Difference between Experimental and Descriptive Research

Experimental and Descriptive Research
Research is the main part of your higher studies. But which research? Is your research descriptive, or experimental? Many researchers perform experimental research. The researchers who perform descriptive research are also not less in numbers either. So what’s the difference between both types of researches? If you’re curious about this aspect, give this article a fine read. Before moving towards differences, let’s first define both terms.

Descriptive research is a qualitative approach for observing the issues in finance dissertation writing task. In fact, it can be qualitative, or quantitative. Most of the time, social science researchers conduct this study. It describes the characteristics of the group under study. The research methods of descriptive study are different from other study’s methods.

In contrast, experimental research is a quantitative approach to observing the problem. It deals with numerical values as well. Most of the time, natural science researchers conduct this study. This is because it describes the potential properties of the problem in numerals. The research methods of this study are purely scientific as well.


Obviously, there are many differences between both the research methods. But what are those differences? In this section of the article, I will discuss those differences one by one. A brief description of the major differences is as follows;


A major difference between both studies lies in their definitions. Descriptive research defines a phenomenon. It also describes the characteristics of a group by exploring them in detail. This is also very easy to conduct. All you need to do is prepare a survey or questionnaire, and record the answers.

Whereas in an experimental study, a researcher works on a cause-effect topic. This study is difficult to conduct. This is because you need to perform proper experiments to get the results. Thus, the basic difference lies in definitions of both terms.

Data Collection Methods

The next difference lies in the data collection methods. The data collection methods of both studies are different. The descriptive research uses both qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection. The researcher uses mixed data collection techniques in descriptive research. He uses both primary, and secondary data collection methods.

Whereas the aspect of data collection regarding experimental research is purely quantitative. Quantitative data can be collected through primary data collection methods. The researcher himself gathers the data, and then conducts different experiments on it. So the second major difference is in data collection methods.

Methodology of Research

The third difference is in methods of conducting research. In descriptive research, the researcher observes things. The researcher sometimes can also create situations for observing the behavior of individuals towards it. He then applies the methodologies of descriptive research for describing his observations.

In experimental research, the researcher studies things in a closed environment. The closed environment can be a laboratory, or a research center where he studies the cause-effect phenomenon. He then applies the scientific methodologies, and experiments to conduct his research. After completing the experiments, the researcher publishes output of the study in the form of a research paper.

Type of Studies

A major difference also lays between both types of research concerning the type of studies. The descriptive research relates to the social sciences. Therefore, the study subjects in this reach are that of psychology and sociology. These subjects use descriptive approaches to address society’s psychological, and sociological issues.

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In contrast, researchers study science subjects in experimental research. It typically includes forensic studies, engineering studies, or biological studies. It is because the research of these subjects depends on the laboratory and experiments. Therefore, the type of study is also an important aspect in research.


The last major difference between both terms is in the focus of research. In descriptive research, the focus of the study is in answering the question “what is.” It describes the properties of a certain group. Let’s take an example. “What is the average student debt load of Medical students?” The researcher will explain this aspect of “what is” in his research.

In the meantime, experimental research focuses on answering the question “what if.” It is because experimental research explains the cause-effect phenomenon. There will be variables in this research as well. Those variables will be causing and affecting the issue.


Experimental and descriptive researches are the two important types of researches. These research methods are useful for analysing specific events, and study groups. Both the methods differ from each other greatly. Major differences between both the researches are up there. If you want more insights into it, you can look for other differences on the internet.

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