An investigation aimed at ascertaining the status of a set of variables, such as the number and variety of persons with specific conditions in a specified population, but without any critical analysis or attempt to test casual hypotheses, is known as a descriptive study. Examples include the U.S. National Health Care Survey, periodic reports from cancer registries, and needs assessment surveys conducted by a local health department. Descriptive studies can yield valuable information about a population's health status, and they can be used to measure risks and generate hypotheses. Descriptive studies are also useful in health service evaluation and can be used periodically to determine whether a particular service is improving, for instance, if serial description studies all show evidence of reduced sickness or disability rates over a period of years.
John M. Last
(see also: Cross-Sectional Study; Observational Studies; Statistics for Public Health )
"Descriptive Study." Encyclopedia of Public Health. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 11, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/education/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/descriptive-study
"Descriptive Study." Encyclopedia of Public Health. . Retrieved December 11, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/education/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/descriptive-study
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.