18.104.22.168 Observation as the exploratory stage for further quantitative research Some quantitative social research traditions have made use of observation techniques at the initial stage of social survey research. This is known as the exploratory stage, which is used to identify the general areas of the survey and the specific detail around which the questions might be constructed (Barton and Lazarsfeld, 1955).
Brewer (2000, pp. 164–5) sees observation techniques as useful when the topic is novel or subtle and there is no initial basis for constructing closed question. Barker and Polson (1999), for example, used observation initially, to determine suitable questionnaire categories in their study of the effectiveness of a consumer health information shop.