The primary objective of descriptive research is to describe a situation or phenomenon in a systematic manner. It cannot answer the ‘whys’; however, it can answer the questions of “what”, “when”, and “where”.
Several research methods can be adopted to investigate the variables in question in a descriptive research design. This type of research differs from experimental research in a lot of ways. For example, researchers can manipulate or control certain variables; however, in descriptive research, the researcher can merely observe and measure them.
When the main aim of the research is to identify specific characteristics or trends, descriptive research becomes the ideal choice. On the other hand, when the topic or problem is relatively obscure, descriptive research helps to unveil more facts and data about it. Here are some example questions for your reference:
Descriptive research is often categorised as quantitative; however, it can also include qualitative research. Therefore, it is important to develop the research design carefully since it will ensure the accuracy and reliability of the research.
Surveys: Surveys allow the collection of large sets of data that can be analysed for patterns and other characteristics aligning with the research goal. Some of the common uses of surveys include:
Observations: Observation allows you to collect data without having to rely on the accuracy of the respondents. Data like behaviour, routines etc., can be understood by powerful observation. Observation is a powerful tool in psychology and social research since it helps researchers analyse real-world scenarios.
Observation is also an essential aspect of research in natural sciences since researchers need to observe and inspect physical objects and phenomena. Therefore, you must systematically observe and describe the subject before developing any testable models, theories, or hypotheses.
Case Study: Case studies help to describe and analyse a specific subject like a person or a group instead of dealing with large sets of data. Subjects can be very easily narrowed to identify their characteristics for your descriptive research.
When analysing case studies, generalised facts are replaced with scenario-specific facts, challenging assumptions or revealing something about the research.
The main aim of a descriptive research question is to describe the variable measured in the research.
The main methods of conducting descriptive research include surveys, case studies and observation.
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