Free Field Work Observation Essay Essay Sample

Human are social beings and for this reason the study of human behavior is one of the most important parts of understanding human development.

A study was conducted to try to learn consumer behavior of both women and men in a shopping mall; an observation was used as a tool for data collection. The main social behavior under analysis was consumer behavior of men and women. The research was targeted at how an individual behaves while buying and how he or she is influenced by various displays of fashion and items in a shop or supermarket.

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This behavior was of so much interest that consumption levels of individuals affected the net expenditure rates and savings. Expenditures on items affect how much someone spends money on another product. Since products have substitution, buying one item economically determines whether you’ll buy another one. Consumption behavior affects relationships and marriages of a person who provides money for a purchase. The research has also been conducted into this area of interest and some previous researches have shown that a gender difference has a very big bearing in consumer behaviors. Some researchers have found that women tend to react more strongly at personal levels to goods on display than men, while men tend to be so rigid and only interested in fewer things than women. According to the research carried out in one of the shopping malls in Toronto, Canada, it was found out that men are buyers but at a woman shop. Shopping for men is like a mission, men are in a hurry to get in a shop, buy a targeted item and to leave immediately.

In this research it has been concluded that women tend to be moved by body wares in comparison with men. Women love shopping, while men do not really give it a priority.

Research Methodology

This research is focused most on observation and note-taking. The research setting was in urban outfitters/shopping centre located in Santa Monica, 3Promenade Street. The mall is open seven days a week and it stocks all ware for males and females plus other goods apart from foodstuff. The research was conducted between a span of eight days from November 11, 2011 to November 19, 2011 on specific days. The subject of this research included all customers who visited the outfitters shop on specific days of observation; there were women, men, old and young ladies or men.

Field notes were taken in books and also on camera videos, all observations related to the actions of consumers were recorded. The observation ranged from talking, communication, inquiries, gestures and movements. Everything relevant was pinned down or captured on a camera. In most cases, a customer, who had moved in, was followed and closely monitored right from the time he or she entered the shop up to his or her leave, concerning what he or she bought and his or her  movements and exchanges in the shop.

The observation happens to be the most efficient way of acquiring such information, especially related to behavior. While carrying out an observation, a person under investigation is not conscious of what is going on and, therefore, a researcher is likely to get a real picture of what he wants. During such situations as questionnaires or interviews a respondent may give false information for his or her favor and hide some facts in attempts to hide a secret.

Carrying out observations and recording, a researcher doesn’t interfere with the activities of subjects under investigation, the time of subjects is not consumed or interrupted; he or she can go on with his normal duties without interference, since his or her attention is not needed.

Analysis of Field Observations

The world has been becoming more and more gender-sensitive than before, and one of the gender sensitization areas is equality between men and women. The debate as to how and on what basis women and men differ has generated more heat than satisfaction. Some say that there is no difference between men and women; however, in this observatory kind of fieldwork nothing was displayed more than the fact that women and men had very fundamental social differences. The behavior of women and men, when it comes to buying, appeared to be a drama and an interest to learn.

Women like crowding when they go to shop, a crowd gives them morale pleasure to check and evaluate what they want to buy, women will always take their time checking and testing dresses on themselves, whether they fit them or not. When women go shopping in groups, they tend to rely on a decision of their fellows, whom they are buying with; they ask one another person, whether what they are about to purchase is really good enough or not. It could be seen that most ladies would prefer buying what everyone considers good, even if they themselves may have not bought it.

On the other hand, men were seen to be too narrow and semi-interested in shopping, they would always go directly into a station, where they know a thing they want is located. They appeared to be in a hurry and rushing to finish and leave. Majority of men do not like a crowded environment in shops, they would rather prefer to wait at some corner till a crowd decreases, then they can go and do their purchases. As it was evident majority of men attempted to avoid overcrowded shelves, especially those crowded with females.

It is observed that this behavior have apparently contributed to the arrangement of various men and women ware in a shop. Most women goods occupy more than fifty percent of the shop’s display. Women items are also located close to an entrance to attract immediate attention of customers as they come in.

 The power of women is great upon their husbands and boyfriends as it has been observed during this field work. In a shop younger females work either in pairs of fellow women or with their husbands or boyfriends. Even when accompanied by their husbands or boyfriends, women were seen to do more purchases than men, by which they were escorted. Men waited for them with patience, when they selected what they wanted and even when testing their selections in the fitting room, men still patiently waited for them outside. Women shopping with their husbands made their husbands carry purchased items down to cashiers.

It was also typical of Indian Americans. A couple came to the shop as a group accompanied with their child and it so happened that wherever the lady went to check and make a purchase, she was accompanied by her husband and all the time during the session the load of purchased goods was resting on the husband. He carried everything all the way to cashiers, paid money and left and the lady was seen walking freely and at peace.

Women appear to bear much power in a shop as things are done for them, they make choices of what they want; carriage and payment is made by a husband who will in no way use the items selected. This social behavior is demonstrative of the fact that men would always feel satisfied, when they have good-looking ladies. As long as a lady is satisfied in her heart and demands, men are fine. It looks more like a responsibility on the side of men.

Men appeared different from women in their choices of items. Men are moved by gadgets and technical devices, such as cameras and toys. They were seen flocking near instruments entertaining and giving fun, namely toys, cartoons and others. Men were mostly seen to be interested in fewer items (for example, toys, books and electronics), unlike women who were moved to every item on their way as long as it was attractive to their eyes. Women looked at everything on their paths, as they walked and always caught one or two things in their hands. Gestures are important ways of communication among humans. During this observation it has been found out that certain body movements and facial expressions can be used to pass communication. Standing in a queue, men appeared to be so rigid and fixed demonstrating impatience and a lack of interest. Their postures can tell of a state of hurry and time wastage and, to some extent, it can be a gesture of dissatisfaction about the service at a cashier desk. On the other hand, women were not bothered by a long queue, they could still be seen looking side and around at some items. Some were attracted by other items on display prompting them to buy. For ladies on a line there was not so much time wastage, but an opportunity to chart and talk with their neighbors. Some men just used gestures to make their partners learn that they were getting late. For example, a husband and their child, accompanying their mother to buy clothing items, leave a wife, talking too long selecting goods, to demonstrate that time is up.

Young ladies like walking in groups or in pairs; although during the field work there was only one occasion, when a lady was seen shopping alone. This behavior is common because in this social age group they believe in a collective judgment and decision-making. They also feel more secure, when they are with one another than when alone. They feel more comfortable when they have someone to confide in. Older ladies, especially grannies, were seen walking alone and sometimes accompanied by their grandchildren. They were also seen doing general buying of items belonging even to men. This was an indication of a family responsibility; they purchased items for their husbands and for their children.

Women are much moved by the items of beauty than their men counterparts. Women were seen selecting items and looking in the mirror to confirm if the dress they had picked was good and nice-looking. The number of men visiting the shop also indicates that men don’t like going shopping. During all days of the field exercise, there were generally fewer men doing shopping than females, women do regular buying than men and so they are more frequently seen in shops.

Men also did not like staying in the mall so long, they looked for what they wanted and as soon as they got it they left, on the contrary to women who appeared to be more relaxed and patient till they got what they were looking for.

It is also evident that businessmen or investors will be always guided by market forces and consumer preferences in their operations. This was witnessed in the arrangement of goods in the store. Women items were both on the first floor and on the ground floor. This was because women were seen everywhere and their purchase were influenced by what they saw. They are moved to beautiful things. Men are restricted by their interests and demands and they look so restricted in spending. Thus, their items were few and located deep inside the shop. When there is an opportunity to make more sales, businessmen will maximize it, and for this reason more attractive products are hanged near queuing lines next to a cashier, since they know someone will be moved to buy.


The study about human lifestyle and behavior is important for understanding the social life. And among various methods of data collection, observation has appeared to be the best way of studying certain kinds of human behavior, for example, consumer dynamics.

Observation is easy, cheap and convenient concerning subjects; it involves getting data in its natural setting without affecting subject’s daily activities. In this field exercise it has been discovered that women are very influential, when it comes to buying, they are moved by different tastes in comparison with men. Women are more moved by the items of beauty than their men counterparts. Women were seen selecting items and looking in the mirrors. The responsibility of men for their women was also displayed in this research, since men were responsible for payment of purchases made by ladies they were accompanied with; they also carried purchased items to cars.

More detail analysis should be carried out to evaluate the behavior of females and males respective to purchasing and consuming food products, besides wares, on which this research ia focused. I would also recommend conducting a research to establish if it is possible for women to be motivated or driven by the same consumption heat using their own money, should men happen not to be a source of money? And in this case a study involving only women should be allowed. There can also be an inclusion of other methods of data collections, namely questionnaire and observations integrated.

The findings of this research have established that there exists a differential consumer or purchasing behavior among different age groups and genders, and that this social behavior is exploited by businessmen to make sales.

Group Process Report

Working in groups is vital for the outcome of research undertaking. In this research, the observation of group work was involved; attention was divided, since some group members focused on some people, while others looked at behaviors of others. If all people had focused attention on one person, they wouldn’t have observed the others. Labor division played a critical role, since some group members were given a duty of capturing movements on camera, others were taking notes and were standby to remind the rest of what they had missed.

Group cooperation ensures that there is no observable activity that skips attentions of a researcher: group work also eliminates bias and cannot contain much suspicion in comparison with the case when only one person sees it.

This experience in the city shop opened the eyes of many people to the social aspects and behavior, about which many would not have known; it was all a positive experience.


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