Descriptive Research

Descriptive Research – As the name suggests, it describes a phenomenon or a subject. Eventually, one can gather data to study a target audience or a particular subject.

It does not answer questions about ‘why’ a phenomenon occurred/ occurs. Instead, it answers the question – ‘what’ are the characteristics of the phenomenon or the subject.

Why Descriptive Research?

Here are a couple of examples:

  • Market researchers may want to observe the purchasing habits of consumers
  • A school may leverage surveys to find out whether or not students prefer accessing online textbooks to using printed copies
  • An educational institution may want to assess the impact of physical activities on the students’ overall fitness.


Types of Descriptive Research Methods:

There are three main types of Descriptive Methods – Observational methods, Case-Study methods, and Survey Methods.


  • Involves observing and recording the behaviour of a group in their natural environment
  • A researcher typically does not interact with the test subject
  • Cons: If the subjects know they are being watched or observed, they may tend to act differently than they usually would

Case Study:

  • Involves an in-depth study of a specific individual or a particular group of individuals
  • This method is useful when the situation is rare or complex
  • Can provide valuable information for further research and serve as a base for other applications of research
  • Cons: Cannot be generalised to an entire population


  • Involves ascertaining certain opinions and behaviour of people usually by questioning a representative or a group of people
  • A great way to get volumes of information
  • Cons: People may not be sincere while answering the questionnaire


Descriptive studies are observational or correlational; it is used to observe and describe a research subject or problem without influencing or manipulating the variables in any way.

Descriptive research plays a vital role in areas like Social Science, Psychology, and Educational Research. It can provide insights that often bring awareness that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.

Comments are closed.