Descriptive research, Descriptive research designs...

CHAPTER 5. Descriptive Research

Unlike search engines, descriptive research is aimed at identifying not just common, but typical marketing characteristics. They give information about the extent to which one or another of them is distributed, not only in itself, but also in combination with others. By results of such researches it is possible, for example, to define a share of the population which at a choice of the certain goods is guided first of all by its price. In addition, it is possible to find out in which groups of the population this proportion is larger, and in which - less. It may turn out that the age of the respondents is of decisive importance here: the young are less sensitive to the price, and the elderly are more sensitive. Accordingly, the main difference between descriptive research and search is the structured nature of the problems being solved, the formalized nature of the research tool.

Descriptive studies are classified according to two criteria: according to the scheme of their organization (design) and the methods of conducting and collecting information.

5.1. Descriptive Research Designs

Cross-sectional and long-term studies

In design, descriptive studies are divided into cross-sectional ( cross-sectional ) and long ( longitudinal ). For the first from each respondent , the information is once , when the second several times .

With respect to this terminology, it is necessary to give some explanations. Today in United States, to denote these concepts, the terms are sometimes used: longitudinal and transverse research, respectively [7]. Such translation options do offer English-United States dictionaries. The authors who agreed with this translation want to emphasize that the second type of research focuses on "longitudinal" - temporal - axis, and the first - perpendicular - transverse - an axis that dissects all groups of representatives of the studied population.

Such a geometric analogy does not seem to us too successful. In particular, a little later we will see that multi-sample cross-sectional studies - multiple periodic measurements of certain indicators - are also located along the time axis.

It seems to us that we can choose more successful terms. In particular, the phrase "cross-sectional" (NABARS (1993-1994)) gives a special meaning: "a representative selection of the respondents for clarifying public opinion, etc.". However, to call research of this type representative the meaning is correct, but undesirable: with respect to research this word sounds too appreciated. Therefore, it is preferable to keep the English term in United States transcription.

Similarly, the first suggested by the dictionaries for the word longitudinal - really longitudinal & quot ;. This word is also an adjective from the noun longitude - length! Therefore, it seems to us that the meaning of the English-speaking term is not that an investigation of this type is located along some axis, but that this is a long-term study for each respondent: once started, it lasts long enough.

Returning to the essence of the research schemes under consideration, we note that the main emphasis in conducting cross-sectional studies is on building an accurate sample from the studied population and obtaining a correct representation of it.

This can be achieved due to the fact that each respondent gives information only once, and this is less burdensome for him. The share of those who refuse to participate in the study under this scheme is significantly lower, and therefore the sample with a proper procedure for its construction is representative.

But, as you know, you have to pay for everything! In this case, it is not possible to trace in detail the changes in the views and behavior of the same people. Of course, you can ask respondents about what brand they used to buy a year ago, two years ago, etc., but the accuracy of such information will be extremely low.

It is in order to trace in detail the changes that occur over time in the views, habits or behavior of the same people included in the sample, is the meaning of long-term studies.

However, they, of course, are inferior to cross-sectional studies in representativeness. Indeed, long-term participation requires significant efforts from respondents, to which very many of them do not agree. The introduction of payment further exacerbates the situation: by simplifying the task of recruiting respondents, it overstates the share of the sample of people interested in this relatively small fee, which substantially displaces many estimates, for example, the evaluation of the importance of price as a criterion for choosing a product.

So, when deciding to conduct long-term, rather than cross-sectional studies, we should be aware that we are paying representativeness for the possibility of a more subtle analysis of changes, and vice versa.

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