Guidelines: Descriptive Investigations

The goal of descriptive investigation is to describe. It should provide factual, accurate and systematic descriptions of phenomena without attempting to infer causal relationships. It does not answer questions about the how, when, or why a particular phenomenon occurred. It should serve to provide a foundation for building new knowledge and theory (such studies should be directed at providing novel data on important and unknown phenomena, e.g., dynamics of affect, performance, or other behaviors; discovery and documentation of new, important, and meaningful phenomena); and provide rigorously conducted qualitative information on phenomena that are difficult to capture with quantitative methods.

Descriptive Investigations will be evaluated generally on:

  • The originality, clarity and importance of the research question
  • The appropriateness of the study design to the research question
  • The size and representativeness of the sample chosen
  • The robustness of the data collection process, including choice of instruments or tools
  • The rigor and transparency of the analysis (including the coherence of the theoretical framework)
  • The logic and coherence of the links made between findings
  • The researchers awareness of the possibility of error and the steps taken to minimize or the potential for error throughout the research process

Specific Reviewer Guidelines for Descriptive Investigations:

  1. Is this manuscript appropriate for HAIB ? Explain.
  2. Is the title clear, accurate and unambiguous?
  3. Evaluate the abstract. Does it offer a clear, but brief, overview of the study including the research problem, sample, methodology, finding(s) and recommendations?
  4. Evaluate the introduction. Does it provide an appropriate background setting and foundation for the study? Was appropriate literature presented or are important elements/studies omitted? Does it flow logically and lead the reader directly to the study presented? Are all the terms, theories and concepts mentioned in the study dearly defined?
  5. Evaluate the Method Section. Is the research design clearly identified? Are all appropriate APA subsections included? Has the data gathering instrument been described? Is the instrument appropriate? How was it developed? Were reliability and validity testing undertaken and the results discussed? Was a pilot study undertaken? Does the data collection method fit with the definition of “Descriptive Investigations?” If the sample size is small, do the authors explain why more participants were not included? Does this study provide new and innovative information that could serve as the basis for future quantitative study? Has the target population been clearly identified? Was the method of selection of participants appropriate? Are the inclusion/exclusion criteria dearly identified?
  6. Evaluate the Results. Were appropriate descriptive statistical methods used? Are the results clearly stated and in APA style? How many of the sample participated? Do you consider the findings to be meaningful and important information that future researchers could benefit from?
  7. Evaluate the Discussion. Did the author(s) appropriately evaluate their results and was that evaluation reasonable and supported by the data? Are the findings linked back to the literature review? If a hypothesis was identified was it supported? Did the authors make any causal inferences from their descriptive study? Were the strengths and limitations of the study including generalizability discussed? Was a recommendation for further research made?
  8. Evaluate References, Tables, Figures, and Appendices. Are they appropriate and/or necessary? Do the references cited match those actually used in the text? Specifically, comment on the visual aspects, organization, and appearance, of any figures or tables included.
  9. In your opinion, was every precaution taken to insure the health and safety of all participants (both human and animal)? Was approval sought from an IRB and/or IACUC? Did participants provide informed consent to participate in the study?
  10. Evaluate the writing style of the paper. Is the report well written – concise, and grammatically correct? Is it well organized and free of jargon?
  11. Evaluate the potential contribution of the paper to the field of HAI.
  12. Which of the following action decisions would you recommend regarding this paper?
    • Accept.
    • Accept with minor revisions
    • Possibly accept, contingent upon major revisions.
    • Reject.

Please feel free to include any additional comments at the end of your review. If there are concerns that you would like to voice only to the co-editors of HAIB , please add a section labeled “For Editors Only” at the end of your review.

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