Descriptive research focuses on collecting data without altering the environment in which it is studying. These studies are often referred to as observational research.
Descriptive studies can last for a short period of time, such as a cross-sectional study. This type of study observes people in one interaction in a group setting. These studies can also be long-term, such as a longitudinal study. Longitudinal studies often follow individuals who are undergoing fitness and health treatment to determine the effectiveness.
Because of their focus on relationships, descriptive studies focus on answering the "what" rather than the "how" or "why," as other types of studies focus on revealing.