There are numerous methods of collecting occupant-related data for the purpose of researching building occupants, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. The objective of this chapter is to guide the decision-making process for researchers who are about to embark on a new occupant data collection campaign. This chapter introduces Chaps. 6-8 by overviewing four methods for occupant research: in situ, laboratory, survey, and virtual reality. For each method, the advantages and disadvantages are laid out based on findings in the literature and the authors’ experiences. Next, a comprehensive list of occupant-related phenomena of interest is provided, along with a qualitative discussion of the merits of each data collection method for studying them. Finally, mixed methods research approaches- whereby multiple, complementary approaches are adopted in a single study-are briefly discussed. Following this chapter, the reader is presented with three chapters that provide recommended best practice for each of in situ (Chap. 6), laboratory (Chap. 7), and survey (Chap. 8) methods to researching occupants in occupants.

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O'Brien, W, Wagner, A. (Andreas), & Day, J.K. (Julia K.). (2017). Introduction to occupant research approaches. In Exploring Occupant Behavior in Buildings: Methods and Challenges (pp. 107–127). doi:10.1007/978-3-319-61464-9_5