Descriptive research is undertaken when the researcher desires to know the characteristics of certain groups such as age, sex, occupation, income or education. The objective of descriptive research is to answer the “who, what, when, where and how” of the subject under study/investigation.
Descriptive studies are normally factual and simple. However, such studies can be complex, demanding scientific skill on the part of researcher.
Descriptive studies are well structured. It tends to be rigid and its approach cannot be changed often and again. In descriptive studies, the researcher has to give adequate thought to framing research questions and deciding the data to be collected and the procedure to be used for this purpose. Data collected may prove to be inadequate if the researcher is not careful in the initial stages of data collection.
Descriptive research designs are used for some definite purpose. Descriptive research cannot identify cause and effect relationship.
Descriptive research is designed to describe the present situation or the features of a group or users of a product. In marketing, such research is undertaken to know the characteristics of certain groups or users of a product such as age, sex education, income etc. Such research studies are based on secondary data or survey research.
The major objective of descriptive research is to describe something – usually market characteristics or functions
A major difference between exploratory and descriptive research is that descriptive research is characterized by the prior formulation of the hypotheses. Thus, the information needed is clearly defined. As a result, descriptive research is preplanned and structured. It is typically based on large representative samples A formal research design specifies the methods for selecting these sources of information and for collecting data from those sources.