Descriptive Description Of Descriptive Research

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Descriptive research attempts to elucidate characteristics of an object or phenomenon, without focusing on possible antecedents to that object or phenomenon. A descriptive researcher cannot determine the ‘cause and effect’ relationships that most experimental scientists aim to uncover (Knupfer, 2001). Descriptive designs often involve an investigator or investigative team that records the ‘qualities’ of what they are studying (e.g. a subject’s mood, the color of an object), but they are not restricted to recording ‘qualities’. They can also use quantitative (i.e. numerical) methods, such as using inferential statistics to find correlations between survey answers, but this use of statistics is often specific to survey studies rather than case studies. While descriptive observation is optimal for gaining information about how an organism behaves in its natural environment, descriptive methods can also prove useful in an experimental setting. According to Jackson (2011), one can carry out laboratory observations that involve bringing subjects into an environment that is designed so that a researcher can place more experimental control on his/her subjects. This method often involves minor environmental manipulations from the experimenter such as prompting a subject to answer questions; descriptive researchers that conduct case studies usually study few subjects and they rarely rely on post-observation statistical analysis. Norris et al. (2014) collected descriptive data,

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