Descriptive analysis in education: A guide for researchers

March 27, 2017

Whether the goal is to identify and describe trends and variation in populations, create new measures of key phenomena, or describe samples in studies aimed at identifying causal effects, description plays a critical role in the scientific process in general and education research in particular. Descriptive analysis identifies patterns in data to answer questions about who, what, where, when, and to what extent. This guide describes how to more effectively approach, conduct, and communicate quantitative descriptive analysis. The primary audience for this guide includes members of the research community who conduct and publish both descriptive and causal studies, although it could also be useful for policymakers and practitioners who are consumers of research findings. The guide contains chapters that discuss the important role descriptive analysis plays; how to approach descriptive analysis; how to conduct descriptive analysis; and how to communicate descriptive analysis findings.

Read the guide here.