There are a few different observation techniques that may be deployed. Customer participant observation allows subjects to take pictures or video to explain or support their view point about a research topic. Observation may be covert (disguised) or overt (open to the subjects) depending on research objectives.
Typically, observation is combined with interviews to gain synergy. A contextual inquiry is a depth interview conducted in the user’s natural setting. Metaphor elicitation uses subject generated content (e.g. pictures, drawings, video) as the basis for the interview in order to best tap into feelings and emotions within the subconscious mind.
Interview and observation are our preferred methods for studying qualitative issues because they uncover the depth and detail needed to feed the advanced surveys we use to address quantitative issues.