Imagine you are a detective and called to a crime scene. As a detective, your job is to study the scene and report everything from the folded paper on the table to the spilt ink. That, in a nutshell, is descriptive research. In this kind of research study, you explore the problem, analyse all the variables, and describe their relationship with each other. So, as a researcher, you often need to conduct this type of research to solve a problem and talk about it in detail.

But to conduct this research, you must have a grip on the methods most commonly used. Do you know about those methods? Probably not. It is why today’s article is all about descriptive research. Here, you will find its definition, examples, and methods. So, let’s start today’s discussion by defining it first. After that, we will move on to other elements.

What Is Descriptive Research? Explain Its Characteristics.

Descriptive research is the type of research that describes a population, situation, or phenomenon being studied. The main focus of this study is on describing the when, how, and what of the research problem at hand. It is important to note here this research design does not answer the question of why. This is mainly because the objective of conducting this research is to have a proper understanding of the situation being analysed and its variables.

Key Characteristics

  • Describes what, when and how questions about the situation
  • By describing the problem, it opens doors for further research in the field
  • Applicable in many research fields like health science, psychology, sociology etc.
  • This study is done in natural settings mostly, which means there is less interference of variables in the research results

What Is An Example Of Descriptive Research?

There are many examples of this research design. Let’s explain the one which is more relevant. Suppose a UK-based clothing brand wants to establish itself in the New York state, USA. Its aim is to understand the demographics of the buyers who generally buy the same thing from other brands similar to theirs. To understand the demographics, surely, the UK-based clothing brand has to perform descriptive research on the population of New York.

This research will uncover the details of the buying patterns of different age cohorts. In this study, the brand will not study why those patterns exist. It is because the brand wants to introduce itself in New York. Therefore, it will only study the patterns and make the decision of how to introduce itself. Hence, this is an example of a descriptive study. You can look for more on Google if you want.

What Are The Methods For Conducting The Descriptive Study?

From the discussion above, you now have a good idea of descriptive research, its characteristics, and examples. However, one thing is still missing in the article, i.e., the methods to conduct descriptive research. In literature, there are 3 distinctive methods to do this research. Hence, a brief description of those methods is as follows:

Survey – Asking Some Questions From Respondents

One of the very popular research methods in dissertation writing to collect detailed responses from a large population is the survey method of research. This method is about sending a questionnaire to all the research participants and collecting their responses. As a researcher, you prepare the questionnaire and send it to the respondents. Upon receiving the questions, the research participants answer the questions in the survey based on their understanding of the problem being studied. Generally, this method is used to obtain quick information directly from the population and analyse it.

Pros Of Survey Method

  • This method can be applied to local, regional, or global populations depending on the needs of the research study
  • This method does not involve any communication barrier. You can share the survey using e-mail, offline, SMS, or QR code.
  • Easy to update if you want to introduce any changes in the survey questions

Observation – Observing The Respondents’ Actions

The method of collecting data through observation is the second most used method in the case of descriptive research. It allows you to observe the behaviour and characteristics of the research respondents and report them. It is important to note that the respondents do not have direct input on the results of this method. It is only the researcher who uses his sense of analysis and analyses the whole population. The observation method of research is further divided into two types. First is the type in which the respondents know that they are being observed. The second is the one in which they do not know about this.

Pros Of The Observation Method

  • It is the most accurate way to collect real data about the characteristics of research participants in their natural setting
  • It does not require to get the consent of the research participants
  • Universal method of research which can be applied to most the research fields

Case Study – The Study Of An Event Over A Period

The next research method mostly used in descriptive research is the case study. Using this method, you analyse the specific group, person, or event over a specified period of time. As a researcher, you study the characteristics of the selected population to guess the characteristics of the whole population. There is always the risk of inaccurate results when you use this method. However, if you want to use this method and still want to get accurate results, PhD dissertation help from a friend or a writing service online can be the best option.

Pros Of Case Study Method

  • This method can give you huge amounts of data about a population
  • The case study engages both researcher and respondent
  • It is helpful in investigating the complex subjects


Conclusively, the descriptive research study describes a problem’s when, how, and what. No other research design can explain a situation better than this method. So, to conduct a thorough descriptive study, read the research methods discussed above. The survey method is the one which is mostly used. So, pay close attention to that.

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