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Data Collection Tool : We all have used this at least once in your life..

Collecting data or information in this manner can lead to rich findings with data points gathering from non verbal expressions, how people communicate, looking at time spent on certain activities.

Guessed what the data collection tool is?

Observation is a collection method, by which you gather knowledge of the researched phenomenon through making observations of the phenomena, as and when it occurs.

An inexpensive method for discovering about the research participant's behaviour and responses. Observations can also lead to discoveries of new information where surveys or questionnaires cannot.
Example : observing how shoppers make purchases at a certain aisle, observing how team members host a meeting.

The primary purpose of observations is to describe. Observation descriptions should include a description of the setting, any activities that occur in that setting, the individuals who were involved in the activities, and the significance of what was observed. Combining observation with photo-taking can lead to even richer information gathering about how learners use existing spaces.


  • Inexpensive, only requires time and note-taking materials

  • Can be used to gather evidence of actual behaviors in a space rather than reported behaviors through 3rd parties

  • Allows for observer to see routines and experience the spaces that the participants are in


  • Invalid observable data as participants may act differently when they know that they are being observed.

  • Difficult to make a final assessment based on just preferences and opinions from observation alone

  • High levels of observer bias: in some cases, the observer becomes so accustomed to his or her environment that he or she loses neutrality.

So what types of observation are you using?

Simple observation: the data collector collects simple numerical data Behavioral observation: the data collector interprets people’s behavior

So when would observational data be suitable?

  1. When You need to gather sensitive information, and you don’t trust your participants will be honest with their self-reporting.

  2. You need to understand the how or what of a research question.

  3. The topic is new, and you need robust data to explain consumer behavior.

  4. When behavior in a natural setting is vital to your research question.

  5. When behavior in a controlled setting is critical to your research question.

  6. If you are concerned that self-reported data about behaviors will differ from actual actions, even if it’s unintentional.

  7. When you need more information about a specific research question to formulate a more complete and accurate survey.

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