Different Research Designs

Research Design in Descriptive and Diagnostic Research Studies

Descriptive research studies describe the characteristics of a person or a group whereas diagnostic research studies determine the frequency of occurrence of something or its association with something else. From the research design point of view, the design of such studies should be rigid and should focus on the following:

(a) Objective of the study (what the study is about and why is it being made?)

(b) Methods of data collection (what techniques of data collection will be adopted?)

(c) Sample selection (how much material will be needed?)

(d) Data collection (where the required data can be found and with what time frequency should the data be related?)

(e) Data processing and analysis

(f) Reporting the findings

Given below is the difference between research designs of exploratory and descriptive research studies:

Type of study

Research Design

Exploratory

Descriptive/Diagnostic

Overall design Flexible design Rigid design
  1. Sampling design
Non-probability sampling design Probability sampling design
  1. Statistical design
No pre-planned design for analysis Pre-planned design for analysis
iii. Observational design Unstructured instruments for data collection Structured or well thought out instruments for data collection
iv. Operational design No fixed decisions about the operational procedures Advanced decisions about operational procedures
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Research Design

A research design can be defined as the preparation of conditions, for the collection and analysis of data in such a manner, which aims at combining relevance to the research purpose with economy in procedure. In other words, the design arrangement of a research project is commonly known as the “research design”. Besides, the decisions like what, where, when, how, etc., in regard to a research study, creates a research design. In fact, the research design is the conceptual structure within which a research is conducted. Moreover, it comprises the outline for the collection, measurement and analysis of data. Hence, the design carries a blueprint of what the researcher will do, from composing the hypothesis and its operational implications to the final analysis of data. Overtly, the design decisions happen to be in respect of:

1)  What is the research?

2)  Where and why will the research be conducted?

3)  What data is required for the research?

4)  Where can be the data found?

5)  What will be the time period of the research?

6)  What will be the sample design?

7)  What methods will be used for data collection?

8)  How will be the data analysed?

9)  In which style will be the research report prepared?

Based on the above mentioned design decisions, the complete research design may be divided into the following parts:

(a)  Sample design: this deals with the technique of selecting items and thus requires careful observation for the given research study.

(b)  Observational design: this relates to the conditions under which the experiments are to be conducted.

(c)  Statistical design: this concerns the question of how many items are to be observed, and how are the collected data and information going to be analysed.

(d)  Operational design: this deals with the methods by which the procedures specified in the sample, observational and statistical designs can be conducted.

The essential characteristics of a research design are as the following.

(a)  It is a plan, which specifies the sources and types of data relevant to the research problem.

(b)  It is a strategy, which decides the approach that will be used to collect and analyse the data.

(c)  Since most of the research studies are conducted under these two controls, it also includes the time and cost budgets.

In short, the research design must contain the followings.

(i)  A clear and concise statement of the research problem,

(ii)  The population to be studied, and

(iii)  The various procedures, methods, and techniques to be used for collecting and analysing the data.

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