Descriptive Research: Collecting and analysing research data to describe effectiveness in music therapy

Anthony Lewis Wigram

Research output: Working paperResearch


Descriptive research is described by Lathom-Radocy and Radocy (1995) to include Survey research, ex post facto research, case studies and developmental studies. Descriptive research also includes a review of the literature in order to provide both quantitative and qualitative evidence of the effect of music therapy with a specific population (Gold, Voracek & Wigram, Wigram, 2002). The collection of such evidence, through surveys of the literature and documentation of music therapy studies that show effect with a specified population are becoming increasingly important in order to underpin music therapy as a treatment that meets healthcare needs. There are a plethora of case reports in the literature, and even more in an unpublished form that can be included in extensive analysis. In addition, the use of more effective baseline evaluation tools in order to adequately assess clients before therapy starts will allow effect size calculations to be made in order to evaluate effect over time. Given the difficulties in undertaking controlled experimental studies in the creative arts therapies, descriptive research methods offer a way of quantifying effect through descriptive statistical analysis
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • survey
  • descriptive research
  • Research
  • music therapy

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