What is research design? This is a common question, especially among researchers. It is important to understand what research design is and how it differs from the research methodology for which it is generally confused. A research plan applies to the methods as well as the procedures used in collecting data and analyzing measures of variables that are specified for a research problem. Design is responsible for describing the type of research that is being done. This can be either descriptive, meta-analytical, experimental, correlational, semi-experimental, or a subtype.
Understanding what research design is is the best way to help researchers find answers to research questions because design provides the framework they need to use. Research methodology, on the other hand, refers to the systematic and theoretical analysis of research methods.
Definition of research design by authors
Different people have defined research design differently. One thing, however, is that these definitions amount to the same. Here are some ways in which the research design has been defined.
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- It is the overall strategy chosen in integrating the different components of the study in a logical and coherent manner, which ensures that the research problem is sufficiently addressed. It encompasses the collection, measurement and analysis of data.
- In a different definition, research design has been described as a systematic study design used to transform a research question or multiple research questions into an experimental study or a test project.
- Research design has also been defined as a set of advanced decisions constituting a blueprint that specifies the methods, as well as the procedures that will be used to collect and analyze the data.
From the definitions above, it is easy to see that a research plan is based on the research questions. Its objective is to answer a number of questions including:
- The type of questions to study in the research
- The relevance of the data collected
- What data to collect
- The data analysis process
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What is the difference between research methodology and research design?
Different textbooks tend to have different meanings of research design, as we have already seen above. Some authors tend to focus on designing research as qualitative or quantitative research methods, while others argue that research design is about the specific method of collecting and analyzing data. You can choose to define a research design as the general outline or the outline of things that you will do to effectively find an answer to your research question.
On the other hand, research methodology refers to the specific techniques and methods that you will use to select, identify and process, as well as to analyze the information you collect regarding a research topic. This is the methodological part of your research that will allow the reader to critically assess the readability and validity of the study. This section tends to address crucial areas that affect the process of data generation as well as its analysis.
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Understanding the research design
As already mentioned, the search design forms a systematic structure describing the search procedure. It indicates the things that will be done as well as the main parts of the research process. The design takes into account study samples, measurements, programs as well as testing and evaluation, among others. These components are believed to work in unison to provide an answer to the research question which can be either positive or negative. As such, we need to understand the components of any typical research plan. These included;
It encompasses the following elements:
- Design and development of research instruments
- Questionnaire development
- Survey design
- Formulation maintenance
- Sample selection and design
- Define and finalize the variables
2. Observation of data measurements
He touches :
- Data analysis
- Data gathering
It refers to how you’re going to wrap things up. You must mention the following:
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- Derivation of results
- Test versus hypothesis
- State the limitations
What are the 4 types of research design?
With a basic understanding of what research design is, it is necessary that we examine the types of designs available for study. There are many models, but we will focus on the four common types. First, we will look at a list of the different research designs available. There are basically two categories of research models, namely qualitative and quantitative models.
Quantitative research focuses on the objectives, formal and systemic procedures where digital data is used to gather information about the world. Rather, it is a fixed type of design. Types of this design category include:
- Experimental designs
- Semi-experimental designs
- Quasi-experimental designs
On the other hand, we have qualitative research designs. These are flexible. You may have wondered at some point, “What is research design in qualitative design?” Qualitative research design is defined as a process of inquiry aimed at understanding the different and distinct investigative methods that help to understand social and human issues. Here the researcher has the big picture in mind and builds it from scratch using report analysis, informant views, as well as their own observations. Here are the most common qualitative research designs used in most studies:
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- Descriptive research
- Research journal
- Ethnographic research
- Correlational research
- Critical social research
- Ethics investigation
- Grounded theory
- Trial study
- Revise the design
- Analytical design
With that said, here are 4 major and most common types of search patterns you’ll come across:
1. Exploratory design
It is a design that explores the what and how of the research question. As the name suggests, it is used in formulating a formal hypothesis for the purpose of developing a more precise research question. It is the kind of research design whose purpose is to help study subjects that have not been carefully studied before. Some of the methods used in data collection in this design include the use of secondary research, in-depth interviews, discussions, pilot studies, and case studies, to name a few. This conception does not seek to produce answers to research questions, but rather to expose the subject to further study.
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2. Descriptive design
This design is used in research that requires more in-depth answers, as it approaches the how and what of the research question with a deeper understanding. It is a scientific method which involves observations and description of the subject’s behavior without influencing it in any way. It is a design that helps describe participants accurately based on observations made about their behavior.
3. Explanatory design
This type of design focuses on answering the questions: how, why, and what. It focuses more on the detailed explanation of the research topic. This is the outline that will help you establish a cause and effect relationship in order to better understand the research question.
4. Evaluation design
These are designs that will help determine the impact of a social intervention. This is an extensive design that measures the effectiveness of a program. It involves quasi-experiments and random experiments, to name a few.
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Either way, your research paper will require you to use one or more of the above research models for a conclusive and well-researched paper. In case you had a hard time figuring out what research design is, now you have a better understanding of the same. This should make it easy for you to choose a design when working on your research project.
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