tuned. This is supposed to give an idea of the size of audience for a particular program. Similarly, the size of audience watching a particular tv vision programme can be ascertained full mechanical devices, which enabled the manufacturer, who has sponsored the program, analyse whether it has been reviewed by a sizable number or not.