Characteristics of descriptive research
Descriptive research meaning
Descriptive research does not fit neatly into the definition of either quantitative or qualitative research methodologies, but instead it can utilize elements of both, often within the same study. To learn more about how we incorporate both qualitative and quantitative methods of descriptive research, download the eGuide below. Surveys: Likely the most familiar method of descriptive research, surveys involve interviews or discussions with larger audiences and are often conducted on more specific topics. Unlike in experimental research, the researcher does not control or manipulate any of the variables, but only observes and measures them. Studies of this type might describe the current state of multimedia usage in schools or patterns of activity resulting from group work at the computer. Do teachers actually implement technology in the way they perceive? Case Studies: Case studies involve a more in-depth analysis of an individual or smaller audience. Cross-sectional studies: Descriptive research is generally a cross-sectional study where different sections belonging to the same group are studied. The research design should be carefully developed to ensure that the results are valid and reliable. How should instructional designers improve software design to make the software more appealing to students?
The National Center for Education Statistics specializes in this kind of research. When in-depth, narrative descriptions of small numbers of cases are involved, the research uses description as a tool to organize data into patterns that emerge during analysis.
Descriptive research is the exploration of the existing certain phenomena. Becker's series of survey reports concerning the implementation of computers into schools across the United States as well as Nancy Nelson Knupfer's reports about teacher's opinions and patterns of computer usage also fit partially within the realm of descriptive research.
It is called an observational research method because none of the variables that are part of the research study are influenced in any capacity.
It often uses visual aids such as graphs and charts to aid the reader in understanding the data distribution. Studies of this type might describe the current state of multimedia usage in schools or patterns of activity resulting from group work at the computer.
Case Studies: Case studies involve a more in-depth analysis of an individual or smaller audience. The type of question asked by the researcher will ultimately determine the type of approach necessary to complete an accurate assessment of the topic at hand.
Importance of descriptive research
Unlike in experimental research, the researcher does not control or manipulate any of the variables, but only observes and measures them. The description often illuminates knowledge that we might not otherwise notice or even encounter. Observation of physical entities and phenomena is also an important part of research in the natural sciences. The variables or conditions studied in descriptive research are not usually controlled. The details of the facts won't be known. For example, one cannot try to draw conclusions that show cause and effect, because that is beyond the bounds of the statistics employed. Within the United States, huge amounts of information are being gathered continuously by the Office of Technology Assessment, which influences policy concerning technology in education. Case studies A case study can be used to describe the characteristics of a specific subject such as a person, group, event or organization. This could be the need to derive patterns, traits and behaviors of the respondents. The idea behind this type of research is to study frequencies, averages, and other statistical calculations.
One camp argues the benefits of a scientific approach to educational research, thus preferring the experimental, quantitative approach, while the other camp posits the need to recognize the unique human side of educational research questions and thus prefers to use qualitative research methodology.
An example of this is Cochenour, Hakes, and Neal's study of trends in compressed video applications with education and the private sector. Many research studies call for the description of natural or man-made phenomena such as their form, structure, activity, change over time, relation to other phenomena, and so on.
This is especially true in psychological testing, as for instance, norms in an intelligence test. That is, analysis of the past as opposed to the future. Some of the common data collection methods applied to questions within the realm of descriptive research include surveys, interviews, observations, and portfolios.
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