Observations are any type of research that can be carried out without asking questions and which consists of recording factual information and can be used in a large number of different ways.
For example we conduct in-store observation to assess consumer behaviour at the fixture, assessing price, promotions and the level of comparison with competitors. We also observe the number of pedestrians or traffic in an area across a time frame.
Compared with other methods, observational research offers the major advantage that the information is objective and does not depend on respondent co-operation and memory. It removes from consideration, therefore, all the usual concerns about the effect the research process itself has on the information obtained