August 6, 2020

Descriptive Research Designs: Types, Examples & Methods

Descriptive Research Designs

Descriptive research

Descriptive research is the kind of research, which describes a situation, phenomenon or population that is being studied. It helps in answering the questions, such as what, where, when, and how of a research problem rather than asking why. This is mainly due to its significance of having a proper understanding of a research problem before investigations of its reason of existence at the first place. There are three distinct methods for conducting descriptive research, which are observational method, survey research and case-study method.

The example of descriptive research is an investor considering investment in the volatile housing market of Amsterdam, requires the understanding of the current state of market, when it changes, and how it changes, before asking why.

It is where the descriptive research comes in. The next example is of an apparel brand, which wants to gain the understanding of the fashion purchasing trends among the buyers of New York, will conduct the demographic survey for this region, population data will be gathered, and then descriptive research will be conducted on this particular demographic segment.

The descriptive research refers to the research questions, research study design, data analysis on the topic. Some of the distinct characteristics of descriptive research are as follows:

  • Descriptive research is referred to as a quantitative research method, which attempts for collecting quantifiable information for the statistical analysis of population sample. This is a popular tool of market research, which allows for describing and collecting the nature of demographic segment.
  • In the descriptive research, the variables are not influenced in any manner. It uses observational methods for collecting the research. Therefore, the variables nature or its behavior is not in researcher’s hand.
  • Generally, descriptive research is a cross-sectional study, where study is done on the different sections belonging to same group.
  • The researchers further research on the collected data and analyses from the descriptive research with the help of using different techniques of research. The data can be helpful in types of the research methods used for subsequent research.

Descriptive Research Application

The uses of a descriptive research method can be done in the multiple ways as well as for different reasons. Although, before getting into any kind of survey, the survey design and survey goals are quite crucial and important. Below are some of the ways that are currently used by the organization for descriptive research:

  • Defining characteristics of respondent: The main purpose of using close-ended questions is drawing concrete conclusions regarding the respondents. It could be the requirement to derive traits, behaviors, and patterns of the respondents. This could also be understood from the respondent, their opinion, or attitude regarding the phenomenon, such as understanding from millennials about the hours spend per week on browsing the internet. This information helps an organization for researching to make informed decisions of business.
  • Measuring trends of data: The researchers measure trends of data over time with the statistical capabilities of descriptive research design.
  • Conducting comparison: The companies also uses descriptive research design for understanding the way different groups responds to the specific services or products.
  • Validating the existing conditions:

    The researchers widely uses the descriptive research for helping to ascertain the prevailing conditions as well as underlying patterns of the research object. Moreover, because of non-invasive method research and quantitative observation’s uses, and some of the aspects of quantitative observation, the researcher observes the variables and conduct in-depth analysis.

    The researchers use it for validating any existing conditions, which may be prevalent in the population.

  • Conducting research at different times: The research analysis can be conducted at different period for ascertaining any differences or similarities. It allows for evaluating number of the variables. For verification, trends can be drawn by repeating research studies on the prevailing conditions.

Descriptive study

Descriptive studies are referred to as observational studies that explains the occurrence of disease patterns relating to the variables, for instance, time, place and a person. It is the first step or the initial enquiry into an event, a new topic, condition or disease. Descriptive study design is the scientific method that is consisting of observing and explaining the subject’s behavior without influencing it in any manner.

The primary goal of a descriptive study design is to assess the sample at a specific point if time, without trying to make any casual statement or inferences. Generally, there includes three significant reason of conducting descriptive studies, which are identifying the areas for further research, helping in planning for resources allocation, and providing informal information regarding a condition.

Descriptive Research Example

There include different examples of descriptive research, which may be highlighted from its uses, applications, and its types. Hence, following are the three distinct examples of descriptive research:

  • Behavior of Human: When studying the behavior of human based on an event or a factor, the researcher observes the reaction, behavior, and characteristics, and then use if to conclude. Further, an entity willing to sell to its target market, requires to first study the market behavior. It may be done with the help of observing the way its target reacts to the product of a competitor, and then use it for determining their behavior.
  • Scientific Classification: During the major scientific classification of animals, plants, and periodic table elements, the components and characteristics of each subject are evaluated as well as used for determining the way they are classified. For example, the classification can be based upon grouping of animals, such as mammals, vertebrae, and others.
  • Comparing the Performance of Students: An educational institution may wish to compare performance of its students of junior high school in Mathematics and English language. It may be used for classifying the students based on two major groups. The students who are more proficient in the mathematics or English language will be encouraged. The institutions may also use the data for identifying the weak points of students and work on the ways for assisting them.

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Bella Phillips

Bella Phillips is an essay writer at who is associated with the company for the past six years. She has finished her master's degree from the University of South West England and has served as a guest lecturer at several colleges.

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