Observation studies are common within the social sciences and especially within psychology related fields. Research in the area of Human factors is no exception and often makes use of a wide variety of observation techniques. Common observation techniques include the recording or observation of participants. More recently eye-tracking has become a valuable asset in this area of research.
Recording equipment and smartphones
The right recording equipment can make a big impact on your ability to analyze studies. Whether you use television studio like mobile field recording kits, static microphones, camera systems, the analysis or even simple smartphones can be of great use. Luckily the BMS lab has licenses for transcription software Amberscript and its very own Sociometry app. For a reliable analysis a good recording is essential. The assortment of recording equipment at the BMS lab features many items, ranging from the handy Zoom H4N microphones, to full field recording sets. Video recording is also possible thanks to the full sized (television like) cameras, a variety of Go Pros and smartphones.
The BMS lab has several forms of eye-tracking available. They do as the name suggests and track eye movement, gaze and stare. This means researchers can accurately follow reading and viewing patterns and answer questions related to visual stimuli. Both a version of the Tobii eye-tracker exists that can be easily attached to any screen (combine this with a screen capture device) or one that can be worn as a set of glasses. The latter allows for a wider use and even without the need of a screen, but is as a result more complex to analyze.
The use of observation rooms has been a long tradition in many fields associated with the social sciences. Through the use of a one-way-mirror one can unobtrusively observe a group of participants that take part in a study. The room allows for live recording and discussions while the session on the other side is going on.