Descriptive research or statistical research provides data about the population or universe being studied. But it can only describe the "who, what, when, where and how" of a situation, not what caused it. Therefore, descriptive research is used when the objective is to provide a systematic description that is as factual and accurate as possible. It provides the number of times something occurs, or frequency, lends itself to statistical calculations such as determining the average number of occurences or central tendencies.
One of its major limitations is that it cannot help determine what causes a specific behaviour, motivation or occurrence. In other words, it cannot establish a causal research relationship between variables.
The two most commonly types of descriptive research designs are