Research Design is defined as a framework of methods and techniques chosen by a researcher to combine various components of research in a reasonably logical manner so that the research problem is efficiently handled. It provides insights about “how” to conduct research using a particular methodology.
Types of Research Design
A researcher must have a clear understanding of the various types of research design to select which type of research design to implement for a study. Research design can be broadly classified into quantitative and qualitative research design.
- Qualitative Research Design
Qualitative research is implemented in cases where a relationship between collected data and observation is established on the basis of mathematical calculations. Theories related to a naturally existing phenomenon can be proved or disproved using mathematical calculations. Researchers rely on qualitative research design where they are expected to conclude “why” a particular theory exists along with “what” respondents have to say about it.
- Quantitative Research Design
Quantitative research is implemented in cases where it is important for a researcher to have statistical conclusions to collect actionable insights. Numbers provide a better perspective to make important business decisions. Quantitative research design is important for the growth of any organization because any conclusion drawn on the basis of numbers and analysis will only prove to be effective for the business.
Further, research design can be divided into five types :
(I) Descriptive Research Design: In a descriptive research design, a researcher is solely interested in describing the situation or case under his/her research study. It is a theory-based research design which is created by gather, analyze and presents collected data. By implementing an in-depth research design such as this, a researcher can provide insights into the why and how of research.
(II) Experimental Research Design: Experimental research design is used to establish a relationship between the cause and effect of a situation. It is a causal research design where the effect caused by the independent variable on the dependent variable is observed. For example, the effect of an independent variable such as price on a dependent variable such as customer satisfaction or brand loyalty is monitored. It is a highly practical research design method as it contributes towards solving a problem at hand. The independent variables are manipulated to monitor the change it has on the dependent variable. It is often used in social sciences to observe human behavior by analyzing two groups – effect of one group on the other.
(III) Correlational Research Design: Correlational research is a non-experimental research design technique which helps researchers to establish a relationship between two closely connected variables. Two different groups are required to conduct this research design method. There is no assumption while evaluating a relationship between two different variables and statistical analysis techniques are used to calculate the relationship between them.
Correlation between two variables is concluded using a correlation coefficient, whose value ranges between -1 and +1. If the correlation coefficient is towards +1, it indicates a positive relationship between the variables and -1 indicates a negative relationship between the two variables.
(IV) Diagnostic Research Design: In the diagnostic research design, a researcher is inclined towards evaluating the root cause of a specific topic. Elements that contribute towards a troublesome situation are evaluated in this research design method.
There are three parts of diagnostic research design:
- Inception of the issue
- Diagnosis of the issue
- Solution for the issue
(V) Explanatory Research Design: In exploratory research design, the researcher’s ideas and thoughts are key as it is primarily dependent on their personal inclination about a particular topic. Explanation about unexplored aspects of a subject is provided along with details about what, how and why related to the research questions.
Features of a Good Research Design
The features of good research design is often characterized by adjectives like flexible, appropriate, efficient, economical and so on. Generally, the design which minimizes bias and maximizes the reliability of the data collected and analyzed is considered a good design. The design which gives the smallest experimental error is supposed to be the best design in many investigations. Similarly, a design which yields maximal information and provides an opportunity for considering many different aspects of a problem is considered most appropriate and efficient design in respect of many research problems. Thus, the question of good design is related to the purpose or objective of the research problem and also with the nature of the problem to be studied. A design may be quite suitable in one case, but may be found wanting in one respect or the other in the context of some other research problem. One single design cannot serve the purpose of all types of research problems.
A research design appropriate for a particular research problem, usually involves the consideration of the following factors:
- The means of obtaining information;
- The availability and skills of the researcher and his staff, if any;
- The objective of the problem to be studied;
- The nature of the problem to be studied; and
- The availability of time and money for the research work.