3 Types of Survey Research, When to Use Them, and How they Can Benefit Your Organization!
Most research can be divided into three different categories; exploratory, descriptive and causal. Each serves a different end purpose and can only be used in certain ways. In the online survey world, mastery of all three can lead to sounder insights and greater quality information. Over the next couple weeks we’ll be taking a look into all these forms of research and how you can incorporate each in your organization’s strategies for improvement and growth as well as measuring your company’s level of success. Today, let’s do a quick overview of all three types of research, and how they fit in a research plan.
Exploratory research is an important part of any marketing or business strategy. Its focus is on the discovery of ideas and insights as opposed to collecting statistically accurate data. That is why exploratory research is best suited as the beginning of your total research plan. It is most commonly used for further defining company issues, areas for potential growth, alternative courses of action, and prioritizing areas that require statistical research.
When it comes to online surveys, the most common example of exploratory research takes place in the form of open-ended questions. Think of the exploratory questions in your survey as expanding your understanding of the people you are surveying. Text responses may not be statistically measureable, but they will give you richer quality information that can lead to the discovery of new initiatives or problems that should be addressed.
Descriptive research takes up the bulk of online surveying and is considered conclusive in nature due to its quantitative nature. Unlike exploratory research, descriptive research is preplanned and structured in design so the information collected can be statistically inferred on a population.
The main idea behind using this type of research is to better define an opinion, attitude, or behaviour held by a group of people on a given subject. Consider your everyday multiple choice question. Since there are predefined categories a respondent must choose from, it is considered descriptive research. These questions will not give the unique insights on the issues like exploratory research would. Instead, grouping the responses into predetermined choices will provide statistically inferable data. This allows you to measure the significance of your results on the overall population you are studying, as well as the changes of your respondent’s opinions, attitudes, and behaviours over time.
Like descriptive research, causal research is quantitative in nature as well as preplanned and structured in design. For this reason, it is also considered conclusive research. Causal research differs in its attempt to explain the cause and effect relationship between variables. This is opposed to the observational style of descriptive research, because it attempts to decipher whether a relationship is causal through experimentation. In the end, causal research will have two objectives: 1) To understand which variables are the cause and which variables are the effect, and 2) to determine the nature of the relationship between the causal variables and the effect to be predicted.
For example, a cereal brand owner wants to learn if they will receive more sales with their new cereal box design. Instead of conducting descriptive research by asking people whether they would be more likely to buy their cereal in its new box, they would set up an experiment in two separate stores. One will sell the cereal in only its original box and the other with the new box. Taking care to avoid any outside sources of bias, they would then measure the difference between sales based on the cereal packaging. Did the new packaging have any effect on the cereal sales? What was that effect?
Are Your Research Senses Tingling? Ready for More?
So we have had a taster of the three major types of research. Over the next couple weeks we will be going in depth into each one and how you can use FluidSurveys to make them work for you. Remember, it doesn’t matter whether you’re doing internal or external research, or whether your projects’ end goal is to improve a business’s image, increase a product’s sales or kick start an initiative’s on the right foot. Finding the proper balance between exploratory, descriptive and causal research will be a major factor in your goals’ success.
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Explanatory Research is the conducted for a problem which was not well researched before, demands priorities, generates operational definitions and provides a better-researched model. It is actually a type of research design which focuses on explaining the aspects of your study in a detailed manner. The researcher starts with a general idea and uses research as a tool which could lead to the subjects that would be dealt in the incoming future. It is meant to provide details where a small amount of information exists for a certain product in mind of that researcher. For starting your research, you need to create a research outline or speech outline to pitch your research idea to your professor or a boss or in a board meeting.
Explanatory Research is conducted in order to help us find the problem that was not studied before in-depth. The Explanatory research is not used to give us some conclusive evidence but helps us in understanding the problem more efficiently. When conducting the research, the researcher should be able to adapt himself/herself to the new data and the new insight that he discovers as he/she studies the subject.
It does not aim to provide final and conclusive answers to the research questions but allows the researcher to explore the research with a varying level of depths. “It has been noticed that “exploratory research is the examination, which shapes the base for different inquiries about, it is the building obstruct for alternate looks into.”, it is the building block for the other researchers. It can even help in deciding the exploration configuration, testing philosophy and information gathering strategy”. Research allows the researcher to tackle such problems where no or less research has been done.
Purpose of Explanatory Research:
- Increasing Understanding:
The purpose of explanatory research is to increase the understanding of a researcher on a certain subject. It does not provide conclusive results because of lack of its statistical strength, but it makes the researcher determine how and why things happen.
- The flexibility of Sources:
Secondary sources, such as published literature or data, are commonly used in the explanatory type of research. Care ought to be taken to choose a scope of fair-minded sources to give a wide and balanced comprehension of the subject.
- Better Conclusions:
Exp-Research can be very advantageous in directing subsequent research approaches. A great understanding of the subject allows the researcher to hone subsequent research questions and can greatly increase the usefulness of a study’s conclusions. This exploration is likewise exceptionally valuable in deciding the best way to deal with accomplish a specialist’s goal.
Explanatory Research Challenges:
- Bias information:
Exp-Research generates such types of information and interpretations which could sometimes lead to banal information.
- Useless samples:
Exp-Research studies make use of modest number samples which could not be for a targeted/ specific type of audience.
Explanatory Research Types
Some of the popular methods of explanatory research design include literature searches, depth interview, focus groups, and case analysis.
- Literature Research
- In-depth study of every single problem
- Focus Group Research
- Case Analysis Research
A literature search is one of the fastest and least expensive means to discover hypothesis and provide information about the subject we’re studying. There is an enormous amount of information available on the internet, libraries. The literature search may include magazines, newspaper, trade literature, and academic literature.
Literature research example: Expect an issue is “The reason is item deals lower?” This can without much of a stretch be assessed with the guide of distributed information which ought to specify “whether the issue is an “industry issue” or a “firm issue”.
The literature search is a good start but it would be much preferred to talk to a person who is well informed about the specific subject that you’re studying. These people can be professionals or person outside the organization. Depth interviews are widely used to tap information and the experience of the individuals with the information related to the specific subject we’re studying. Anyone with information related to the problem is a strong candidate for the depth interview.
Depth Interview Example: A youngsters’ book distributor got valuable data in regards to a business decay by talking with administrators and teachers who uncovered that expanding quantities of individuals were utilizing library offices and conceivably purchasing fewer books for their kids.
Another method used is the gathering of the people who have a common objective and has information about the specific problem at hand. Focus group can have 8-12 members. While selecting the members, it should be kept in mind that the individuals have information about the problem.
Researchers can understand and tackle the problem more efficiently by dealing with the carefully selected cases or cases of the phenomenon. Analysis of the case of the organization which has gone through the same case will help in dealing with the problem more efficiently.
Case Analysis Example: L.L.Bean is perceived for its excellent request satisfaction. Notwithstanding amid the bustling Christmas season, the company, for the most part, fills more than 99 % of its requests accurately. Hence, different organizations have tried to enhance their own particular request satisfaction by bench-marking L.L.Bean.
Why explanatory research:
The Explanatory Research allows the researcher to provide the deep insight into a specific subject, which gives birth to more subjects and provides more opportunities for the researchers to study new things and questions new things. The deep study of subjects creates a cycle and, the critical thinking/study of the subject creates more questions and those questions lead to more ways for the researchers to study more things related to that subject.
Purpose of Explanatory Research:
Exploratory researchers are normally led when an issue is not obviously characterized. It permits the agent to familiarize with the issue or idea to be examined, and conceivably create theories (meaning of theory) to be tried. By and large, this research is completed by the utilization of center gatherings or little gathering dialog’s, that is every now and again used in looking into the market. Exp. Research can be immensely valuable for social research. They are vital when an agent is breaking new ground and they ordinarily convey new data about a point for research. They’ve likewise been a hot-spot for the grounded hypothesis.
Exploratory research studies have three main purposes: to fulfill the researcher’s curiosity and need for greater understanding, to test the livability of beginning a more top to bottom review, and furthermore to build up the techniques to be utilized as a part of any after research ventures.
Explanatory Research and Descriptive Research:
- Descriptive research, being quantitative in nature, is not efficient to open-ended questions, this type of research can answer these questions more efficiently.
- research is more flexible as compared to that of descriptive research.
- The descriptive research uses the tools like mean, average, median and frequency. On the other hand, Explanatory research allows the researcher to use the tools which are more qualitative in nature.
- The amount of information that the researcher has in mind, determines which type of research he/she should use to get better results. With only vague ideas in mind, it would be good for the researcher to go to exp. research. On the other hand, information like quantitative data allows the researcher to go for descriptive research which leads to unearthing specific relationships.
- Explanatory research needs to be conducted first, and then use that collection of information which is required for descriptive research.
The explanatory research is such type of research which is a pillar of the other type of researchers. Before initiating work for your next research, one should always conduct explanatory research first, because without it the research would be incomplete and it wouldn’t be as efficient. Explanatory research works to give your survey and research design a better focus and significantly limits any unintended bias information.