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Personal Observation

Part 2. Marketing Research

  1. Linda L. Price

Published Online: 15 DEC 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444316568.wiem02050

Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing

Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing

How to Cite

Price, L. L. 2010. Personal Observation. Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing. 2.

Author Information

  1. University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2010


Observation methods include all data collection in which participants are monitored, rather than being asked to give experimenters data directly. Observation can be quantitative (e.g., head counts) or qualitative (e.g., netnography). Personal observation is a subset category, in which the researcher is the primary instrument for monitoring and data collection, and is widely used with ethnography. Collection can be covert or overt, participatory or not, and can vary in degree of invasiveness to the participants' lives. Participant observation is a systemic recording and analysis of information gained while engaged in and observing activities, rituals, interactions, and events in order to uncover explicit and tacit aspects of the field of study. Personal observation raises many important ethical issues for researchers, including establishing limits to participation, finding the proper mix of observation and participation, and maintaining the anonymity of informants' studied.


  • observation methods;
  • ethnography;
  • netnography;
  • qualitative analysis;
  • field work