Observation is a scientific method of research that involves the active collection of information from a source (a phenomenon, an individual, a situation) by a researcher or an instrument. Observation can be quantitative (i.e., a phenomenon is measured or counted) or qualitative (i.e., a property of the phenomenon is registered as absent or present). Experimental research uses observation in quasi-artificial environments, such as laboratories, with the aim of controlling factors and manipulating variables, which can affect the results. In social sciences and marketing, observational research relates to the direct observation of individuals and phenomena in their natural environments and is often called field research.

If the researcher observes individuals in a laboratory or in a natural context, she is not necessarily involved in the interactions between ...

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