May 8 – Observation

Readings:

Slides: http://www.stanford.edu/class/symsys130/SymSys130-5-8-2013.ppt.pdf. A few points:

  • The “example scenarios” can be used to illustrate the appropriateness of different methods of observation, e.g. a student who wants to know whether studying with music improves test performance might do a regression-discontinuity study in which the bottom half of scorers on a test are told to listen to music while studying for the next test. If the regression line shifts up or down for the bottom testers relative to the upper range ones, this is evidence the manipulation proved effective or harmful, depending on the result. Mike Krieger, a SSP alum who co-founded Instagram, recommends to startup entrepreneurs that they undertake informal ethnographic observations to get an idea of how consumers shop.
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