A field study is a general method for collecting data about users, user needs, and product requirements that involves observation and interviewing. Data are collected about task flows, inefficiencies, and the organizational and physical environments of users.
Investigators in field studies observe users as they work, taking notes on particular activities and often asking questions of the users. Observation may be either direct, where the investigator is actually present during the task, or indirect, where the task is viewed by some other means like a video recorder set up in an office. The method is useful early in product development to gather user requirements. It is also useful for studying currently executed tasks and processes.