Types and methods of formalized observations - Marketing research

5.4. Types and methods of formalized observations

The second group of methods used in carrying out descriptive studies is observation, i.e. organized, systematized registration of objects, events and the way people act. The observer, unlike the interviewer, does not come into contact with the objects of observation.

Observations are classified for several reasons.

First, they are formalized and unformalized . In the first case an analogue of the questionnaire is compiled and registration of strictly defined actions and events is carried out. For example, when analyzing the mentions in the press of certain persons, a list of these persons is drawn up in advance, criteria are worked out, according to which every mention is made (whether it is positive, neutral or negative, what type of newspaper material, etc.). Thus, formalized observations are a typical method for descriptive studies.

With non-formalized observations, the researcher studies all aspects of the phenomenon or problem. Therefore, this method is more suitable for exploratory research; The conclusions obtained with his help are, in fact, only hypotheses.

Secondly, there are hidden and open observations. With hidden observations, the researcher can be disguised, for example, as a buyer, as a store employee. Here we use hidden cameras, semi-transparent mirrors, etc.

The meaning of hidden observations is to study the behavior of people in undistorted form. No polls, focus groups, etc. Such an opportunity is not provided. So, for example, once in the fund "Public opinion" a focus group was arranged for the order of a large insurance company. One participant from all the descriptions of insurance products offered to her on the cards preferred the most profitable, although the most risky option. When asked to explain her choice, she said: "I never risk, I decided at least

here take a risk & quot ;. So, the behavior of respondents, recorded in the course of surveys, focus groups, etc., may differ from their natural behavior. At the same time, researchers can not agree on how much these distortions are significant.

Thirdly, observations occur in natural and specially created conditions . For example, you can observe how people eat in the "Mc Donalds", and you can invite them to eat in a specially created test place. In the Foundation, Public Opinion, for example, after the focus group on ketchup Heinz, the respondents were given a reward, brought to a specially created counter for this occasion and offered to choose and buy ketchup.

The advantage of observing in vivo is the absence of distortion. The disadvantage is a higher cost: we must wait for the phenomenon of interest to the researcher.

Fourthly, by the method of conducting observations are divided into personal, hardware, audit content analysis and trace analysis .

With personal observations, the researcher watches, for example, the movement of people in the store. Based on the data obtained, the layout of departments and storefronts is improved, the layout of goods is specified.

For example, with the help of personal observations, the Japanese company & quot; Canon & quot; found the reason for the low sales of their goods. Three employees of the company went shopping, pretending to be buyers. It turned out that the sellers are not enthusiastic, offering buyers products "Canon". It was decided to open a network of branded stores and not sell more of their goods in places that are not prestigious for them.

Hardware observations are made using a variety of devices. It was mentioned above, for example, about TV-meters (see page 92). These devices record which channel in each family from the panel at each moment of time receives the TV. More advanced instruments are meter meters. They register also who watches TV. Another example of hardware observations is the instruments that allow estimating the flows of people in one or another place. It has already been mentioned above (see p. 77) that the "WATCOM" company is engaged in the development, installation and operation of such devices in our country, which currently delivers to the market of marketing research important information about the dynamics of consumer flows in shopping centers: the so-called index by WATKO.

A real revolution in this area was the system of registration of goods on the universal commodity code.

Hardware observations are also performed using the following devices:

o glimpse viewers (how the respondent considers advertising or some other object presented to him);

o pupil size recorders (with constant illumination, the pupil expansion means interest);

o psychogalvanometers that record the electrical conductivity of the skin, depending on what the person is saying (polygraph or "lie detector"). The portable device (Figure 5.3), which along with the dynamics of physical parameters such as respiration rate, cardiovascular activity, registers the electrical conductivity of the skin, was developed in 1933 by L. Killer, an employee of the laboratory of scientific methods of crime detection in the Northwest University of the United States;

o voice analyzers. In the early 1990s. in our country, a psychologist V. Alekseev developed one of the first methods of recognizing psychological features and the state of a person by his voice. To use this method, you only need a computer, a high-quality microphone and special software. In terms of its effectiveness, this method is not inferior, in particular, to the polygraph, which registers the electrical conductivity of the skin. However, this method has not received wide distribution. But on sale there is a miniature Truster device developed with Israeli military technology with similar functions (Figure 5.4).

He allows for the voice to determine a person's condition, his psychological and emotional reactions. You can use it either by connecting to a mobile phone or voice recorder, or in a personal conversation.

Fig. 5.3. Polygraph

Before you begin the analysis, you need to calibrate the instrument by tuning it to the voice of another person.

This usually takes no more than 30 seconds. When the calibration is completed, the device automatically switches to the operating mode and begins to reflect the level of veracity of the interlocutor's statements.

The result is displayed on the screen as a bitten apple and a lid over the kettle. Apple is characterized by excitement and cunning: slightly bitten - suspicious excitement, half - an attempt to avoid an answer, stub is a lie. The position of the lid describes the level of stress: on the kettle - the person is calm, flew into the air - irritated, flew to the limit - furious.

The website of the online store porta.ru provides the following example of using this device.

Several calls were made to companies selling computers and peripherals. Truster was connected to a mobile phone. The following questions were asked for the calibration: "What is your company called?", "What is your name?", "Can you help me on this matter?" etc. When the calibration was over, a series of questions were asked, to which sellers usually lie or exaggerate their answers (in parentheses are the indications of the Truster device).

I want to buy a good computer. I'm not an expert in this field, so I ask you to advise which is better in terms of productivity and price. How much do you expect? I have about 800 dollars. Excellent. We will pick you the best one. (& quot; Subject is uncertain. & quot;) Here is the configuration of the machine ... It's all worth $ 804. How, in your opinion, is this a good machine? Yes, it's a very good computer. (& quot; False. & quot;) Does the S3 Trio 1MB video card support 3Dfx? Yes. ("False statement.") Well, I take. Do you deliver for free? No, only at your expense. ("The subject is not sure." When repeated calls it turned out that the delivery is free.) What form of payment? Non-cash. ("Inaccuracy"). Can I take a slightly better configuration by paying the same amount, but in cash? Come, let's talk ... (& quot; Truth & quot;.)

Fig. 5.4. Truster

It should be noted, however, that the opinion of the effectiveness of lie detection by voice is not generally accepted;

o the answer laggers (the delay is associated with the confidence in the answer).

o Tachopes - devices that allow you to alternately show respondents the tested objects, for example, samples of different packages of goods. The shortest duration of the show, in which respondents can learn the product by its packaging, is an important characteristic of the visual impact of the package. The problem of using such devices is to calibrate them.

The essence of audit observation methods is that the researcher himself extracts and analyzes data from various documents, for example reports, invoices, calculations, etc. For example, back in the 1970s. in NGO & quot; Chrometavtomatika & quot; with the help of this method, with the participation of the author, the work of the converter shop of the Chelyabinsk Metallurgical Combine was studied. According to a long series of monthly statistics, an economic-statistical model of the shop's work was built. It linked its economic indicators to technological ones (the share of smelting that could be released without corrective operations - the so-called blowdowns) and organizational (duration of converter downtime) factors.

The most common type of audit is warehouse audit, when the movement of different brands of goods is studied.

The problem of audit is the complexity of access to such information and, consequently, the high cost of the method.

Content analysis is used for formalized monitoring of content of various publications or broadcasts. Of course, the subtext is measured, but the external side of the taxonomies: [Marketing, online, university, descriptive, excellent, articles] content: the use of certain words or types of words, certain parameters of the program or article. You can measure, for example, the frequency of mention of a particular politician in the media. Another example is the content of advertising appeals: let's say how often among the heroes of commercials there are young women.

Trace analysis is an analysis of traces that people leave - intentionally or accidentally. An example of such an analysis may not be the most pleasant, but interesting, study of the contents of garbage bags. According to these data it is possible to estimate the amount of consumption by a family of certain packaged goods. This analysis, conducted by the University of Arizona, showed that in the US, the poor eat meat and drink milk at the same frequency as the rich.

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