Observational Research

Method of data collection, often associated with Qualitative Research, that watches customers as they perform activities either in a laboratory or in a natural setting (e.g., shopping in a retail store, using products at home).

Primary Research

An approach to data collection where original data is collected for the marketers own needs or for the needs of a specific client.

Ethnographic Research

A form of Observational Research where researchers follow customers at work, home and when shopping in order to see how they make decisions, use products and learn other information.


The process of gathering information to learn about something that is not fully known.

Research Design

A plan to collect information within a specific type of research method.

Survey Research

Method of data collection, often associated with Quantitative Research, that captures information through the input of responses to a research instrument containing questions (i.e., questionnaire).

Research Instrument

Research method used to record information gathered during a research study that range from basic methods, such as a questionnaire that record participant responses to research questions, to highly advanced electronic measurement where respondents are connected to sophisticated equipment.

Research Reliability

A concept in conducting research that is concerned with making sure the method used to gather data leads to consistent results that would be duplicated if others follow the same methods.