What is descriptive research - voxco (2023)

If you are a store manager at a convenience store and need to create a report, all the findings, such as:which product sells the most, at what time of day it has more visitors or which product customers demand the most,All these observations and reports are descriptive investigations.

It is often the first step in any research, as the data you collect forms the basis of the research question. It is used to determine the problem you want to investigate before you fully realize it. The information will help you identify the problem.

In this blog, we've discussed the characteristics, types, pros and cons, and three ways to do this type of research to help you with your next market research.

What is descriptive research?

Descriptive research refers to methods that describe the properties of the variables under study. This methodology focuses on answering questions about the "what" rather than the "why" of the research topic. The primary goal of this research is simply to describe the demographic nature of the surrogate, rather than focus on the "why."

It is called the observational research method because none of the variables in the study are affected during the research process.

For example, let's say a UK-based brand is trying to establish itself in New York and wants to do so.understand demographicsof buyers who generally buy similar brands.

In descriptive research, the information obtained from the survey only focuses on the demographics of the population. It will reveal details about the buying behavior of different age cohorts in New York. It does not investigate why such patterns exist because the brand is trying to establish itself in New York.

You want to understand the buying behavior of the population, not why such associations exist. It is part ofquantitativelyMarket research or social research study that involves conducting surveys using quantitative variables in amarket research programosocial research program.

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What are the characteristics of descriptive research?

Among the many, the following are the main characteristics of this type of research:

  1. Quantitative investigation
  2. variable type
  3. cross-sectional studies
  4. Lead future research

Let's discuss these four features in detail.

1. Quantitative research:

It is quantitative since it seeks to collect and statistically analyze the information. This type of research is a powerful research tool that allows a researcher to collect data and describe the demographics of the data through statistical analysis. So it's aquantitative research method.

2. Variable type:

The variables included in this study are not controlled. You will not be manipulated in any way. Descriptive research uses mainly observational methods; therefore, the researcher cannot control the nature and behavior of the variables under study.

3. Cross-sectional studies:

This type of research examines different sections of the same group. For example, to study New York fashion preferences, the researcher might study both Generation Z and Millennials from the same population in New York.

4. Guides future research:

Because this research identifies and describes patterns between variables, researchers can further examine the data collected here. It guides researchers to further explore why such patterns and their association were found. Thus, it gives researchers a direction for insightful market research.

What descriptive research methods exist?

There are essentially three descriptive research methods:

  1. Supervision,
  2. opinion poll, and
  3. case study
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What is descriptive research - voxco (1)

We have explained how you can do this type of research in three different ways. Each method will help collect descriptive data and prepare the ground for a thorough investigation.

1. Method of observation

All research has some component of observation, this observation can be quantitative or qualitative. A quantitative observation involves the objective collection of data that is primarily in numerical form.

The data collected must be related or understood quantitatively.

Quantitative observations are analyzed usingSurvey Analytics Software.

Examples of quantitative observations include the observation of any variable related to a numerical value, such as age, shape, weight, height, height, etc.

For example, a researcher can understand a customer's satisfaction with their recent purchases by asking them to rate their satisfaction on alikert scalefrom 1 (very dissatisfied) to 7 (very satisfied).

Qualitative observations monitor the properties of a phenomenon and do not involve numerical measurements.

This type of descriptive research allows you to observe respondents from a distance in a natural setting. Because the respondents are in a natural environment, the observed features enrich and provide more information.

For example, you can monitor and record customer observations in a supermarket by observing their selection and purchasing behavior. This provides detailed customer insight.

With any type of research, you need to ensure high response rates to improve the quality of your findings.

2. Collection method

The survey method involves collecting responses from respondents through surveys or questionnaires. Surveys may also include surveys. They are the most common tool for collecting market research data.

Surveys are generally used to collect feedback from respondents. There should be a survey that takes into account bothopen and closed questions.

The biggest advantage of the survey method is that it can be done online or online.Offline survey tools. One of the reasons why the survey method is the first choice for descriptive research is that it requires the collection of large amounts of data in a limited period of time.

3. Case study method

In-depth investigation of an individual or a group is called a case study. Case studies generally lead to the development of a hypothesis for further research on a phenomenon. Case studies are limited in scope because they do not allow the researcher to draw cause-and-effect conclusions or make accurate predictions.

This is because these associations could reflect investigator bias rather than a natural phenomenon. Another reason for the limited scope of case studies is that they may only reflect an outlier respondent to the survey.

An outlier respondent refers to someone who differs from the average consumer, and when researchers make judgments about the entire target population based on that consumer, this can affect the external validity of the study.

[Read relatives: Descriptive vs. Experimental Research]

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What types of descriptive research are there?

There are seven types of descriptive research, depending on when you do it and what type of data research you are doing. We have briefly explained these seven types with examples so that you can understand them better.

1. Cross section:

A descriptive method for studying a specific group of people at a specific time.

(Video) What is sampling error?

Example: Tracking the use of social media by Generation Z in the Netherlands.

2. Together:

This type of descriptive study is carried out on a group of people over an extended period of time.

Example: Tracking changes in the extent of cyberbullying among Millennials from 2022 to 2024.

3. Regulation:

With this descriptive method, we compare the result of a study with an existing standard.

Example: Comparison of court rulings in similar cases.

4. Relational/Correlational:

We examine the nature of the relationships (correlation) between two variables in this type of descriptive research.

Example: Exploring the relationship between video games and mental health.

5. Comparison:

A descriptive study that compares two or more people, groups, or conditions based on some aspect.

Example: Comparison of the salaries of two employees in similar functions in two companies.

6. Classification:

This type of research classifies the collected data based on certain criteria in order to analyze it.

Example: Classification of customers based on their buying behavior.

7. Filed:

Descriptive study in which previous records are searched and information is extracted.

Example: Track company sales data over the decade.

We have discussed the descriptive method using examples. Now let's see how you can use this type of research in a real application.

Examples of descriptive research as part of market research

What is descriptive research - voxco (2)

This type of investigation helps you gather the information you need to understand the problem. Prepares the conditions for future research. But how can you use this in the real world?

We have explained its real-world application in three scenarios to help you determine where and where to use this type of research.

1. Sales Studies

This type of research allows you to analyze the potential of the market,what is currently popular on the market and which products have good sales prospects.You can also examine what circumstances are affecting market shares and when they are likely to go up or down.

This type of research can help you collectdemographicconsumer data.

2. Consumer perception and behavior studies

This research method allows you to analyze what consumers think about the brand.perceptionsabout products sold by a particular brand and the use of other competing products.

Using descriptive research, you can also analyze which promotional strategies worked to increase positive brand perceptions. Can you guessconsumer spending behaviorand how it is affected by product prices.

3. Studies on the characteristics of the market

Another way to use this research method is by analyzing the distribution of products in the market. You can collect contextual data on questions like"Which countries have more sales", "Which countries have fewer products, but the product sells out quickly", etc.

You also cananalyze the brand management of competitors; which strategy works for them and which doesn't.

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What are the applications of descriptive research?

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This research method is used for several reasons. Even after outlining the survey objectives andsurvey designsOther than collecting information through surveys, there is no way of knowing whether or not the research you do will match the predictions you make.

Here are some popular ways that organizations use this type of research:

1. Defining the characteristics of the respondents

Since most descriptive research methods use closed questions for data collection, this helps to draw objective conclusions about the respondents.

It helps to derive patterns, traits and behaviors of the respondents. It also aims to understand the attitudes and opinions of respondents about specific phenomena.

For exampleresearchers can understand how many hours young adults spend online, what they think about social media platforms, and how important these platforms are to them. This information helps the company make informed decisions regarding its products and brands.

2. Analysis of data trends

You can use statistical analysis to understand trends in data over time.

For example,Consider a clothing company that is launching a new clothing line. You can examine how Generation Z and Millennials are reacting to the fresh start. If they find that the new clothing line worked effectively for one group (Gen Z) but not the other, the company may stop producing clothing for the other group.

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3. Comparison of different groups

Also closely related to the previous point is the comparison of different customer groups based on their demographic characteristics. Descriptive research allows you to study how different groups of people respond to specific services provided by a business.

For example, what influence do income, age, gender, income, etc. have on on consumer spending behavior?

This research method helps companies understand what they need to do to increase their brand's appeal among different demographics.

4. Validation of respondents from the existing sample

Because it's non-intrusive and uses (mostly) quantitative data, you can make observations about why current customer buying patterns exist.

You can also use the results as a basis for further study later.

5. Conducting research at different times

Descriptive research can be done at different time periods to see if the patterns are similar or different at different times. You can also replicate studies to verify the original study findings and draw accurate conclusions.

6. Find correlations between variables

This method is also used to draw correlations between variables and the degree of association between variables.

For example,when men's age and expenses are the focus.

There is the possibility of finding a negative correlation between the two variables, suggesting that men spend less on sporting goods as they age.

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Examples of Descriptive Research

A descriptive research method aims to collect responses to thishow what, when and where.

Let's use some examples to understand how to use a descriptive research method.

Example 1

Before investing in housing anywhere, you should do your own research to understand this.

  • How is the market changing?
  • When or in what season does it change?
  • Where would you get more benefits?

This type of research is an example of a descriptive study.

example 2

A company studies the behavior of its customers to identify its target market before launching a new product. This is another example of brands using descriptive research.

The Company may conduct this investigation by observing customer reaction and behavior toward a competitor's product.

Or they can also conduct surveys to gather customer feedback on the company's new product before it is launched.

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Example 3

A restaurant that plans to open a branch in a new location does research to understand the behavior of the people who live there. They will poll people to learn their choices for scents, flavors, food, beverages, and more.

Now that we have seen how you can use this research method for your research purpose, let us also learn about the pros and cons of research.

What are the benefits of descriptive research?

It is the preliminary investigation method. Most researchers use this method to identify the problem to prioritize. Before we dive into the experiments, let's look at some of the reasons why you should do this research.

1. Collection of primary data

In this research, data is collected throughPrimary data collection methodssuch as case studies, observational methods and surveys. This type of data collection provides us with valuable information and can also be used for future research. It can also be used to develop hypotheses or your research objective.

2. Multiple data collection

Descriptive research can also be done by collectingqualitativeoquantitative data. As such, it is more varied, flexible, and diverse, and tends to be comprehensive and detailed.

[Read relatives: Data Collection: Everything you need to know!]

3. Observational behavior

The observational method of this research allows researchers to observe respondent behavior in natural settings. This also ensures that the data collected is of high quality and honest.

4. Cheap

It is inexpensive and data collection for this research can be done quickly. You can do descriptive research with an all-in-one solution like Voxco. Use a platform that offers you the opportunity toThe best market research softwareto conduct customer, product and brand research.

Voxco is trusted by more than 500 global brands and the top 50 MR companies to gather insights and take action.

Find out how Voxco can help you increase the efficiency of your investigation.

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What are the disadvantages of descriptive research?

Descriptive research also has some disadvantages. Let's learn about these downsides so you can make wise decisions about when to use this research to keep the downsides to a minimum.

1. Misleading information

Respondents may provide misleading or incorrect answers if they feel that the questions assess intimate matters. Respondents can also be influenced by the presence of the observer and pretend. This is called the observer effect.

2. Bias in studies

Investigators' own views of bias may influence study results. This is known as the experimenter effect.

3. Representative Edition

There is also the problem of representativeness, a case study or data from a small sample does not represent the entire population.

4. Limited reach

Descriptive research is limited in scope, it only looks at the "what" of the research, it does not evaluate the "why" or "how" questions of the research.

To involve;

That sums up our descriptive research guide. It is a broad concept that aconceptual framework for descriptive designand a deep understanding ofdescriptive survey design.

(Video) Quantitative Online & Intercept Surveys

Of course it is important that you adoptOnline survey toolswhich makes all of this easy and leaves plenty of room for insightful research.

Voxcos Omnichannelsurvey softwareallows you to create interactive surveys, deliver them across multiple channels, and perform data analysis on one platform.


What is descriptive research answer? ›

Descriptive research aims to accurately and systematically describe a population, situation or phenomenon. It can answer what, where, when and how questions, but not why questions. A descriptive research design can use a wide variety of research methods to investigate one or more variables.

What is the meaning of descriptive research? ›

Descriptive research is a type of research that is used to describe the characteristics of a population. It collects data that are used to answer a wide range of what, when, and how questions pertaining to a particular population or group.

What is descriptive research quizlet? ›

Descriptive Research. It is a purposive process of gathering, analyzing classifying, and tabulating data to describe what is, with or without the aid of statistical method. It definitely FINDS OUT PREVAILING CONDITIONS of facts in group or case under study. Characteristics of Descriptive Research.

What is the descriptive research question? ›

Descriptive research questions

Descriptive survey questions are designed to uncover a respondent's response towards a particular question or variable. Put simply, it's the easiest way to quantify the particular variable(s) you're interested in on a large scale.

What is descriptive research give one example? ›

In a descriptive research design, the researcher can choose to be either a complete observer, an observer as a participant, a participant as an observer, or a full participant. For example, in a supermarket, a researcher can from afar monitor and track the customers' selection and purchasing trends.

What is the purpose of descriptive research quizlet? ›

To describe the characteristics or behaviors of a given population in a systematic and accurate fashion. It's not designed to test hypotheses, but to provide information about the physical, social, behavioral, economic, or psychological characteristics of some group of people.

What is the simple definition of descriptive? ›

[more descriptive; most descriptive] : giving information about how something or someone looks, sounds, etc. : using words to describe what something or someone is like. She gave a descriptive account of the journey. a talent for descriptive writing.

What is the goal of descriptive research? ›

The goal of descriptive research is to describe a phenomenon and its characteristics. This research is more concerned with what rather than how or why something has happened. Therefore, observation and survey tools are often used to gather data (Gall, Gall, & Borg, 2007).

What is descriptive research AP Psych? ›

Descriptive research methods are used to define the who, what, and where of human behavior and other psychological phenomena. Psychologists and researchers use a myriad of tools when studying human and animal behavior.

What are the types of descriptive research? ›

There are 3 main data collection methods in descriptive research, namely; observational method, case study method, and survey research.

How do you answer descriptive questions? ›

Descriptive question are questions such as “Who is Columbus?”, “What is tsunami?”, or “Why is blood red?”, which need answer that contain the definitional information about the search term, explain some special phenomenon. (i.e. chemical reaction) or describe some particular events.

What are the 3 types of research questions for descriptive research? ›

They can be further categorized into three types: descriptive, comparative, and relationship. Descriptive research questions aim to measure the responses of a study's population to one or more variables or describe variables that the research will measure.

What is a descriptive research title example? ›

Descriptive titles or indicative titles

Descriptive titles state the subject, topic, design, purpose or methods of the project. For example: 'Effects of natural forest and tree plantations on leaf-litter frog assemblages in Southern Brazil.

What is an example of descriptive data? ›

If you want a good example of descriptive statistics, look no further than a student's grade point average (GPA). A GPA gathers the data points created through a large selection of grades, classes, and exams then average them together and presents a general idea of the student's mean academic performance.

What is the most common type of descriptive research? ›

The most common descriptive research method is the survey, which includes questionnaires, personal interviews, phone surveys, and normative surveys. Developmental research is also descriptive.

What is the purpose of descriptive data? ›

Descriptive statistics can be useful for two purposes: 1) to provide basic information about variables in a dataset and 2) to highlight potential relationships between variables.

Which best summarizes the main goal of descriptive research quizlet? ›

Which best summarizes the main goal of descriptive research? o Develop a detailed picture of a situation or issue. Social Research methods are: Ways to gather information to answer a question about the social world.

What is the importance of descriptive? ›

Descriptive statistics are very important because if we simply presented our raw data it would be hard to visualize what the data was showing, especially if there was a lot of it. Descriptive statistics therefore enables us to present the data in a more meaningful way, which allows simpler interpretation of the data.

What is the best definition of descriptive essay? ›

What is a descriptive essay? The descriptive essay is a genre of essay that asks the student to describe something—object, person, place, experience, emotion, situation, etc. This genre encourages the student's ability to create a written account of a particular experience.

What is the best definition of a descriptive paragraph? ›

A descriptive paragraph is a focused and detail-rich account of a specific topic. Paragraphs in this style often have a concrete focus—the sound of a waterfall, the stench of a skunk's spray—but can also convey something abstract, such as an emotion or a memory.

What is a descriptive definition in psychology? ›

Descriptive Psychology is the intellectual discipline that makes explicit the implicit structure of the behavioral sciences. It concerns conceptual, pre-empirical and theory-neutral formulations identifying the full range of a subject matter.

What is descriptive data in psychology? ›

Descriptive statistics analyse data to help describe, show or summarise it in a meaningful way. Examples are measures of central tendency and measures of dispersion.

What is descriptive approach in psychology quizlet? ›

Descriptive Methods. -allows researchers to describe patterns of behavior and discover links or associations between variables but cannot imply causation. -methods used when a researcher cannot manipulate the variables under study. Naturalistic Observation.

How long should a descriptive answer be? ›

A description can be just a simple paragraph, or several ones with no specific structure, meanwhile, a descriptive essay has five or more paragraphs and a clear and complete structure.

What are 3 types of descriptive? ›

Descriptive studies can be of several types, namely, case reports, case series, cross-sectional studies, and ecological studies.

How do you write a descriptive sample? ›

My dog's fur felt like silk against my skin and her black coloring shone, absorbing the sunlight and reflecting it back like a pure, dark mirror. The sunset filled the sky with a deep red flame, setting the clouds ablaze. The waves rolled along the shore in a graceful, gentle rhythm, as if dancing with the land.

Can you give another 3 examples of descriptive type of research? ›

Primarily, there are three descriptive research methods: Observation, Survey, & Case Study.

What is descriptive research AP Psychology? ›

Descriptive research methods are used to define the who, what, and where of human behavior and other psychological phenomena. Psychologists and researchers use a myriad of tools when studying human and animal behavior.

What is descriptive statistics * Your answer? ›

Descriptive statistics describe, show, and summarize the basic features of a dataset found in a given study, presented in a summary that describes the data sample and its measurements. It helps analysts to understand the data better.

What is descriptive research in social psychology? ›

Descriptive Research

They can only describe what exists within a given population. An example of descriptive research would be conducting a survey to find out people's attitudes toward a particular social issue such as divorce, capital punishment, or gambling laws.

What is descriptive research vs experimental research? ›

Descriptive research is a method that describes a study or a topic. It defines the characteristics of the variable under research and answers the questions related to it. Whereas experimental research is a scientific approach to testing a theory or a hypothesis using experimental groups and control variables.

What is descriptive research statistics? ›

Descriptive statistics are specific methods basically used to calculate, describe, and summarize collected research data in a logical, meaningful, and efficient way. Descriptive statistics are reported numerically in the manuscript text and/or in its tables, or graphically in its figures.

How do you summarize descriptive statistics? ›

  1. Step 1: Describe the size of your sample. Use N to know how many observations are in your sample. ...
  2. Step 2: Describe the center of your data. ...
  3. Step 3: Describe the spread of your data. ...
  4. Step 4: Assess the shape and spread of your data distribution. ...
  5. Compare data from different groups.

What is descriptive statistic and example? ›

Descriptive statistics are used to describe or summarize data in ways that are meaningful and useful. For example, it would not be useful to know that all of the participants in our example wore blue shoes. However, it would be useful to know how spread out their anxiety ratings were.


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