Have you ever heard about descriptive research methods? Simply put, a descriptive study or research is all about analyzing a situation and attempting to solve it. Like a crime scene!
However, crime scene or not, descriptive studies can be an excellent way to improve your marketing and sales strategies to understand your target audience better. This technique can also be used to collect satisfaction feedback and analyze the work culture in your organization.
So, how do you get started? Here’s what you need. Read the blog to explore the actual definition of this technique and the three different methods you can follow to conduct this research.
What’s Descriptive Research?
As the name implies, descriptive research helps you understand the problem, derive characteristics and form your conclusion about it.
In other words, the primary objective of descriptive research examples is to identify specific patterns, analyze the background thoroughly, and understand the issue altogether. Diving deep into the matter and exploring the characteristics help determine your target group’s wants. This can help you improve your services and build the needed trust.
Descriptive research is not finding the answers, whys and how but analyzing the whats, whens and wheres of that situation or the problem.
Here are the key characteristics of this type of study/research:
- This type of research answers the “what,” “when,” and “where.” It is, therefore, popular among market researchers.
- The study sets an imaginative stage for the problem to find patterns and dive deep into the situation.
- It allows you to conduct analytical research and profound research.
- This type of study has nothing to do with variables. The role is simply to observe.
- The research is the perfect mix of qualitative research and quantitative research.
- This research is conducted in a natural setting by observing a particular environment without modifying it.
- The technique can be used in various fields, such as healthcare, politics, psychology, education, and even SaaS.
Related: Exploratory, Explanatory, and Descriptive Research
The Top Three Methods To Know
Before we get into analyzing each example of descriptive research, let’s take a look at how to do it.
Generally, descriptive studies can be done through three different methods.
Here’s an overview of all of them:
Simply put, a survey asks people a series of questions and gets their input so you can do your research. You can either do this in person and send the surveys through emails or by embedding the survey link on your website.
You must create a questionnaire by choosing a theme or template in your online form builder and distribute the survey to the desired respondents.
Which form builder should you choose?
The market is full of options. You can go for anyone, depending on your need and your budget. However, if you want suitable themes and pre-made templates at the lowest prices, SurveyPoint can be a great option.
It gives you a medium to easily create, share, track and analyze all without leaving the platform. You can also embed the like on your website and get respondents from the website, especially if you have high traffic.
Pros of conducting a survey:
- Surveys can help you go beyond the demographics and collect global data, given your objective.
- There are several options for sharing a survey.
- You can easily automate or edit the survey.
- Data tracking and collection can be a piece of cake.
Observation is just observing a specific behaviour and doing research based on that. In order to conduct a non-inclusive observation, we have three options.
- Overt Observation: This type of observation is about observing a situation to explain what actually happened. In short, you would have to go all James Bond on this one.
- Covert Observation: This technique involves you mixing in with a group of people without being detected and observing that group’s behaviour.
- Participatory Observation: In this case, the researcher participates in observation to gather inputs.
Pros of conducting an observation:
- Observation is a descriptive research example that helps you get the most accurate data without modifying the natural setting.
- You are not required to ask people to share their views.
- It is a universal technique that can be applied to any study area.
3. Case Studies
A case study involves the researcher studying a group of individuals over a period of time. An in-depth case study involves interviewing participants directly, observing their behaviours, and gathering archival data. Some studies might also apply qualitative methods of analysis.
For example, observing and interviewing employees who commute to work during the day and those who work night shifts may serve as a case study.
Pros of Case Studies:
- Case studies usually focus on a small group of people. It means that the gathered data is highly accurate and allows you to collect massive amounts of information.
- Direct contact with participants is necessary for case studies.
- You can use case studies to investigate anything unusual ethically.
Different Types of Descriptive Research Methods
Here are the seven different types of conducting a descriptive study or research:
- Cross-Sectional Research: It studies a group of people at a current time span. For instance, a cross-sectional study would be useful in adding internship requirements to a degree program. Since this requires only one set of data collection efforts, during which academics’ opinions are gathered.
- Longitudinal Research: It studies a group of individuals over a period of time. For instance, analyzing the changes in social attitude of a person since the onset of puberty.
- Normative Research: This study compares the result with the existing norms. For example, comparing two legal cases.
- Relational/Correlational Research: This technique involves observing two different patterns to find a connection, such as between music taste and mental health.
- Classification Research: The researcher arranges the data into categories based on a singular, similar trait.
- Archival Research: This involves searching for past records and tracking information from there. An example would be monitoring the US census to find the gap in the population.
Summing It Up
Descriptive research or studies can be a great way to conduct research in a non-invasive manner and gather data from the required group. And out of the three methods of achieving this type of research, surveys can be a great tool to collect actual data and make things work out for you.
Seeing a difference between two numbers is easy, but determining whether that difference is statistically significant takes a little more effort. Especially if your question has several possible answers or you’re comparing findings from different groups of respondents, the process can be tricky.
Invest in the right technologies to alleviate the burden of manual analysis. Streamline your workflow by letting SurveyPoint handle all the heavy lifting.
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Heena Shah – Content Writer at Sambodhi