There are different kinds of research, and they can be broadly categorized into the following types:
The same categories apply to survey research.
Exploratory research is focused on collecting new ideas and insights instead of quantitative data. It is best suited to being used at the beginning of research plans when different ideas are being explored, and there is maximum room for creativity.
This type of research can be used to look into ideas for potential growth, probable new changes to be made, change in strategy, or diving into a new field, different from the current one. This research is mostly used in forming a market or business strategy.
Exploratory research is used to collect qualitative data that gives rich information. Open-ended questions in surveys are a way of doing exploratory research.
Descriptive research provides quantitative data, as opposed to exploratory research. Descriptive research is used to find out the user’s preference or opinion from a predefined set of options.
Therefore, descriptive research is preplanned and structured beforehand. It provides predefined categories to choose from. Descriptive research does not provide new and unique insights or ideas like exploratory research. Instead, this type of research provides data that we can analyze statistically and make further decisions based on this. MCQ questions in surveys are a way of doing descriptive research.
Causal research overlaps with descriptive research, as it is also quantitative and preplanned. However, it attempts to look into the cause and effect relationship between variables instead of descriptive research.
Causal research aims to understand which variables are the cause and which are the effect, as well as to understand the type of relationship between causal variables and the effect that has to be predicted. An example would be setting up an experiment and then seeing the effects of changing causal variables.
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