Types of Descriptive Research
Generally, descriptive studies are of several types, These are (1) case studies, (2) surveys, (3) developmental studies, (4) follow-up studies, (5) documentary analyses, (6) trend analyses, (7) and correlational studies.
If your study intends to get reliable Information about the similarities of children at various ages, how they differ at age levels, and how they grow and develop, then your design may be a developmental study. Such design will require you to develop a considerable period of time in studying psychological, intellectual, and emotional growth of children. Some examples of developmental studies are those which deal with the physical plant, curriculum, and teaching methods and their effects on the characteristics of learners. Developmental studies may investigate progression along a number of dimensions such as intellectual, physical, emotional, or social development. The participants under study may be a relatively heterogenous or composed of different group or a narrowly defined homogeneous or composed of same group.
TWO METHODS OF DEVELOPMENTAL STUDIES:
1. The Longitudinal Method. In this method, you study the same sample of participants over an extended period of time. For example, If you study the development of mathematical concepts among elementary pupils, the mathematical skills of first graders will be measured annually until they reach grade six. Hence, your assessment will focus on how these skills develop over that period of six years. The initial achievement of the same group remains constant and whatever differences you find between two grade levels can be inferred as changes in mathematical skills related to the growth of the participants.
SEVERAL DIFFICULTIES IN USING LONGITUDINAL METHOD:
a) Since your study extends over a long period of time, it will require you more money, more time and more effort. b) It may be very difficult for you to keep up with the participants; and their cooperation with you may be difficult for you to maintain for an extended period of time. c) Another difficulty you meet in this method concerns the nature of the subjects you take as samples. Suppose you are not able to draw good samples and now you have been studying them for a number of years, what will you do? Or suppose you have chosen the wrong variables for investigation inadvertently or negligently, can you introduce new variables now? This method is seldom used because of the foregoing difficulties but the Child and Youth Research Center (CYRC) (1963) conducted a longitudinal study among selected 170 Filipino infants in their first year of life in Metro Manila. This longitudinal study aimed to obtain sequential developmental patterns on all aspects of development of the Filipino child: physical, mental, motor, adaptive, language, emotional, social and aesthetic-creative. Specifically, this study tried to: (1) establish patterns of growth in terms of the different body parts of children according to age and sex, specifically those of height and weight in relation to socio-economic status (SES); (2) determine illness patterns based on age (months), system involved, SES; and influence of illness on height and weight; (3) determine the nutritional status of the subjects by age level according to dietary rating and type of feeding, and the influence of these on height, weight and illness incidence.
Longitudinal studies may either be a short-term or long-term. 2. The Cross-Sectional Method. This involves studying participants of various age levels and other characteristics at the same point in time. For example, you can employ different samples from each of the six elementary grade levels to find out the development of mathematical skills in them. Instead of studying the mathematical concepts of grade one pupils and following them up for six years, in the cross-sectional method the children are studied at the same point in time. Comparisons are made on the basis of the performance of pupils from each grade level studied at the same time.
a) The major disadvantage you will encounter in this method is that chance differences between samples may seriously lend bias to your results.
For example: If your sample from among the first graders are more mature than the average Grade I pupils and that the second graders are less mature than the average Grade II pupils, then the differences between the two groups would be less. You can overcome this, however, by obtaining larger samples from the different grade levels. b) When you employ the cross-sectional method is the possibility of creating differences between the populations sampled due to extraneous or not pertinent variables.
For example: Investigate the achievement orientation of high school students, you might yield more motivated seniors than do the freshmen and sophomores. There will be more drop-outs in the lower years. Then, since the juniors and seniors are about to graduate, their achievement level may really be higher. If these were a longitudinal study, the developmental changes will register from year to year.
Why Cross-sectional Method preferable?
1) It lends itself favorably to the study of characteristics of typical children at various stages because of the possibility of employing large samples. 2) You will know the differences between contemporary pupils belonging to different year levels For example: The study of CYRC on “The Sex Knowledge of Filipino Children in a Philippine Barrio”. They used 300 participants distributed among five age level. This developmental cross-sectional study aimed to explore the knowledge about sex by Filipino boys and girls aged 2 to 6 years in a rural community.
Through the cross-sectional method, this study was able to answer the ff. specific questions: 1. What percentage of the subjects by age level and by sex could differentiate the male from the female person through: a) clothes worn c) hair ornamentation
b) hair styled) body ornamentation
2. What percentage of the subjects could identify the differences in the breast, and the external genital organs of the male and female body? 3. What common personal accessories, toys and tools were associated by the subjects with maleness? With femaleness? 4. What play, work, and occupational activities were associated by the subjects with maleness, femaleness? 5. What concepts about marriage, pregnancy and childbirth did the subjects possess by sex and by age level?