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Descriptive Research: Defining Your Respondents and Drawing Conclusions

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Rather it addresses the "what" question what are the characteristics of the population or situation being studied? For example, the periodic table categorizes the elements. Scientists use knowledge about the nature of electrons, protons and neutrons to devise this categorical scheme. We now take for granted the periodic table , yet it took descriptive research to devise it. Descriptive research generally precedes explanatory research.

Hence, descriptive research cannot describe what caused a situation. Thus, descriptive research cannot be used as the basis of a causal relationship , where one variable affects another. In other words, descriptive research can be said to have a low requirement for internal validity. The description is used for frequencies , averages and other statistical calculations.

Often the best approach, prior to writing descriptive research, is to conduct a survey investigation. Qualitative research often has the aim of description and researchers may follow-up with examinations of why the observations exist and what the implications of the findings are.

In addition, the conceptualizing of descriptive research categorization or taxonomy precedes the hypotheses of explanatory research. Descriptive research is also known as Statistical Research. However, used properly it can help an organization better define and measure the significance of something about a group of respondents and the population they represent. When it comes to online surveying, descriptive is by far the most commonly used form of research.

But another common use of descriptive research would be the surveying of demographical traits in a certain group age, income, marital status, gender, etc.

This information could then be studied at face value, measuring trends over time, or for more advanced data analysis like drawing correlations, segmentation, benchmarking and other statistical techniques. The trick to conducting any type of research is to gain only valuable information. In the case of online surveying, your collected data should allow you to take action on a particular problem or opportunity facing your organization.

This is why it is essential to create research objectives before you jump into your survey design! Research objectives identify exactly what you are trying to discover in order to make educated decisions on the issues facing your organization. They could divide their research objectives based different aspects of their site, like navigation, quality of information, and aesthetics. The next step to effective descriptive research is to ensure your results accuracy.

This stems from limiting bias and error in your surveying design and research method. With sample surveys, error is unavoidable. That being said, it is important to control your margin of error and confidence levels by having a proper survey sample size.

Check out our Survey Sample Size Calculator to learn how many responses you need for your research. Want the full version to study at home, take to school or just scribble on? Whether you are an academic novice, or you simply want to brush up your skills, this book will take your academic writing skills to the next level. Don't have time for it all now?

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Descriptive research design is a valid method for researching specific subjects and as a precursor to more quantitative studies. Whilst there are some valid concerns about the statistical validity, as long as the limitations are understood by the researcher, this type of study is an invaluable scientific tool.

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Descriptive research is a study designed to depict the participants in an accurate way. More simply put, descriptive research is all about describing people who take part in the study. More simply put, descriptive research is all about describing people who take part in the study.

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Descriptive research can be explained as a statement of affairs as they are at present with the researcher having no control over variable. Moreover, “descriptive studies may be characterised as simply the attempt to determine, describe or identify what is, while analytical research attempts to establish why it is that way or how it came to be” [1]. Descriptive research Although some people dismiss descriptive research as ‘mere descrip- tion’, good description is fundamental to the research enterprise and it.

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Descriptive research methods are pretty much as they sound -- they describe situations. They do not make accurate predictions, and they do not determine cause and effect. There are three main types of descriptive methods: observational methods, case-study methods and survey methods. There are a variety of descriptive research methods available, and once again, the nature of the question that needs to be answered drives which method is used.