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Observation Research. “YOU SEE, BUT YOU DO NOT OBSERVE.” Sherlock Holmes Scientific Observation Is Systematic.

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Presentation on theme: "Observation Research. “YOU SEE, BUT YOU DO NOT OBSERVE.” Sherlock Holmes Scientific Observation Is Systematic."— Presentation transcript:

1 Observation Research

2 “YOU SEE, BUT YOU DO NOT OBSERVE.” Sherlock Holmes Scientific Observation Is Systematic

3 What is Observation Research? The systematic process of recording the behavioral patterns of people, objects, and occurrences as they are witnessed. –No questioning or communicating with people typically occurs. “Where observation is concerned, chance favors only the prepared mind.” –Louis Pasteur

4 What Can Be Observed PhenomenonExample Physical activities How a shopper moves through a retail store Verbal behavior Comments made by Wal-Mart checkout Expressive behavior Facial expressions of sports fans Spatial relations Where car owners stand when speaking w/ a mechanic Temporal patterns How long patients wait in an office before complaining Physical objects Brand of shoes/clothing golfers wear & use Verbal/pictorial records Comments left on Internet blogs Neurological events Brain activity in response to joy/disgust when reading nutrition information

5 Human vs. Mechanical Observation Human Observation –Human being is the observer. –More flexibility –Observer bias Mechanical Observation –A device is the observer/recorder. Traffic cameras Click-through rates Security cameras

6 Visible vs. Hidden Observation Visible Observation –Observer’s presence known to subject(s). –Reduced chance of privacy violations Hidden Observation –Subject(s) unaware observation is taking place. –Minimizes respondent error

7 Direct Observation Straightforward attempt to observe and record what naturally occurs The investigator does not create an artificial situation

8 Contrived Observation Investigator creates an artificial environment in order to test a hypothesis. –Airline passenger complaining about the peanuts may be a researcher investigating how flight attendants respond to complaints. –Mystery shoppers

9 Response Latency Recording the decision time necessary to make a choice between two alternatives It is presumed to indicate the strength of preference between alternatives.

10 Observation of Human Behavior Benefits Communication with respondent not necessary No distortions due to self-report (e.g.: no social desirability) bias No need to rely on respondents’ memory Nonverbal behavior data may be obtained

11 Observation of Human Behavior Benefits Certain data may be obtained more quickly Environmental conditions may be recorded May be combined with survey to provide supplemental evidence

12 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 Possible invasions of privacy

13 Observation of Physical Objects Physical-trace evidence –Wear and tear of a book indicates how often it has been read

14 Content Analysis 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

15 Physiological Reactions Eye tracking Pupilometer Psychogalvanometer Voice pitch

16 Eye Tracking Monitors Measure unconscious eye movements Record how the subject actually reads or views an advertisement

17 Pupilometer Device observes and records changes in the diameter of the subject’s pupils.

18 Psychogalvanometer Measures galvanic skin response –Involuntary changes in electrical resistance of the skin Assumption: –physiological changes accompany emotional reactions

19 Voice Pitch Analysis Records abnormal frequencies in the voice that (supposedly) reflect emotional reactions to stimuli

20 Measuring Physiological Reactions Problems Valid measure of future sales, attitude change, or emotional response? Measuring device sensitivity –Identifying arousal is one thing –Precisely measuring levels of arousal is another Measuring device(s)’ expense Subjects in artificial surroundings Subjects know they are being observed


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