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Chapter. 8. Observation, Focus Groups, and Other Qualitative Measures. Research. Quantitative research: research involving the use of structured questions in which response options have been predetermined and a “large” number of respondents are involved

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Observation, Focus Groups, and Other Qualitative Measures

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  • Quantitative research:research involving the use of structured questions in which response options have been predetermined and a “large” number of respondents are involved

  • Qualitative research: collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data based on what people do and say with smaller samples

  • Pluralistic research:combination of both quantitative and qualitative research methods in order to gain the advantages of both

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Observation Techniques

  • Observation methods:techniques in which the researcher relies on his or her powers of observation rather than communicating with a person in order to obtain information

  • Types of observation (will explain later):

    • Direct versus indirect

    • Disguised versus undisguised

    • Structured versus unstructured

    • Human versus mechanical

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Observation Techniques…cont.

Direct versus Indirect

  • Direct observation:observing behavior as it occurs

  • Indirect observation: observing the effects or results of the behavior rather than the behavior itself

    • Archives (written records)

    • Physical traces (erosion or accumulation/accretion)

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Observation Techniques…cont.

Disguised versus Undisguised

  • Disguised observation:subject is unaware that he or she is being observed

  • Undisguised observation: respondent is aware of observation

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Observation Techniques…cont.

Structured versus Unstructured

  • Structured observation:researcher identifies beforehand which behaviors are to observed and recorded

  • Unstructured observation: No restriction is placed on what the observer would note: all behavior in the episode under study is monitored

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Observation Techniques…cont.

Human versus Mechanical

  • Human observation:person or persons observe behavior (person hired by the researcher, clients, or perhaps the observer is the researcher)

  • Mechanical observation: human observer is replaced with some form of static observing device(audio and or visual recording)

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Observation Techniques…cont.

Appropriate Conditions for the Use of Observation

  • Short duration

  • Public

  • Faulty recall (difficult for person to remember accurately what was done) conditions

  • Person is unaware of behavior

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Observation Techniques…cont.

Advantages of Observational Data

  • Insight into actual, not reported, behaviors

  • No chance for recall error

  • Better accuracy (versus self-reporting)

  • Less cost

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Observation Techniques…cont.

Limitations of Observational Data

  • Small number of subjects

  • Can only observe short-duration, frequently occurring events

  • Subjective interpretations (by observer)

  • Inability to to pry beneath the behavior observed (why was the behavior carried out - motivations, attitudes, and other internal conditions are unobserved)

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Focus Groups

  • Focus groups: small group (6 – 12 people) discussions led by a trained moderator; homogeneous group; tightly bounded topic area

  • Objectives:

    • Generate ideas

    • Understand consumer vocabulary

    • Reveal consumer benefits sought, needs, motives, perceptions, and attitudes on products and services

    • Understand findings from quantitative studies

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Focus Groups

Moderator’s Role and Responsibilities

  • Focus group moderator: a person who conducts the session and guides the flow of group discussion across specific topics

  • Moderator characteristics:

    • Experienced

    • Enthusiastic

    • Prepared

    • Involving

    • Energetic

    • Open-minded

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Focus Groups

Reporting and Use of Focus Group Results

  • Factors to remember when analyzing data:

    • Some sense must be made by translating the qualitative statements of participants into categories and then reporting the degree of consensus apparent in the focus groups

    • Demographics and buyer behavior characteristics of focus group participants should be judged against the target market profile to assess what degree the group(s) represent(s) the target market

  • A focus groups analysis should identify major themes as well as salient areas of disagreement among the participants

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Focus Groups

Online Focus Groups

  • Online focus group: one in which the respondents and/or moderator (and sometimes clients) communicate and/or observe by use of the Internet; group members are at their own pc

  • Advantages:

    • No physical setup is necessary

    • Transcripts are captured on file in real time

    • Participants can be in widely separated geographical areas

    • Participants are comfortable in their home or office environments

    • The moderator can exchange private messages with individual participants

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Focus Groups

Online Focus Groups…cont.

  • Disadvantages:

    • Observation of participants’ body language is not possible

    • Participants cannot physically inspect products or taste food items

    • Participants can lose interest or become distracted

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Focus Groups – In General

  • Advantages:

    • Generation of fresh ideas

    • Client interaction

    • Versatility (many topics, other research techniques may be used, product tests, etc.)

    • May tap special respondents (drs., lawyers …)

  • Disadvantages:

    • Representative of the population?

    • Interpretation is subjective

    • High cost-per-participant ($150 - $200 each)

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Other Qualitative Research Techniques

  • Depth interview: aset of questions with probes, posed one-on-one to a subject by a trained interviewer to gain an idea of what the subject thinks about something or why he or she behaves a certain way

  • Protocol analysis: involves placing a person in a decision-making situation and asking him or her to verbalize everything he or she considers when making a decision (step-by-step)

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Other Qualitative Research Techniques…cont.

  • Projective techniques: involve situations in which participants are “projected into” another person, an inanimate object, or a simulated activity, with the hope that they will divulge things about themselves that they might not reveal under direct questioning. Types include:

    • Word association test

    • Sentence completion

    • Picture test (may include “headline” or statement)

    • Cartoon or balloon test

    • Role-playing activity

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Physiological Measurements

  • Physiological measurements: monitoring a respondent’s involuntary responses to marketing stimuli via the use of eye cameras, salinity detectors, blood pressure sensors, and other devices

    • Pupilometer (iris dilation/contraction)

    • Eye-tracking

    • Galvanometer

    • Voice Print Analysis (VOPAN)