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Descriptive Research | Definition, Types, Methods & Examples

Published on May 15, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on October 10, 2022.

Descriptive research aims to accurately and systematically describe a population, situation or phenomenon. It can answer what , where , when and how   questions , but not why questions.

A descriptive research design can use a wide variety of research methods  to investigate one or more variables . Unlike in experimental research , the researcher does not control or manipulate any of the variables, but only observes and measures them.

Table of contents

When to use a descriptive research design, descriptive research methods.

Descriptive research is an appropriate choice when the research aim is to identify characteristics, frequencies, trends, and categories.

It is useful when not much is known yet about the topic or problem. Before you can research why something happens, you need to understand how, when and where it happens.

Descriptive research question examples

Descriptive research is usually defined as a type of quantitative research , though qualitative research can also be used for descriptive purposes. The research design should be carefully developed to ensure that the results are valid and reliable .

Survey research allows you to gather large volumes of data that can be analyzed for frequencies, averages and patterns. Common uses of surveys include:


Observations allow you to gather data on behaviours and phenomena without having to rely on the honesty and accuracy of respondents. This method is often used by psychological, social and market researchers to understand how people act in real-life situations.

Observation of physical entities and phenomena is also an important part of research in the natural sciences. Before you can develop testable hypotheses , models or theories, it’s necessary to observe and systematically describe the subject under investigation.

Case studies

A case study can be used to describe the characteristics of a specific subject (such as a person, group, event or organization). Instead of gathering a large volume of data to identify patterns across time or location, case studies gather detailed data to identify the characteristics of a narrowly defined subject.

Rather than aiming to describe generalizable facts, case studies often focus on unusual or interesting cases that challenge assumptions, add complexity, or reveal something new about a research problem .

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Research Methods and Statistics in Psychology

Student resources, multiple choice questions.

Revise your knowledge with these multiple choice quiz questions.

Chapter 2: Research in Psychology: Objectives and Ideals

Chapter 3: Research Methods  

Chapter 4: Experimental Design

Chapter 5: Survey Design

Chapter 6: Descriptive Statistics

Chapter 7: Some Principles of Statistical Inference    

Chapter 8: Examining Differences between Means: The t -test

Chapter 9: Examining Relationships between Variables: Correlation    

Chapter 10: Comparing Two or More Means by Analysing Variances: ANOVA    

Chapter 11: Analysing Other Forms of Data: Chi-square and Distribution-free Tests

Chapter 12: Classical Qualitative Methods

Chapter 13: Contextual Qualitative Methods

Chapter 14: Research Ethics    

Chapter 15: Conclusion: Managing Uncertainty in Psychological Research

Chapter 4 Quiz

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Student resources, multiple choice questions.

Quizzes are available to test your understanding of the key concepts covered in each chapter. Click on the quiz below to get started.

1.    What does a significant test statistic tell us?

The correct answer is b) That the test statistic is larger than we would expect if there were no effect in the population.

2.    What is the relationship between sample size and the standard error of the mean? ( Hint : The law of large numbers applies here: the larger the sample is, the better it will reflect that particular population.)

3.    What symbol is used to represent the standard error of the mean?

4.    Which of the following statements is true?

The correct answer is a) The standard error is calculated solely from sample attributes. This is because the standard error can be computed from a knowledge of sample attributes – sample size and sample statistics.

5.    There are basically two types of statistics – descriptive and inferential. Which of the following sentences are true about descriptive statistics? ( Hint : The answer is in the name descriptive statistics).

The correct answer is b) Descriptive statistics describe the data. Some examples are the mean and standard deviation.


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Top 20 Research Design MCQ With Answers

descriptive research includes mcq

Below given are top 20 important Research Design MCQ with answers. These updated multiple choice questions on research design are helpful for BBA, B Com, MBA, MMS, BMS, B Sc, Engineering, PGDM, M Phil and Ph D students and researchers. These MCQs will help for UGC NET, SET, MPSC, UPSC and other competitive entrance exams.

_______research is based on the measurement of quantity or amount.

A. Qualitative

B. Descriptive

C. Quantitative

D. Numerical

______ describes the present state of affairs as it exists without having any control over variables.

A. Analytical research

B. Descriptive research

C. Applied research

D. Distinctive research

In the _______research, the researcher has to use facts or information already available .

A. Analytical

D. Distinctive

__ ___ research is concerned with qualitative phenomena.

______ is related to some abstract ideas or theory.

A. Contextual research

B. Conceptual research

C. Ideal research

D. Empirical research

______ is data-based, coming up with conclusions that are capable of being verified, by observation or by experiment.

The objective of ______ is the development of hypotheses rather than their testing .

A. Laboratory research

B. Diagnostic research

C. Exploratory research

A ________ refers to some difficulty that a researcher experiences in either a theoretical or practical situation

A. research hypothesis

B. research experience

C. research problem

D. research crisis

_______ as a testable statement of a potential relationship between two or more variables.

Research design is a _________for conducting the marketing research project.

A. strategy

B. framework

C. blueprint

D. both B & C

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descriptive research includes mcq

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Unless instructed otherwise, choose ALL correct answers for each question.

Figure 1.27 Natural History of Disease Timeline

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Figure 1.27

Description: Item “A” occurs between the stage of susceptibility and the stage of subclinical disease. Item “B” occurs during the stage of subclinical disease. Item “C” occurs between the stage of subclinical disease and the stage of clinical disease. Item “D” occurs shortly after the stage of clinical disease begins. Item “E” occurs at the end of the stage of clinical disease. Return to text.

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Multiple Choice Questions

A. the process of how we manage, experience, and adjust our emotions

B . the process by which we form impressions and process information about people

C. the process by which we adjust to different cultural situations

D. the process by which we learn cultural norms and standards of behavior

A. many Oriya use abstract thinking models

B. many Americans make sense of their social worlds using concrete terms and behaviors

C. each participant group described the same type of individuals when asked to describe a close acquaintance

D. the position of an individual in society shapes the way that individual thinks about person perception in his or her daily social interactions

A . self-concept

B. self-definition

C. the independent self

D. the interdependent self

A. age is not a factor that shapes our self-descriptions

B. cognitive abilities do not connect to our self-descriptions

C. cultural heritage does not shape our self-descriptions

D . our cultural experiences shape the way we see ourselves and our self-descriptions

A. most participants generally focused upon how they see themselves

B. many participants included adjectives that related to material possessions

C. participants provided adjectives such as polite and courteous which connected to important cultural values

D. many participants described themselves in terms of the work that they did

A. Chinese children included more information about their personal preferences than European-American children did

B. Chinese children boasted more about their abilities than European American children did

C. Chinese children described themselves in more positive terms than European-American children did

D . Chinese children’s self-descriptions focused more upon social roles and responsibilities than European-American children did

B. a teacher helping a child with a difficult lesson

C. several children negotiating conflict during a game

D . a child watching an animal in its natural habitat

A. The Interdependent Independent Self Test

B . The Twenty Statements Test

C. The Self-Definition Test

D. The Self-Concept Test

A. it is quick and easy to use

B. it can be given in any language

C . it has few cultural biases

D. participants respond to hypothetical situations with provided adjectives

A. all participants focused on group traits

B. self-concepts contained elements of either exclusively the interdependent or the independent self

C . all participants focused upon personal traits

D. self-concepts may relate more to cultural worldviews than particular geographic areas

A. the interdependent self

B. the independent self

C. the relational self

D. the encompassing self

A . the interdependent self

B . the independent self

A. Indian participants focused upon personal attributes more than American participants did

B. American participants focused more upon relational attributes then Indian participants did

C . participant self-descriptions from both cultural groups included both personal and relational attributes

D. Indian and American self-descriptions that supported independent self-construals contained similar content

Which of the following is central to the Yin/Yang model?

A. the use of categories to organize the world

B. the notion that Yin and Yang are independent constructs

C. the use of similar word pairs to process information

D. the importance of situations and relationships

A . achieve pleasant relationships with people

B. achieve a social distance from others

C. achieve a sense of pride

D. achieve a sense of accomplishment to increase one’s self-esteem

A. Yin/Yang

B . Da Wo/Xiao Wo

C. the squeaky wheel gets the grease

D. a nail sticking up should be hammered down

A. The self is a group making process

B. the self causes a person’s behavior

C. a person’s actions do not connect to the self and particular situations

D. a person does not act to achieve self enhancement

A . a moral, interdependent, and social human being

B. a moral, independent, and social human being

C. a moral, relational, and social human being

D. a moral, encompassing, and social human being

A. our personal attributes

B. the descriptive component of the self

C . the evaluative component of the self

D. our personal preferences

A. the working self-concept functions like working memory

B. the working self-concept operates when we are asleep

C. the working self-concept is not active during social situations

D. the working self-concept operates when we are unconscious

A. no similarities between American and Japanese college students responses

B. Japanese self-descriptions included more material on social roles and physical attributes than American self-descriptions did

C. socialization practices in interdependent cultural contexts encourage children to distinguish the self from others and expressed their own wants and desires

D. among Japanese participants relationships were considered private and not like possessions or something you might have.

A. Japanese women develop the self-concept that is bounded in one in which the self is separate from others

B . Japanese women develop a self-concept that is flexible and situationally dependent

C. Japanese women have difficulty developing self-esteem

D. American women develop a self-concept that is flexible and situationally dependent

A. uniqueness

B. self-expression

C . humility

D. autonomy

A. obeying an authority figure

B. conforming to group norms

C . seeking out a leadership role on the team

D. volunteering to become a team member to help individuals in need

A. self-esteem

B. leadership

C . confidence

D. persuasion

A. mastery experiences

B. social modeling

C. social persuasion

D . social values

A . mastery experiences

D. social values

B . social modeling

B. self-efficacy

C. college self-efficacy

D. parenting self-efficacy

A. all second and third generation participants had high college self-efficacy

B. participants who did not embrace mainstream American values had high self-efficacy

C. only first generation participants had high college self-efficacy

D. participants who embrace mainstream American values and also maintain strong ties to the traditional heritage had greater college self-efficacy

A. A. all second and third generation participants had high college self-efficacy

D. bicultural participants had higher self-efficacy in part because they could bridge the gap between cultural practices at home and school

A. American mothers reported lesser parenting self-efficacy than Japanese mothers did

B. American mothers reported lesser satisfaction with their husbands’ social support than Japanese mothers did

C. Japanese mothers were less satisfied with their husband support than American mothers were

D. Japanese and American mothers had different perceptions of their mothers’ social support

A. the way others see us

B. the way others evaluate us

C. the social roles individuals fulfill in their society

D . our confidence

A. the respect people bestow upon you for behaving in moral ways

B. how we gain our reputation for success

C. how we draw attention to ourselves through our wealth and power

D. our self-image

A. Japanese

C . Kampucheans

D. Taiwanese

A. gaining a reputation for success

B. drawing attention to one’s wealth and power

C. self-image

D . respect a person can claim for himself from others

A. the concept of face

B . their ‘performance’ in the presence of others

C. integrity

D . the strategies people used to protect our relationships with others

A. the ‘back’ stage

B . the ‘front’ stage

C. performance

D. the private self

A . the ‘back’ stage

B. the ‘front’ stage

D. the public self

A. social pressure for fulfilling one’s obligations

B . taking pride in one’s qualities as they relate to relationships

C. honor and shame

D. a person’s accomplishments

A . no social standing

B. a sense of belonging

C. a sense of being part of the group

D. a person who matters

A. establishing a social relationship

B. making another child feel inferior

C. helping another child during an embarrassing moment

D. praising a child in public for his or her accomplishments

A. for personal gain

B. to obtain group approval

C. to stand out among your peers

D. to pay off a debt

A . emphasize the importance of how others evaluate the self

B. emphasize dignity

C. emphasize self-reflection

D. emphasize self-evaluation

A. emphasize the importance of how others evaluate the self

B. emphasize the opinions of others in judging the self

D. behave to preserve group harmony

A. cultural identity

B. bicultural identity

C . identity formation

D. fluid identity

A. socialization

B. enculturation

C. acculturation

D. identification

A . cultural identity

C. identity formation

A. for Indonesian women the experience of wearing the veil connects to modesty and fashion

B. for Indian women the experience of wearing the veil is a symbol of cultural identity

C. when Muslim women are a minority, they construct their cultural identity in ways that both separate them from the dominant population and draw them closer to their own in the group

D . when Muslim women are a majority they constantly feel the need to reaffirm their cultural identity and experience wearing the veil in this way

A. unexamined cultural identity

B. cultural identity search

C. cultural identity achievement

D. bicultural identity search

B . cultural identity search

D . bicultural identity search

A. cultural identity is permanent

B. cultural identity is fixed at birth

C. an individual can only have two cultural identities

D . cultural identity is fluid

A. changing identities

B. becoming bicultural

C. speaking multiple languages

D. code switching

A. young Taiwanese woman

B. young Vietnamese women

C. young Korean women

D . young Chinese women

A. many young women leave rural villages to find work in the cities

B. many of these young women do not adopt values such as autonomy and self-expression that connect to global cultures

C. many young women come to realize traditional values will not help them to become successful in global cultures

D. many of these women become bicultural existing into worlds, the global culture and that of their local communities

A. individual personalities are culture specific

B. an individual may have more than one personality

C. individual personalities shape culture and culture shapes the personality traits we express

D. personalities are not able to adjust and change with each situation

A. the FACS

B . The Five Factor Model

C. The Cultural Display Role Model

D. the DSM-5

A. openness

B. conscientiousness

C. extroversion

D. introversion

B. agreeableness

D. conscientiousness

B . neuroticism

D . conscientiousness

A. culturally diverse participants organized their responses around seven factors the same way Americans did

B. among American samples the five factors remained stable across the lifespan

C. culturally diverse participants organized their responses around six factors the same way Americans did

D . among American samples the five factors increase and decrease across the lifespan

A. no distinct cultural differences

B. Czech teenagers should score higher on openness and conscientiousness

C . Slovak teenagers should score higher on extroversion

D. Polish teenagers would score higher on neuroticism

B. New Zealand

C. Australia

B . New Zealand

A. it is not a very important personality trait to Chinese individuals

B. it does not connect to local Chinese meanings and behaviors when uses and social interactions

C. this factor appears to be unique to the Chinese personality

D. this factor appears in the Five Factor Model

A. social curiosity

B. interpersonal relatedness

C. openness

D. neuroticism

A. the Five Factor Model is relevant in all cultural communities

B. there are only five personality factors in the human experience

C. indigenous models and the Five Factor Model are identical

D . indigenous studies support the importance of using culturally relevant measures to study personality


Formplus Blog

Multiple choice questions (MCQ) are popularly known to help in survey questionnaires and education exams. When gathering data for research , we think about two things—the kind of questions to ask and what tool should be used to ask these questions.

One of the major tools used for data collection is the questionnaire. Questionnaires are research instruments consisting of a set of questions to collect relevant information or data from respondents. In other words, they can be simply defined as a written interview. 

There are different types of questionnaires used in research, and they are classified based on the type of questions they contain. In this article, we will be reviewing the Multiple choice question types and how they are used for research purposes. 

What is a Multiple Choice Question (MCQ)? 

A multiple-choice question is a type of questionnaire/survey question that provides respondents with multiple answer options. Sometimes called objective response questions, it requires respondents to select only correct answers from the choice options. 

MCQs are mostly used in educational testing, customer reviews, market research, elections, etc. Although they take different forms depending on their purpose, they have the same structure.  

Parts of Multiple Choice Questions 

A multiple-choice question consists of the following parts:

1. Stem: A stem is a question. The questionnaire should make sure the question is straightforward, error-free and is relevant. 

2. Answer: This is the correct answer to the question. The correct answer may be determined by the questionnaire, respondent or some set down rules both the questionnaire and respondent do not influence.  

3. Distractors: The distractors in multiple-choice questions are the other incorrect responses added to make up the choice options. 

11 Types of Multiple Choice Questions + [Examples]

1. image multiple choice questions.

This is a multiple-choice question type that uses images as choice options. It is best used for questions that require visual identity. A common example is ReCaptcha, a security measure that confirms human identity or a picture quiz question.

It can also be used for educational testing purposes. Below is an image multiple choice question that asks respondents to identify a cat.

This question asks respondents to identify wild animals. It is multiple select questions, while the former is a single select.

2. Radio Multiple Choice Questions

This is the most popular multiple choice question type among questionnaires. It uses radio buttons to list the various choice options. In most cases, radio buttons are used for single select questions.

Here is an example of a radio multiple-choice question used in collecting nominal data . 

Here is a binary example of a radio MCQ that takes nominal data of the respondent’s gender. 

3. Checkbox Multiple Choice Questions

Checkbox questions are multiple-choice questions type that uses a list of checkboxes as options. They are the most ideal for questions in which multiple answers can be selected. 

Checkbox MCQs are mostly used for multiple answer questions. Let us consider this example which takes data of the devices a respondent has. 

It can also be used for single-answer questions by creating a maximum response validation with Formplus. 

4. Single Select Choice Questions

This is a multiple-choice question that allows respondents to select a single option from a dropdown list. Single select is not only used for questionnaires but also website menus. The dropdown menu is an example of a single select choice question.

It mostly uses a hamburger button as the stem (i.e. question). In the image above, pricing, features, templates, blog, and login are the choice options. The answer is determined by the respondent. 

Here is another example of a single select MCQ that is used in questionnaires. 

5. Multiple Select Choice Questions

This is used to select multiple answers from a list of options. It is mostly used for questionnaires or surveys and cannot be used as a website menu.

It may be used by restaurants to take orders from customers like in this case. The respondents have the opportunity to choose more than one option from the list. 

Multiple select choice questions also have the “Select All” option that allows respondents to easily select all options without having to go through the stress. 

6. Star Rating Multiple Choice Questions

Star rating is an interactive multiple-choice question type that takes answers on a rating scale. This rating option is used to take ordinal data. 

It is mostly used by businesses to get customer reviews on their products or service. Ride-hailing services like Uber and Bolt (Taxify) use a star rating to rate their drivers. Google and Apple play store also use a star rating to indicate reviews on mobile apps.

A restaurant trying to improve its service may use a star rating to gather data on customer views on specific parts of its service. 

7. Heart Rating Multiple Choice Questions

Heart rating is also an interactive multiple-choice question type. It uses the heart or love symbol as a rating scale. 

This rating scale uses a more personal approach to collecting data. It is mostly used for reviews by businesses who want to have an emotional connection with their customers. 

In this example, the questionnaire uses the word “love” in the question, appealing to the emotion of the respondent.

Event planners may also use the heart rating scale to get data on how people feel about the panel sessions at the event. 

8. Rating Scale Multiple Choice Questions

The rating scale is a type of multiple-choice question that takes input from respondents using a linear scale. The scale can either be vertical or horizontal depending on the questionnaire. 

The above is a vertical example of a rating scale that asks respondents to rate their excel skills. Here is a horizontal or inline example of a linear rating scale.

9. Matrix Point Rating Multiple Choice Questions

This is a multiple-choice question type that uses a table to ask questions and list options. The example below collects ordinal data of customer feedback using radio buttons. It is a 3 point Likert scale example .

The matrix scale options can be further increased into a 5 point Likert scale . The first row contains a list of the choice options while the first column contains the questions. The other cells in the table contain the radio buttons. 

A matrix scale can be used to ask multiple questions at a time. That is, it can have two or more stems. 

10. Smiley Rating Multiple Choice Questions

This highly interactive multiple choice question type uses emojis/smileys as a rating scale. It collects data of the respondent’s mood and allows them to visualize their emotions. 

A weight is assigned to each smiley on the scale, and used in the analysis of the data gathered. 

Many organizations use smiley ratings because of their interactive nature and emotional feel. 

11. Thumbs Multiple Choice Question

This multiple-choice question type collects binary data, which in this case is the thumbs up and thumbs down. The thumbs MCQ is also a rating scale question. 

The option includes an emoji or image representing the thumbs up and thumbs down, which means like and dislikes respectively. 

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How to Use Formplus Multiple Choice Features for Surveys/Quizzes 

Multiple-choice questions are the most common type of question used in surveys/quizzes. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to use the multiple-choice features on Formplus. 

Step 1 – Select Feature

There are various multiple-choice question features on Formplus and they fall under two main categories, namely; ratings and choice options. In this example, we will be using the Choice Options.

Step 2 – Edit Form

We will edit our form into anything we want. In this guide, we will be creating a quiz that asks respondents to identify a non-continent. 

Step 3 – Customise 

You can also customize the forms in the Customise section. Formplus allows you to change colors, add images and even personalize your forms. 

For rating options :

Go to the next step, which is editing. 

Uses of Multiple Choice Questions  

Data collection is an integral part of the research, and there are various tools used in collecting data. One of those tools is online and offline surveys/questionnaires. 

Surveys are mostly used to collect categorical (qualitative) data, and one of the techniques used by researchers are multiple-choice questions. Multiple choice questions help researchers easily gather data from respondents.

MCQ can be used for both scientific and marketing research. Let us consider this competitive market research example:

Which of the following phone brands are you familiar with? 

This example is multiple select choice options. 

Multiple choice questions are mostly used in the objective section of tests and/or exams. It is a common technique for student evaluation in the US and other parts of the world. 

Benjamin D. Wood developed the multiple-choice question in the early 20th century to test students . It became more popular in the mid-20th century when scanners and data-processing machines were developed to check the results.

Although there are arguments about whether multiple-choice questions is a good technique for educational testing, it is still commonly used. Below is an example of a multiple-choice question in education.

If x+2=5, what is the value of x? 

Online registration forms are known for using multiple choice questions for data collection. It is used in all online registration process. 

When registering on a website, for instance, a respondent is required to input details like country, title, gender, etc. These questions are mostly asked using a drop-down menu. Consider the following examples:

b. What gender are you?

It is also used by Human Resources Managers during the employment process. Each stage of the application collects data through multiple-choice questions. 

During the first application stage, they ask applicants to enter details like their highest level of education. For example:

What is your highest level of education? 

During the prescreening stage, they give applicants aptitude tests to test their ability. This ranges from the test of maths, business, language, listening, etc. For example:

How would you react if a customer complains about the meal? 

When attending to patients, psychologists need to collect data about the patient. They use different multiple-choice question types to ask questions from the patient. 

This is very necessary for the psychologist to have a proper understanding of the patient and determine the type of illness and; ake proper diagnosis and treatment. 

Which of the following emotions do you feel often? 

Advantages of Multiple Choice Questions

Multiple choice questions are less time-consuming for respondents and as such increase response rate. With MCQ, respondents don’t have to go through the pain of typing responses. 

It aids researchers in asking straightforward questions. 

The data collected from multiple-choice questions are easy to analyze because questionnaires don’t have to deal with irrelevant data. Factors like illegible handwriting, clarity of presentation, etc. are eliminated. 

They are said to be compatible with mobile devices because of their ease of filling. Respondents don’t need a keyboard to type responses. 

They only have to tap and scroll through the form to answer multiple-choice questions. With the popularity of online forms, it is reported that 1 in 5 respondents fill forms on their mobile devices.

Considering the absence of a mouse or keyboard MCQs make it easy to fill these forms. 

Disadvantages of Multiple Choice Questions 

There is a limitation to the type of assessment or investigation that can be carried out through multiple-choice questions. It is best adapted for well-defined investigations. 

When carrying out problem-solving and high order reasoning assessments in educational testing, for instance, it is better to use short answer or essay test

There is a possible ambiguity in the way a questionnaire interpreted the input. Since the responses are not descriptive, the questionnaire may fail to properly interpret the respondents’ intent. 

This may lead to analyzing the wrong data and making wrong conclusions. 

In most cases, questionnaires do not leave the respondents with the option of leaving the answer field empty when filling online forms. This may lead respondents to choose any random option which may be incorrect. 

Let us consider multiple-choice questions used ]n educational testing. A student who doesn’t know the correct answer to the questions may take guesses and end up getting them right. 

He/She may even score higher than the intelligent ones. Situations like this do not test for true knowledge.

Multiple-choice questions have many applications in education, election, scientific research, market research, etc. Until recently, it is mostly known to be used in educational testing only. 

Despite the recent uproar about the need for it to be scrapped, Multiple Choice Questions remain very popular in educational testing. A lot of top educational institutions around the world use it to administer tests on students. 

Its application to marketing and customer service has helped increase its popularity. Many brands now use interactive MCQs like smiley rating, star rating, etc. to get customer reviews and other relevant information. 


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Descriptive Research: Definition, Characteristics, Methods + Examples

Descriptive Research

Suppose an apparel brand wants to understand the fashion purchasing trends among New York’s buyers, then it must conduct a demographic survey of the specific region, gather population data, and then conduct descriptive research on this demographic segment. The study will then uncover details on “what is the purchasing pattern of New York buyers,” but will not cover any investigative information about “ why ” the patterns exist. Because for the apparel brand trying to break into this market, understanding the nature of their market is the study’s main goal. Let’s talk about it.

Content Index

What is descriptive research?

Characteristics of descriptive research, applications of descriptive research with examples, advantages of descriptive research, descriptive research methods, examples of descriptive research.

Descriptive research is a research method describing the characteristics of the population or phenomenon studied. This descriptive methodology focuses more on the “what” of the research subject than the “why” of the research subject.

The method primarily focuses on describing the nature of a demographic segment without focusing on “why” a particular phenomenon occurs. In other words, it “describes” the research subject without covering “why” it happens.

Gather research insights

The term descriptive research then refers to research questions, design of the study, and data analysis conducted on that topic. We call it an observational research method because none of the research study variables are influenced in any capacity.

Some distinctive characteristics of descriptive research are:

A descriptive research method can be used in multiple ways and for various reasons. Before getting into any survey , though, the survey goals and survey design are crucial. Despite following these steps, there is no way to know if one will meet the research outcome. How to use descriptive research? To understand the end objective of research goals, below are some ways organizations currently use descriptive research today:

Some of the significant advantages of descriptive research are:

Advantages of descriptive research

There are three distinctive methods to conduct descriptive research. They are:

The observational method is the most effective method to conduct this research, and researchers make use of both quantitative and qualitative observations.

A quantitative observation is the objective collection of data primarily focused on numbers and values. It suggests “associated with, of or depicted in terms of a quantity.” Results of quantitative observation are derived using statistical and numerical analysis methods. It implies observation of any entity associated with a numeric value such as age, shape, weight, volume, scale, etc. For example, the researcher can track if current customers will refer the brand using a simple Net Promoter Score question .

Qualitative observation doesn’t involve measurements or numbers but instead just monitoring characteristics. In this case, the researcher observes the respondents from a distance. Since the respondents are in a comfortable environment, the characteristics observed are natural and effective. In a descriptive research design, the researcher can choose to be either a complete observer, an observer as a participant, a participant as an observer, or a full participant. For example, in a supermarket, a researcher can from afar monitor and track the customers’ selection and purchasing trends. This offers a more in-depth insight into the purchasing experience of the customer.

Case studies involve in-depth research and study of individuals or groups. Case studies lead to a hypothesis and widen a further scope of studying a phenomenon. However, case studies should not be used to determine cause and effect as they can’t make accurate predictions because there could be a bias on the researcher’s part. The other reason why case studies are not a reliable way of conducting descriptive research is that there could be an atypical respondent in the survey. Describing them leads to weak generalizations and moving away from external validity.

In survey research, respondents answer through surveys or questionnaires or polls . They are a popular market research tool to collect feedback from respondents. A study to gather useful data should have the right survey questions. It should be a balanced mix of open-ended questions and close ended-questions . The survey method can be conducted online or offline, making it the go-to option for descriptive research where the sample size is enormous.

Some examples of descriptive research are:

Some other problems and research questions that can lead to descriptive research are:


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Research Methodology MCQs [Additional 35 Questions] for NTA NET and SLET Exam

Research Methodology MCQs for NTA NET and SLET Exam

Research Methodology MCQs Part 2 Additional 35 Questions  Also useful for B.Com/M.Com, NTA NET / JRF and SET Exam

In this Post You will get Additional 35  Research Methodology MCQs  which is very helpful for the students of B. Com, M. Com, NTA NET and SLET Exam . More than 200 MCQs are added including the first part and more questions will be added soon.

Research methodology Chapter wise MCQs are also available on our blog. Links are given below:

a)  Research Methodology MCQs [Part 1] (40 Questions)

b) Research Methodology MCQS Part I1 (35 Questions)

c) Sampling MCQs (35 Questions)

d) MCQ on Research Problem and Research Plan (20 Questions)

e) Collection of data MCQs (33 Questions)

f) MCQ on Research Report Writing (30 Questions)


1. Ex Post Facto research means:

a) The research is carried out after the incident

b) The research is carried out prior to the incident

c) The research is carried out along with the happening of an incident.

d) The research is carried out keeping in mind the possibilities of an incident.

Ans: a) The research is carried out after the incident

2. Research ethics do not include:

b) Subjectivity

c) Integrity

d) Objectivity

Ans: b) Subjectivity

3. Controlled group condition is applied in:

a) Survey Research

b) Historical Research

c) Experimental Research

d) Descriptive Research

Ans: c) Experimental Research

4. A doctor studies the relative effectiveness of two drugs of dengue fever. His research would be classified as:

a) Descriptive Survey

b) Experimental Research

c) Case Study

d) Ethnography

Ans: b) Experimental Research

5. Which of the following research types focuses on ameliorating the prevailing situations?

a) Fundamental Research

b) Applied Research

c) Action Research

d) Experimental Research

Ans: c) Action Research

6. Which one of the following is a research tool?

b) Illustration

c) Questionnaire

Ans: c) Questionnaire

7. Research is not considered ethical if it

a) Tries to prove a particular point.

b) Does not ensure privacy and anonymity of the respondent.

c) Does not investigate the data scientifically.

d) Is not of a very high standard.

Ans: b) Does not ensure privacy and anonymity of the respondent.

8. A research paper is a brief report of research work based on:

a) Primary Data only

b) Secondary Data only

c) Both Primary and Secondary Data

d) None of the above

Ans: c) Both Primary and Secondary Data

9. In the process of conducting research ‘Formulation of Hypothesis” is followed by

a) Statement of Objectives

b) Analysis of Data

c) Selection of Research Tools

d) Collection of Data

Ans: c) Selection of Research Tools

10. The essential qualities of a researcher are

a) spirit of free enquiry

b) reliance on observation and evidence

c) systematization or theorizing of knowledge

d) all the above

Ans: d) all the above

11. Research is conducted to

I. Generate new knowledge

II. Not to develop a theory

III. Obtain research degree

IV. Reinterpret existing knowledge

Which of the above are correct?

a) I, III & II

b) III, II & IV

c) II, I & III

d) I, III & IV

Ans: d) I, III & IV

12. Which of the following phrases is not relevant to describe the meaning of research as a process?

a) Systematic Activity

b) Objective Observation

c) Trial and Error

d) Problem Solving

Ans: b) Objective Observation

13. Research has shown that the most frequent symptom of nervous instability among teachers is:

a) Digestive upsets

b) Explosive behaviour

Ans: b) Explosive behaviour

14. A common test in research demands much priority on:

a) Reliability

b) Usability

c) Objectivity

d) All of the above

Ans: d) All of the above

15. If a researcher conducts a research on finding out which administrative style contributes more to institutional effectiveness? This will be an example of:

a) Basic Research

b) Action Research

c) Applied Research

d) Fundamental Research

Ans: c) Applied Research

16. The research which is exploring new facts through the study of the past is called:

a) Philosophical research

b) Historical research

c) Mythological research

d) Content analysis

Ans: b) Historical research

17. The format of thesis writing is the same as in:

a) Preparation of a research paper/article

b) Writing of seminar presentation

c) A research dissertation

d) Presenting a workshop/conference paper

Ans: c) A research dissertation

18. In qualitative research paradigm, which of the following features may be considered critical?

a) Data collection with standardized research tools.

b) Sampling design with probability sample techniques.

c) Data collection with bottom-up empirical evidences.

d) Data gathering to take with top-down systematic evidences.

Ans: c) Data collection with bottom-up empirical evidences.

19. From the following list of statement identify the set, which has negative implications for ‘research ethics’:

I. A researcher critically looks at the findings of another research.

II. Related studies are cited without proper references.

III. Research findings are made the basis for policymaking.

IV. Conduct of practitioner is screened in terms of reported research evidences.

V. A research study is replicated with a view to verify the evidences from other researches.

VI. Both policy making and policy implementing processes are regulated in terms of preliminary studies.

Which of the below mentioned option is correct?

1. I, II and III

2. II, III and IV

3. II, IV and VI

4. I, III and V

Ans: 3. II, IV and VI

20. The problem of ‘research ethics’ is concerned with which aspect of research activities?

a) Following the prescribed format of a thesis

b) Data analysis through qualitative or quantitative techniques

c) Defining the population of research

d) Evidence based research reporting

Ans: d) Evidence based research reporting

21. Prime Minister Research Fellowship is for students pursuing Ph.D programme in :

a) State and Central Universities

b) Central Universities, IISc, IITs, NITs, IISERs and IIITs

c) IISc, IITs, NITs, IISERs, IIITs, State and Central Universities

d) IITs and IISc

Ans: d) IITs and IISc

22. In a research on the effect of child-rearing practices on stress –proneness of children in competing school projects, the hypothesis formulated is that ‘child rearing practices do influence stress- proneness’. At the data-analysis stage a null hypothesis is advanced to find out the tenability of research hypothesis. On the basis of the evidence available, the null hypothesis is rejected at 0.01 level of significance. What decision may be warranted in respect of the research hypothesis?

a) The research hypothesis will also be rejected.

b) The research hypothesis will be accepted.

c) Both the research hypothesis and the null hypothesis will be rejected.

d) No decision can be taken in respect of the research hypothesis.

Ans: b) The research hypothesis will be accepted.

23. A research intends to explore the effect of possible factors for the organization of effective mid-day meal interventions. Which research method will be most appropriate for this study?

a) Historical method

b) Descriptive survey method

c) Experimental method

d) Ex-post factor method

Ans: d) Ex-post factor method

24. Which of the following is an initial mandatory requirement for pursuing research?

a) Developing a research design

b) Formulating a research question

c) Deciding about the data analysis procedure

d) Formulating a research hypothesis

Ans: b) Formulating a research question

25. A researcher attempts to evaluate the effect of method of feeding on anxiety - proneness of children. Which method of research would be appropriate for this?

a) Case study method

b) Experimental method

c) Ex-post-facto method

d) Survey method

Ans: c) Ex-post-facto method

26. Which type of study is loosely structured and designed to expand understanding of a topic and provide insights?

c) Exploratory

d) Experimental

Ans: c) Exploratory

27. Which one of the following is not an essential element of report writing?

a) Research Methodology

b) Reference

c)  None of these

d) Conclusion

Ans: c) None of these

28. What is self-plagiarism?

a) When a person lifts material that they have previously written and pass it off as their own work

b) Taking about yourself too much

c) Using somebody else's work and passing it off as your own

d) An epistemological stance

Ans: a) When a person lifts material that they have previously written and pass it off as their own work

29. Essence of both basic and applied research lies in:

a) Market orientation

b) Scientific method

c) Performance monitoring research

d) Costing methods

Ans: b) Scientific method

30. _______is a type of conclusive research that has as its major objective the description of something— usually market characteristics or functions.

a) Exploratory research

b) Conclusive research

c) Causal research

d) Descriptive research

Ans: d) Descriptive research

31. The following is a step in the process of historical research:

a) Identifying a research topic

c) Data collection

32. ________ Describes the present state of affairs as it exists without having any control over variables.

a) Analytical research

b) Descriptive research

c) Applied research

d) Distinctive research

Ans: b) Descriptive research

33. The main objective of _______ study’s to acquire knowledge

a) Exploratory.

b) Descriptive.

c) Diagnostic.

d) Descriptive and Diagnostic.

Ans: b) Descriptive.

34. Propositions which describe the characteristics are _______ Hypothesis

a) Descriptive.

b) Imaginative.

c) Relational.

d) Variable.

Ans: a) Descriptive.

35. Research objectives include:

a) Decision making

b) Build new concepts

c) Eliminates old concepts

d) Only a and b

Ans: d) Only a and b

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