We’ve observed people everywhere: in stores, in homes, in offices, in blood donation centers, in bars, you name it! We’ve also observed them doing everything from shopping, to exercising, to unpacking groceries and making dinner. No place is too remote and no task is too mundane!
Observation is one of the hallmark methods of ethnographic qualitative research. Observing customer behavior in natural settings yields a huge amount of qualitative research data often without the researchers even engaging the consumers in conversations or guided interviews. Many levels of customer behavior or reaction are often displayed without the customer even being aware of these actions.
A trained ethnographic researcher picks up on these subtle presentations and uses the information gained from ethnographic observation to develop question areas for the interview portions of the research process. A consumer shop along, for example, allows our trained researchers to apply ethnographic observation techniques to a natural setting where customers are free to act as they would if they were on their own. Often this shop along technique is applied to convenience intercepts where consumers are observed first and then approached to participate in an interview.