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Researching human behaviour? Consider this first

man smiling bouncing soccer ball on head

If you want your organisation or brand to reach and engage people, then you need to understand them.

In a nutshell

  1. Behavioural science helps us to understand what people do - not what they say they do
  2. Methodologies range from techniques like eye-tracking through to observation studies and studies of online behaviour
  3. Use our checklist of guiding principles for behavioural research to help things right

Behavioural science is the study of human behaviour – the study of what people do and why they do it. 

Researchers in behavioural science use various methods to capture and measure human behaviour, and to develop and test theories that explain it. 

These methods range from behavioural observation studies to techniques such as eye-tracking and facial coding, to larger scale studies looking at online behaviour through passive metering and location tracking. 

There are more behavioural science methodologies at our fingertips than ever before - so if your brand or organisation isn't getting on board, then you’re likely missing out on some crucial insights. 

Keen to utilise behavioural science in your next project or campaign? 

Read below for everything you need to get your start. 

Behaviour vs attitudes 

Attitudes and beliefs are not always reliable indicators for behaviour. Put simply, what people say or believe doesn’t always match how they act.  

In addition, people can also be poor reporters of their own behaviour and subject to biases. For instance, people may want to share socially desirable answers, be misled by the type of questions, or struggle with poor recall or memory biases. 

For these reasons, researching behaviour and behavioural responses alongside - or even instead of - attitudes and beliefs can be incredibly valuable. 

Getting it right 

How we go about capturing human behaviour is important. That’s why we’ve created a checklist of the main principles to consider when researching behaviour across a range of different methodologies.  

Behavioural science guiding principles checklist

For more information, including an overview of different behavioural science methodologies, download the behavioural science guide here.  

Want to hear more about the different behavioural science methodologies we use at TRA? Get in touch with Behavioural Insights Lead, Lindsey Horne. 

Lindsey Horne
Behavioural Insights Lead
With a background in neuroscience and applied behavioural science, Lindsey works across behaviour change projects with social and government clients. Her approach to behaviour change is holistic, from broader cultural and social change through to behavioural economics and nudges.

Want to get in touch?

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