What is Descriptive Research Method?

These research studies are designed to describe something. These can explain features of a product or service. They can give numeric data. The objectives of such studies are not very clear. Moreover, these studies may not be planned with finesse. Most of the data collected during such studies prove to be redundant. Those descriptive studies that do not have clearly defined hypotheses are more exploratory than conclusive.

If these are conducted as exploratory studies, the researcher can get more data at fewer costs. In most of these studies, it is assumed that the objective is to find such market niches as would buy the given product/service at the highest rate. Hence, the firm would like to identify such a niche and focus its attention on it after the research study is over. There are two major types of design in descriptive research as mentioned below:

(a) The Case Study Method:

Descriptive research does not make much use of the case study method. Nevertheless, some researchers use them. The researcher wants to arrive at new ideas about relations by using this method (if he uses the exploratory research method), but he can test these new ideas by using the conclusive research method.

If the study is exploratory in nature, the procedures are simple. Researchers are not pressurized to yield concrete conclusions. However, if the case method is used in conclusive research, the procedures to be used are formal, researchers are on their toes, and points to be investigated are known in advance. Analytical techniques are used quite often in the case study method, if we are in the realm of conclusive research. This may not be the case in exploratory research.

(b) Statistical Method:

Statistical techniques are used quite often in descriptive research. The case method and statistical method are different from each other because the case method involves in-depth study of a few methods whereas the statistical method involves the study of a few factors in a large number of cases. The statistical method uses a variety of methods but the case method does not. This method is also-more comprehensive because the number of cases handled by it is large.

The statistical method concentrates on classes, averages, percentages, central tendency, dispersion, and other types of statistical data related to the study. It does not focus its attention on individual cases. But data analysis procedures are fast, accurate, and efficient in this case. Designing processes, in the parlance of statistical methods, are easy, though some researches may not agree with this fact.

We contend that data obtained through field techniques or secondary data sources can be classified quite easily and at high speeds). In this method, we classify and sub-classify the data sets are analysed and processed with the help of statistical methods.

The researcher can make more classes and sub-classes. He can also cross-classify the data. Such cross-classifications must be studied in advance. The study sample must give enough number of respondents in each cell to facilitate proper analysis.

If these numbers are not large enough, then large samples a may have to be taken to collect useful data. Nowa­days, designs are used in which, unusual sub-groups are sampled more heavily than they actually occur in the population under study. Statistical techniques are objective, rational, and based on numbers. These do not create bias for any particular hypothesis because these crunch data to spring up new data.

In case studies, however, personal judgment, invitation, whims and fancies of researchers almost always enter the final result. Further, statistical methods allow the researcher to make more accurate generalisations. If the research study is properly designed, the reliability of generalisations drawn from the statistical data can also be measured.