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How Qualitative Research, Historical Research, Descriptive Research, and Experimental Research Differ Essay

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Updated: Dec 7th, 2019

Introduction

Research can be defined as a scientific and methodological investigation in search of knowledge, to gain facts, new ideas, come up with theories, or solve existing problems.

There are different types of research, including qualitative research, historical research, experimental research, and descriptive research. This paper examines how these four types of research differ from each other.

Qualitative Research

Qualitative research cuts across many academic disciplines, including, Biology Sociology, Education, Anthropology, History, and Medicine, among others (Leedy & Ormrod, 2009). According to these writers, this kind of research encompasses different methodologies, and all of them have two things in common.

One of the things is that they focus on natural phenomenon, that is “the real world”, and the second thing is that they study the complexity of the phenomena in detail (p.135). Researchers who dwell in qualitative research observe objectivity in their studies, and they are not subjective, opinionated, or impressionable.

According to these researchers, despite that, this methodology is most appropriate in studying physical things; it cannot be practical in studying human events. According to Leedy and Ormrod (2009), this kind of research, does not have a “single ultimate truth”, (p. 139) and every person’s perceptions holds equal validity as those for others.

As it pertains planning and nature of a problem of an issue under study, qualitative research formulates general questions as well as common research problems (Leedy & Ormrod, 2009, p.136). According to Leedy & Ormrod (2009), qualitative research studies can serve various purposes including interpretation of different phenomena, description of the issues of studies, evaluation for judgement purposes and verification of validity of the issue of study (p. 136-137).

Historical Research

History consists of streams of events and evolutionary nature of human beings and their institutions (Leedy & Ormrod, 2009, p.164). It deals with the meaning of both present and past events, with hope of discerning prototypes that unite them. Historical research involves interpretation of facts rather than a mere amassing.

Accordingly, a historical researcher does not just describe events that happened; rather it entails a description of events and the factual reasons behind their happening (Leedy & Ormrod, 2009, p.164). According to Leedy and Ormrod, this kind of research is not limited to historians; but also psychologists, anthropologists and those in linguistics, among other disciplines (p. 164).

Some data sources such as interviews give life to history, but even though, recollection of an interviewee is not always accurate. It is only when there is a coincidence amongst various people recollecting on a certain event, that a researcher can have confidence in that information (Leedy & Ormrod, 2009, p.164).

Descriptive Research

Descriptive research involves the identification of characteristics of a phenomenon or exploring differences among dissimilar phenomena (Leedy and Ormrod, 2009, p. 182). It observes a situation as it appears, without any modification. Descriptive research considers advance planning of the study, with thorough attention to details, substantial amount of time, as well as conducting reconnaissance of the area of study.

According to Leedy and Ormrod (2009), this research involves observatory studies, developmental designs, survey research, and correlation research (p.182). As much as possible, the researcher has to be objective in the study he/she is undertaking. Thus, the need to use strategies such as defining the behaviour of study, subdividing the period of observation into small parts, use of scales for rating using different people, is inevitable (Leedy & Ormrod, 2009, p.183).

Experimental Research

Experimental research analyzes the cause and effect relationships, by identifying various factors that influence a certain incidents (Leedy & Ormrod, 2009, p. 223). Experimental research designs consist of both dependent and independent factors. According to Leedy & Ormrod (2009), the researcher analyzes the extent of influence of one variable against another.

These authors also describe this kind of research as multi-disciplinary, cutting across various subjects, including psychology and medicine, among others (p. 224). It largely considers internal validity, which is very instrumental in drawing conclusions of a cause-effect relationship (Leedy & Ormrod, 2009, p. 223).

Reference

Leedy, P.D & Ormrod, J.E. (2009). Practical research: planning and design (9th ed.). New Jersey, NJ: Pearson.

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IvyPanda. "How Qualitative Research, Historical Research, Descriptive Research, and Experimental Research Differ." December 7, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/how-qualitative-research-historical-research-descriptive-research-and-experimental-research-differ/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "How Qualitative Research, Historical Research, Descriptive Research, and Experimental Research Differ." December 7, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/how-qualitative-research-historical-research-descriptive-research-and-experimental-research-differ/.

References

IvyPanda. (2019) 'How Qualitative Research, Historical Research, Descriptive Research, and Experimental Research Differ'. 7 December.

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