Normative research is data that represents normal responses to stimuli in a defined population at a specific time. This information is useful for scientists, doctors and advertisers alike.
Normative research seeks to clearly define the study population, outline the phenomena under research and appropriately interpret the results. Scientists use the scientific method to gather this data and apply it to the generated hypothesis. Doctors use it to determine appropriate levels of care for a populated area, and advertisers use it to understand how best to market products. Individuals conducting normative research can do so through cross-sectional studies for which information comes from a population at one set time, or through longitudinal studies for which information comes repeatedly in time to measure rates of change.