Every time you try to describe a large set of observations with a single indicator you run the risk of distorting the original data or losing important detail. The batting average doesn't tell you whether the batter is hitting home runs or singles.
It doesn't tell whether she's been in a slump or on a streak. The GPA doesn't tell you whether the student was in difficult courses or easy ones, or whether they were courses in their major field or in other disciplines. Even given these limitations, descriptive statistics provide a powerful summary that may enable comparisons across people or other units. Univariate analysis involves the examination across cases of one variable at a time.
There are three major characteristics of a single variable that we tend to look at: In most situations, we would describe all three of these characteristics for each of the variables in our study. The distribution is a summary of the frequency of individual values or ranges of values for a variable.
The simplest distribution would list every value of a variable and the number of persons who had each value. For instance, a typical way to describe the distribution of college students is by year in college, listing the number or percent of students at each of the four years.
Or, we describe gender by listing the number or percent of males and females. In these cases, the variable has few enough values that we can list each one and summarize how many sample cases had the value.
But what do we do for a variable like income or GPA? With these variables there can be a large number of possible values, with relatively few people having each one.
In this case, we group the raw scores into categories according to ranges of values. For instance, we might look at GPA according to the letter grade ranges. Or, we might group income into four or five ranges of income values.
One of the most common ways to describe a single variable is with a frequency distribution. Depending on the particular variable, all of the data values may be represented, or you may group the values into categories first e. Rather, the value are grouped into ranges and the frequencies determined.
Frequency distributions can be depicted in two ways, as a table or as a graph. Table 1 shows an age frequency distribution with five categories of age ranges defined.
The same frequency distribution can be depicted in a graph as shown in Figure 1. This type of graph is often referred to as a histogram or bar chart. Frequency distribution bar chart. Distributions may also be displayed using percentages. For example, you could use percentages to describe the:.
The central tendency of a distribution is an estimate of the "center" of a distribution of values. There are three major types of estimates of central tendency:.
The Mean or average is probably the most commonly used method of describing central tendency. To compute the mean all you do is add up all the values and divide by the number of values. Researchers start by defining the research question and then selecting the cases to probe followed by determination of data gathering and analysis techniques.
Data collected is then evaluated and analyzed before a report is made. Critics argue the small number of cases normally used doesn't offer sufficient grounds to provide a conclusive outcome. The other problem is the person presenting the case might be biased leading to selectively choosing facts to support a certain conclusion. Another one of the types of descriptive research methods is utilizing observation to understand the behavior and characteristics of demographics.
As an example, market researchers use passive and active observational research and ethnography to understand the behavior of consumers in a certain area. Ethnographers spend time interacting with research participants and gleaning data on lifestyle, values, culture influence and consumer purchases. Passive observation involves watching what customers purchase where researchers observe how customers interact with a product in active observation before asking questions.
Observational research involves the use of sampling to reach a research conclusion. Survey research is one of the most commonly used descriptive research methods in a social sciences research study. Researchers randomly selects respondents from a population to answer a standardized questionnaire or conduct a face-to-face interview or telephone interview to collect data to assess people's behavior, beliefs and attitudes.
Example on qualitative research referring to quality where problems are answered without generally focusing on quantity, are descriptions in words coming form interviews, discussions or observations. However when words are translated to quantity in order to describe or to generalize, then the research is now called quantitatitive research.
The bottom lines are the questions: Many thanks for giving me clear understanding around the differences between the qualitative and quantative research. Thanks a millions time. I was struggling to get an idea of how to approach the definitions. In fact I was even hesitating to answer the questions confidently. Thanks for the distinct comparison between qualitative and quantitative Research, very very helpful.
Thank you for making me to understand the difference between qualitative Research and quantitative research. Thanks a lot for the insightful distinction between Qualitative and Quantitative research.
However, the differences as you enumerated did not factor in the advantages and disadvantages of both research tools. My special thanks goes to Camilo Tabinas for suggesting that the difference between quantitative and qualitative research method stems from the roots of quantity and quality. Quantitative approach stems from the ontological view that objective reality exist independently of human perception Slevitch, Qualitative and quantitative methodologies compared: Ontological and Epistemological Perspectives.
Journal of Quality Assurance in Hospitality and Tourism, 12,
Descriptive research design is a valid method for researching specific subjects and as a precursor to more quantitative studies.
Chapter 11 Descriptive and interpretive approaches to qualitative research Robert Elliott and Ladislav Timulak Qualitative research methods today are a diverse set, encompassing approaches such as.
Focus on Research Methods Whatever Happened to Qualitative Description? of Nursing, Chapel Hill, NC Received 10 September ; accepted 14 January Abstract: The general view of descriptive research as a lower level form of inquiry has inﬂuenced some researchers conducting qualitative research to ing qualitative descriptive. Qualitative description (QD) is a label used in qualitative research for studies that are descriptive in nature. This genre is particularly common in qualitative studies of health care and nursing-related phenomena (Polit & Beck, , ).
Quantitative Descriptive Analysis (QDA) is a registered trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The term was coined by Herbert Stone (a food scientist) and Joel L. Sidel (a psychologist)  in while at the Stanford Research Institute, . 1 Supplement for Chapter 14 Qualitative Descriptive Studies M any nursing studies that involve the collection and analysis of qualitative data do.