A research design is a plan to carry out various tasks of the research process. “A traditional research/study design is a blueprint or detailed plan for how a research study is to be completed—operationalizing variables so they can be measured, selecting a sample of interest to study, collecting data to be used as a basis for testing hypotheses, and analyzing the results” (Thyer 1993: 94). “Research design is a plan structure and strategy of investigations enable one to obtain answers to research questions” (Kerlinger 1986: 276). According to Thyer’s (above) definition of research design the research design has following components:
- operationalizing variables to be measured
- selection of sample to be studied
- Collection of data for testing hypothesis
- analysis of the results
It should be noted that a study design is a general plan of the structure of the research. It does not outline the specific details of the research process. Study design is like an architectural plan of a building that outlines all the general details of the construction. The aim is to avoid any thing that can lead to wrong direction.
How research design helps a researcher
Research design helps you make decisions about each and every step of your study. It makes the research process operational by providing help at each step. It answers all the how, when, where, and what questions of your research study. You start from formulating a hypothesis this hypothesis helps you develop variables of your study. You decide how you are going to measure the variables. You decide about the sample its size and location. Study design helps you decide about the data collection, analysis and interpretation techniques.
According to Selltiz 1962,“Research design is the arrangement of conditions for collection and analysis of data in the manner that aims to combine relevance of research purpose with economy in process”.
A study design is developed by the researcher as a blueprint of his research. This blueprint helps the reader understand how did you undertake your study. On the other hand, it helps the researcher as well as the readers know the objective side of your study. The readers know your rationale for the study. Each study design is identified by its name, for example, experimental, quasi, cross-sectional etc. You should be able to clearly identify your study design and state it in your research so the readers are able to understand the type.
Advantages of feasible research design
It also helps the researcher understand how he can save time, money, and other resources in a better manner. In the absence of a valid and reliable study design you may not be able to manage your resources while conducting your research. A research design helps you decide how much time, energy, money and other resources you need to spend on each step of your research.
The other benefit of a feasible study design is that it provides reliability, accuracy, and validity to the research. The researcher informs the readers about the accuracy, reliability, and validity of the research through a valid research design.
What is a successful research/study design
Your proposed study design can help other researchers to conduct similar studies. Your should be able to prove that the design you have proposed is the most logical one to undertake for such studies. A successful study design yields valid, reliable, and accurate results. A successful research design helps you solve the research problem logically and unambiguously.
- Kumar, R., (2011) Research Methodology: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners, Sage Publications: 3rd Ed., New Delhi. Pp-95-97
- “Organizing your Social Sciences Research Paper: Types of Research Designs”. Research Guides. <http://libguides.usc.edu/writingguide/researchdesigns>. Retrieved on 2019/01/02.
- Nootyaskool, Supakit., “Chap 4: Conceptual Research Design”. Research Methodology and Statistic. Pp-4-7. <http://18.104.22.168/download/rms/chap04_v2.pdf>.