Unobtrusive Marketing Research Methods: An Overview

  •  Marcus Schmidt    


Still, most marketing and consumer behavior research is based on self reports from respondents. Subjects are asked to tell researchers about their opinions, intentions and purchase behavior. The advantage of self reports is that they are quick, easy and in most cases fairly reliable. However, research has shown that in some cases results based on self reports may be unreliable and/or invalid. In cases of low involvement and when sensitive topics are involved respondents’ answers may be biased due to back- and forwards telescoping, under- and over-reporting etc. In such cases the researcher may look for alternative ways of data collection. In this regard unobtrusive methods appear as a promising and underestimated alternative research technique. The paper shows how unobtrusive methods can be used for analyzing a selection of marketing research problems.

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