Automated Remote Research involves leveraging the internet and automated online tools to capture large amounts of specific user behavior and feedback which can inform design and usability enhancements.
Automated Remote Research is Day 5 of 100 Days of UX, an exploratory effort to survey the 100 methods of design outlined in Martin and Hannington's Universal Methods of Design. For 100 consecutive days, I learn one new method a day and write about it.
Remote Research comes in two flavors: Automated and Moderated. To better illustrate the difference between both, a fishing analogy would be apt. Automated remote research is akin to using a trawler to scoop up the fish from the sea while the fishers chill out in their heated cabin, while Remote Moderated Research would be using a pole to grab each individual fish.
Another way to look at the difference in flavors is in the nature of the data we get. Moderated lets us find out what we don't know (by observing/questioning behavior and context) while Automated lets us test our assumptions on specific questions.
Automated Remote Research can help researchers collect quantitative data about questions such as