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z Descriptive research is used to obtain

information concerning the current status of the
phenomena to describe "what exists" with respect
Descriptive Research to variables or conditions in a situation. The
methods involved
– range from the survey which describes the status quo,
– the correlation study which investigates the
relationship between variables,
– to developmental studies which seek to determine
changes over time.

Descriptive Research Conclusive 

Research Design
z Major objective is DESCRIPTION OF
Descriptive  Causal    Research

z 6 Ws of Descriptive Research Cross‐Sectional  Longitudinal 

Design Design
Who Where
What Why Single Cross‐ Multiple Cross‐
Sectional Design Sectional Design
When Way (How)

Cross Sectional Design Single Cross Sectional Design

z A type of research design involving the
collection of information from any given sample
A cross sectional design in which one
of population elements ONLY ONCE. sample of respondents is drawn from the
target population and information is
z Types of Cross Sectional Design
obtained from this sample once

– Single Cross Sectional Design

– Multiple Cross Sectional Design
– Cohort Analysis

Multiple Cross Sectional Design Cohort Analysis

A cross sectional design in which Two or A cohort is a group of respondents who

more samples of respondents is drawn experience the SAME EVENT within the
from the target population and information SAME TIME INTERVAL
is obtained from this sample once
Cohort Analysis is a multiple cross
sectional design consisting of a series of
surveys conducted at appropriate time

Longitudinal Designs Panel ??

A type of research design involving a fixed z PANEL is used interchangeably with the
sample of population elements that is term longitudinal design.
measured REPEATEDLY on the same
variables. The sample remains the same z A panel is nothing but sample of
over the time, thus providing a series of respondents who agree to provide
pictures which when viewed together, information at specified intervals over an
portray a vivid illustration of the situation extended period.
and the changes that are taking place over

Descriptive Research Methods Case Studies

z Case Studies z Detailed analysis of a single (or limited number)
of people or events.

z Archival Research z It is not surprising that case studies often seem

to provide very compelling evidence for a theory.

z Observational Research z Case studies can therefore assist psychology by

illustrating how a theory could be applied to a
person or events and by assisting with the
development of hypotheses for more systematic
z Survey Research testing.

Archival Research
z Analysis of pre-existing data or records
z Archival research often involves content
analysis, a qualitative analysis of material. For RESEARCH
example, one would use content analysis to
determine whether there had been an increase in
the frequency with which women and minorities
were mentioned in US history books between
1920 and 2000.

Scientific Observation Is
What Can Be Observed?
z Physical actions
“YOU SEE, BUT YOU z Verbal behavior
DO NOT OBSERVE.” z Expressive behavior
z Spatial relations and locations
Sherlock Holmes z Temporal patterns
z Verbal and pictorial records

What Can Be Observed What Can Be Observed

Phenomena Example Phenomena Example

Human behavior or physical Shoppers movement Spatial relations How close visitors at an
action pattern in a store and locations art museum stand to paintings

Verbal behavior Statements made by Temporal patterns How long fast-food customers
airline travelers who wait wait for their order to be served
in line
Physical objects What brand name items are
Expressive behavior Facial expressions, tone of stored in consumers’ pantries
voice, and other form of
body language Verbal and Pictorial Bar codes on product packages

Categories of Observation Structured Vs Unstructured
z Structured Vs Unstructured Observation z STRUCTURED: Observation techniques
where the researcher clearly defines the
behaviors to be observed and the methods
z Disguised Vs Undisguised Observation by which they will be observed

z Natural Vs Contrived Observation z UNSTRUCTURED: Monitoring all

relevant phenomena in an unstructured

Disguised Vs Undisguised Natural Vs Contrived

z Disguised : Respondents are UNAWARE z NATURAL : Observing behavior as it
of being observed. takes place.

z Undisguised: Respondents are AWARE. z CONTRIVED: Behavior is observed in

artificial envirionment.

Observation of Human Behavior Observation of Human Behavior

Benefits Benefits
z Communication with respondent is not z Certain data may be obtained more quickly
necessary z Environmental conditions may be recorded
z Data without distortions due to self-report z May be combined with survey to provide
(e.g.: without social desirability) Bias supplemental evidence
z No need to rely on respondents memory
z Nonverbal behavior data may be obtained

Observation of Human Behavior Scientifically Contrived
Limitations Observation
z Cognitive phenomena cannot be observed z The creation of an artificial environment to
z Interpretation of data may be a problem test a hypothesis
z Not all activity can be recorded
z Only short periods can be observed
z Observer bias possible
z Possible invasion of privacy

Response Latency Observation Methods

z Recording the decision time necessary to z Personal Observation
make a choice between two alternatives
z Mechanical Observation
z It is presumed to indicate the strength of
preference between alternatives.
z Audit

z Content Analysis

z Trace Analysis

Mechanical Observation Content Analysis

Mechanical devices z Obtains data by observing and analyzing the
are used for observing content of advertisements, letters, articles,
the event such as:
z Traffic Counters z Deals with the study of the message itself
z Web Traffic z Measures the extent of emphasis or
z Scanners omission
z Peoplemeter
z Physiological

TRACE ANALYSIS: Comparative Evaluation
Observation of Physical Objects / traces

Degree of Structure Low Low to High High High Medium

z Physical-trace evidence Degree of Disguis Medium Low to High Low High High

z Wear and tear of a book indicates how Ability to observe in High Low to High High Medium Low

often it has been read natural setting

Observation Bias High Low Low Medium Medium

Analysis Bias High Low to Medium Low Low Medium

General Remarks Most Flexible Can be intrusive Expensive Limited to Method of

ons last resort


Surveys as a respondent for information

using verbal or written questioning

Survey Methods Surveys

z A structured questionnaire given to a Surveys can be divided into two broad
sample of a population and designed to elements:
elicit specific information from
– The questionnaire
z A structured questionnaire leads to
structured data collection as the questions – The interview.
are asked in a prearranged order.

Questionnaires Survey Methods
Questionnaires are usually paper-and-pencil z Telephone Interviewing
instruments that the respondent completes.
z Personal Interviewing

z Mail Surveys

z Electronic Surveys

Telephone Interview
z Speed of Data Collection
– Very fast
TELEPHONE INTERVIEW z Geographical Flexibility
– High
z Respondent Cooperation
– Good
z Versatility of Questioning
– Moderate

Telephone Interview Telephone Interview

z Questionnaire Length z Supervision of interviewers
– Moderate – High, especially with central location WATS
z Item Nonresponse interviewing
– Medium z Anonymity of respondent
z Possibility of Respondent – Moderate
Misunderstanding z Ease of call back or follow-up
– Average – Easy
z Degree of Interviewer Influence of Answer
– Moderate

Telephone Interview Telephone Interview
z Cost z Central location interviewing
– Low to moderate z Computer-assisted telephone interviewing
z Special features z Computerized voice-activated interviews
– Fieldwork and supervision of data collection
are simplified; quite adaptable to computer

Telephone Interview
z Advantages
– They allow for some personal contact between the
interviewer and the respondent.
– They allow the interviewer to ask follow-up questions
z Disadvantages
– Many people don't have publicly-listed telephone
numbers. Some don't have telephones.
– People often don't like the intrusion of a call to their
– Telephone interviews have to be relatively short or
people will feel imposed upon.

Door-to-Door Personal Door-to-Door Personal

Interview Interview
z Speed of data collection z Questionnaire length
– Moderate to fast – Long
z Geographical flexibility z Item non-response
– Limited to moderate – Low
z Respondent cooperation z Possibility of respondent misunderstanding
– Excellent – Lowest
z Versatility of questioning
– Quite versatile

Door-to-Door Personal Door-to-Door Personal
Interview Interview
z Degree of interviewer influence of answer z Ease of call back or follow-up
– High – Difficult
z Supervision of interviewers z Cost
– Moderate – Highest
z Anonymity of respondent z Special features
– Low – Visual materials may be shown or
demonstrated; extended probing possible

Mall Intercept Personal Mall Intercept Personal

Interview Interview
z Speed of data collection z Speed of Data Collection
– Fast – Fast
z Geographical flexibility z Geographical Flexibility
– Confined, urban bias – Confined, urban bias
z Respondent cooperation z Respondent Cooperation
– Moderate to low – Moderate to low
– Versatility of questioning – Versatility of Questioning
z Extremely versatile – Extremely versatile

Mall Intercept Personal Mall Intercept Personal

Interview Interview
z Questionnaire length z Degree of interviewer influence of answers
– Moderate to long – Highest
z Item nonresponse z Supervision of interviewers
– Medium – Moderate to high
z Possibility of respondent misunderstanding z Anonymity of respondent
– Lowest – Low

Mall Intercept Personal
Personal Interview
z Ease of call back or follow-up z Advantages
– The interviewer has the opportunity to probe or ask
– Difficult follow-up questions.
z Cost – Interviews are generally easier for the respondent,
especially if what is sought is opinions or impressions
– Moderate to high
z Special features z Disadvantages
– Taste test, viewing of TV commercials – Interviews can be very time consuming and they are
possible resource intensive.
– The interviewer is considered as a part of the
measurement instrument and interviewers have to be
well trained in how to respond to any contingency

Mail Surveys
z Speed of data collection
– Researcher has no control over return of
MAIL SURVEYS questionnaire; slow
z Geographical flexibility
– High
z Respondent cooperation
– Moderate--poorly designed questionnaire will
have low response rate

Mail Surveys Mail Surveys

z Versatility of questioning z Possibility of respondent misunderstanding
– Highly standardized format – Highest--no interviewer present for
z Questionnaire length clarification
– Varies depending on incentive z Degree of interviewer influence of answer
z Item nonresponse – None--interviewer absent
– High z Supervision of interviewers
– Not applicable

How to Increase Response
Mail Surveys
Rates for Mail Surveys
z Anonymity of respondent • Write a “sales oriented” cover letter
– High • Money helps
z Ease of call back or follow-up - As a token of appreciation
- For a charity
– Easy, but takes time
• Stimulate respondents’ interest with interesting questions
z Cost • Follow Up
– Lowest - Keying questionnaires with codes
• Advanced notification
• Sponsorship by a well-known and prestigious institution

Increasing Response Rates Mail Interview

z Effective cover letter z Advantages
– They are relatively inexpensive to administer.
z Money helps – You can send the exact same instrument to a wide
z Interesting questions number of people.
z Follow-ups – They allow the respondent to fill it out at their own
z Advanced notification
z Survey sponsorship z Disadvantages
z Keying questionnaires – Response rates from mail surveys are often very low.
– Mail questionnaires are not the best vehicles for
asking for detailed written responses

Mail Panel
z A large and nationally representative z A sample of respondents is brought
sample who agree to periodically together and asked to respond to a
participate in mail questionnaires, product structured sequence of questions.
tests and telephone surveys.
z There are often organizational settings
where it is relatively easy to assemble the
group (in a company or business, for

Internet Surveys Internet Surveys

z Speed of data collection z Respondent cooperation

– Instantaneous – Varies depending on web site
z Cost effective – Varies depending on type of sample
z Geographic flexibility – When user does not opt-in or expect a
– worldwide voluntary survey cooperation is low.
z Visual and interactive – Self-selection problems in web site visitation
surveys - participants tend to be more deeply
involved than the average person.

Internet Surveys
Internet Surveys
z Versatility of questioning z Representative samples
– Extremely versatile z The quality of internet samples may vary
z Questionnaire length substantially.
– Individualized base on respondent answers z A sample of those who visit a web page
– Longer questionnaires with panel samples and voluntarily fill out a questionnaires
can have self-selection error.
z Item nonresponse
– Software can assure none

Internet Surveys
Internet Surveys
z 1) not all individuals in the general public z Possibility for respondent
have internet access misunderstanding
z 2) many respondents lack powerful – High
computers with high-speed connections to z Interviewer influence of answers
the internet – None
z 3) many respondents computer skills will z Supervision of interviewers
be relatively unsophisticated. not required

Internet Surveys

z Anonymity of Respondent
– Respondent can be anonymous or known
z Ease of Callback or Follow-up
– difficult unless e-mail address is known
z Special Features
– allows graphics and streaming media