When do I use Behavioural vs. Attitudinal research methods?

When do I use Behavioural vs. Attitudinal research methods? #

What users say is often different from what they actually do, the conscious vs. the subconscious mind. So you have to listen and observe from all dimensions to get a 360 degree user understanding before making any product design decisions.

–  Jasmine Moradi

Attitudinal vs Behavioural methods?  #

UX Research Methods Tools-Attitudinal vs Behavioural methods?

Image source: Nielsen Norman Group

What is Attitudinal Research? #

Attitudinal behaviour means “a manner of thinking, feeling, or behaving that reflects a state of mind or disposition you (the user) have towards digital products or services”. Think about questions such as; do you have an expressive positive or a dignified attitude towards a brand? Do you have an arrogant or aggressive disposition or behaviour towards the colour red? Why do you like or dislike this application’s feature? From a UX Researcher’s perspective it is all about discovering your preconceived attitudes or feelings toward an experience. Attitudinal research helps us to provide the reason why something is happening,”what you are saying” guides us to understand, map and measure your stated beliefs, so we can turn them into smart insights and useful everyday products.

When should I use Attitudinal Research methods?  #

We use attitudinal methods to gather qualitative insights into your thoughts, feelings, needs, attitudes, and motivations. It helps us categorize the attitudes or collect self-reported data to track or discover important issues to address together with our product and design team. It also helps us to tell your real voice by presenting powerful insights in the form of quotations and anecdotes: “It takes too long to buy this product on this website as I have to go through many steps”. Did you know what around 87% of online shoppers abandon their carts during the checkout if the process is too long or complicated?

What are the advantages vs disadvantage of Attitudinal Research? #


It helps us: 

  • understand the needs and wants of users
  • discover under-performing ideas and services
  • notice things others never thought of
  • turn users opinions and thoughts into strong design expertise
  • realize user’s positive and negative response towards a company’s offering


  • it creates bias as users answers may not be totally specific, because sometimes users might be influenced by others opinions as humans tend to agree with the majority
  • takes us time to find qualitative participants
  • because of society’s perception it might prevent users to be completely be honest in your response
  • to the extent to which a user has been experiencing and connecting with the product

What is Behavioural Research?  #

Behavioural science is a “discipline that aims to explain, predict, and influence human behaviour”. From a UX Researcher’s perspective it is all about discovering what you actually do when interacting with a digital product and/or services. Behavioural research helps us gather quantitative data about what’s happening when doing a task, – “what you are doing” guides us to understand, map and measure your behaviour, so we can turn them into smart insights and useful products. 

When should I use Behavioral Research methods? #

As humans behave differently than what they would say in an interview, we use behavioural research methods when we are interested to learn your actual behaviour. We aim to measure what you actually do, providing us quantitative data about how you actually interact with the product or service through open or closed scenario tasks.

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