Ethnographic market research aims to understand the consumer in her natural environment. Typical ethnographic research requires a skilled interviewer to conduct the research onsite or in the respondent’s home, but a growing trend in market research is to employ a technique known as Unobtrusive Observation, in which the ethnography takes place without the interviewer present. This method allows respondents to act naturally, uncovering deep insights into the motivational drivers of those behaviors.


On August 19, 2016, L&E hosted a webinar, The What, When, Why & How of Unobtrusive Observation, with guest speakers Abbe Macbeth, PhD and Jason Rogers, PhD of Noldus Information Technology. The webinar provided a practical guide through the unobtrusive observation ethnography process. This session is for both those new to observational research, and those well-seasoned in traditional ethnographies.

This session covers:

  • A comparison of unobtrusive observation and traditional methods (ethnography, focus groups)
  • An overview of observational research in consumer behavior
  • Research logistics: cameras, coding, and consequences
  • Examples and stories from past research  

Click here to download a PDF of the presentation from the webinar.