COLLECTION OF DATA – OBSERVATION METHOD

COLLECTION OF DATA:

  • The primary data can either be collected through observation or direct communication with respondents in one form or other through personal interviews.
  • There are several methods of collecting primary data, particularly in descriptive researches, the important ones are:
    1. Observation method,
    2. Interview method
    3. Questioners
    4. Through schedules etc.

Observation method:

  • The observation method is the most common method specially in studies related to behavioural sciences. Under the observation method, the information is sought by way of investigator’s own direct observation without asking from the respondent.
  • For instance, in study relating to consumer behaviour, the investigator instead of asking the brand name of wrist watch used by the respondent, may himself look at the watch.
  • If the observation takes place in natural settings it may be termed as uncontrolled observation, but observations takes place to pre-arranged plans, involving experimental procedure the same is termed as, controlled observation.
  • The main advantage of this method id that subjective bias is eliminated, if observation is done accurately.
  • Secondly, the information obtained under this method relates to what is currently happening; it is not complicated by either the past behaviour or future intentions or attitudes.
  • Thirdly, this method is independent of respondents’ willingness to respond and as such is relatively less demanding of active cooperation on the part of the respondents as happens to be the case in the interview of the questioner method.
  • This method is particularly suitable in studies which deal with subjects who are not capable of giving verbal reports of their feelings for one reason or the other.
  • Limitations:
  1. It is expensive.
  2. The information provided is very limited
  3. Unforeseen factors may interfere with the observational task.

Structured observation:

  • In case the observation is characterized by:
  1. The style of recording the observation information,
  2. careful definition of the units to be observed,
  3. Standardized conditions of observation and;
  4. Selection of pertinent data of observation;

Then the observation is called a structured observation.

  • It is appropriate for descriptive studies.
  • e.g., fisher price toys carry out an observational study before launching a new toy in the market. The observer is supposed to record the appeal of the toy for the child; how often he picks it up from the collection of toys available, what is the attention span, and what is the reaction of the child after playing with the toy.

 

Unstructured observation:

  • When observation is to be carried out without considering the above characteristics to be thought of in advance, it is termed as unstructured observation.
  • The chances of bias are high as the observer has his/her presumption about the situation being observed.
  • e.g., the observation of consumer experiences at a service location like bank, restaurant, clinic to get into an insight into the intangible need and individual behaviour of service personnel. It will help in identifying the elements that might create an unhappy experience or might lead to customer delight.
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