Types of descriptive research designs

Designing a research project is an elaborate task, wherein you have to take into account several factors like the aim or objective of the study and subject domain. The main elements of a research design comprise the broad methodology, methods used for data collection and analysis and even style of presentation. When preparing your research design, you have to be very specific about all the elements. This requires that you get familiar with various types of design structures and methods that they use.

One of the most commonly used design structures is the descriptive style. As is understood by the name, the information considered for study, as well as the presentation of results will be descriptive in nature. These are mostly used for social science and humanities subjects, like management, psychology, education, anthropology, political science, languages, etc. Here we have listed the array of descriptive research designs:

• Case study: this approach is used to analyze a particular trend, event or condition. Here the researcher is supposed to narrow down a general subject of research and concentrate on a strategically chosen ‘case’ instead of randomly chosen participants. Case studies are a great way to develop a hypothesis.
• Observation based: this method of descriptive study is characterized by active participation of the researcher in the event of phenomenon that is being studied. The data collected through observation is descriptive and is in the form of notes, assimilated over a long duration, or recordings of behavior and communication of the group members. An essential factor to be remembered is that the researcher must not influence the behavior of the participants in any way.
• Survey: surveys are popular amongst management students, especially in the field of marketing. Even government authorities use surveys at the local as well as national level to accumulate important demographic information. These are easy to design and the cost involved varies according to the scale of research.

The presentation of results and conclusions in such studies is in narrative form and critical analysis of subjective information can be done.

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