Observation of individuals

There are many applications of personal observation techniques. Hand counters were employed for many years in making counts of pedestrians in and around shopping centres. Personal observation is used in most surveys: the interviewer, for example, records observations about gender, age and apparent socioeconomic status. Another personal observation method which has become fashionable is called the 'anthropological' approach.3 It is almost totally subjective and amounts to an almost live-in approach within a few households or shopping places. It is used to arrive at generalisations about living styles relevant to the specific product.


A well-known car producer 'discreetly' observed car shoppers as they inspected cars in showrooms. Observations included how shoppers were dressed, whether they appeared confident or timid, whether they kicked the tyres and what questions they asked.

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