Overview : “Research Design”
‘A research design is a plan, structure and strategy of investigation so conceived as to obtain
answers to research questions or problems. The plan is the complete scheme or programme
of the research. It includes an outline of what the investigator will do from writing the
hypotheses and their operational implications to the final analysis of data.’ (Kerlinger)
‘A traditional research 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 analysing
the results.’ (Thyer)
‘A research design is the arrangement of the conditions for collection and analysis of data in a
manner that aims to combine relevance to the research purpose with economy in procedure.’
(Selltiz, Deutsch and Cook)
Functions of Research Design
•The identification and/ or development of procedures and logistical
arrangements required to undertake a study.
•Ensuring that the procedures are adequate in quality to obtain valid,
objective and accurate answers to the research questions.
•Conceptualize an operational plan to undertake the various procedures and
tasks required to complete your study;
•Ensure that these procedures are adequate to obtain valid, objective and
accurate answers to the research questions.
Kerlinger calls this function: control of variance
IDENTIFICATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF
What procedures to follow and how to follow them?
Name the design per se e.g. ‘cross sectional’, ‘before -and- after’, ‘comparative’, ‘control experiment’
or ‘random control’.
Provide detailed information about the following aspects of the study:
• Who will constitute the study population?
• How will the study population be identified?
• Will a sample or the whole population be selected?
• If a sample is selected, how will it be contacted??
• How will consent be sought?
• What method of data collection will be used and why?
• In the case of a questionnaire, where will the responses be returned?
• How should respondents contact you if they have queries?
• In the case of interviews, where will they be conducted?
• How will ethical issues be taken care of?
CRITERIA FOR GOOD RESEARCH DESIGN
Does the design give specific answer to the research question?
Does the design adequately test the hypothesis?
Does the design present the appropriate question problem?
Does the design adequately control the extraneous independent variable?
Can we generalize the results of a study to other subjects?
Does the design give the internal and external validity?
Split The Research Design Into The
FEATURES OF GOOD RESEARCH DESIGN
Means of obtaining information.
Availability and skills of the researcher and his staff if any.
Objective of the problem to be studied.
Nature of the problem to be studied.
Availability of time and money for the research work.
Good research design is the “ first rule of the good research”.
Approaches of research
DIFFERENT TYPES OF RESEARCH DESIGN
OVERVIEW: EXPLORATORY DESIGN
Also known as Formulative Research:
Exploratory Research, as the name implies, intends merely to explore the research questions
and does not intend to offer final and conclusive solutions to existing problems.
Main purposes – is that of formulating of problem for investigation and or developing
hypotheses from an operational point of view.
Major purposes - discoveries new ideas and insights.
“Exploratory research is the initial research, which forms the basis of more conclusive
research. It can even help in determining the research design, sampling methodology and
data collection method.”
EXPLORATORY DESIGN (Formulating
Conducted for gaining better insight into the problem.
It gather information for clarifying concepts, ideas and insights into a phenomenon.
Evaluate the feasibility of a research project.
Usually conducted when the researcher does not know much about the problem.
Provide theoretical basis of the problem.
Establish possibilities for further research.
To help define a problem and formulation of a statement.
Gain familiarity with a problem and back ground information.
It usually takes the form of a pilot study.
Suitable for those cases, where no prior studies or background knowledge is available for reference.
Basically, this research is the initial stage of future in depth investigations.
Sometimes exploratory research is conducted to know the suitable methodology for certain research
This designs often help create qualitative data, which derived from, events, behavioural patterns,
interpretations and other such descriptive matter rather than numbers, and text and visuals.
The focus is on gaining insights and familiarities for the investigation.
This research often used to establish an understanding of how best to proceed in studying an issues or
what methodology would effectively apply to gathering information about the issues.
Generations of new ideas and assumptions.
Determination about whether a study is feasible in the future.
STEPS / METHODS
Selltiz and others have suggested the following steps or methods for the exploratory research:
a) Review/Survey of concerning literature:
• review of preview studies & articles
• Internal and external sources should be consulted
• Guidelines for research
b) Experience Survey
• Attempts to tap the knowledge and experience of those familiar with the subject being
c) Analysis of Insight-Stimulating Cases
• An extensive study of selected cases of the phenomenon under investigation
• Seek possible explanations rather than testing explanations
• Seek many possibilities
• Intensely analyse possibilities
Key informant technique- gathering information from those thought to be knowledgeable on the
issues relevant to the research problem.
Lead user survey- used to acquire information from lead users of a new technology.
To gather information from predefined group of respondents.
Attempts to tap the knowledge and experience of those familiar with the subject being
Hypothesis is taken from earlier workers and their usefulness is evaluated as a basis for further
Review available material for deriving the reverent hypotheses from it.
◦ Depth interviews- unstructured extensive interview in which the
researcher probes for in depth answer to questions.
◦ An interview can give in depth with a subject matter expert can give us
meaningful insights that a generalized public source won’t be able to
◦ Requires a skilled interviewer and sometimes multi-media equipment.
Focus groups Observations
In such method a group of people is chosen
and are allowed to express their insights on
the topic that is being studied.
Keys to focus groups success
Objective – ideas not answers
Group composition –6-10 Homogenous
Environment- professional with ability to have
Such research is done to observe a person and
draw and the findings from their reaction to
No direct interaction with the subject.
Most extensive methods used for discovering
Sources included like:
•Books from library
•Research paper related articles
•Market information and trends
Case Study Research
A review of available information about a former situations that has some
similarities to the current research problem.
Help a researcher with finding more information through carefully analysing
existing cases which have gone through a similar problem.
It is very commonly used by business organizations or social sciences sector
or even in the health sector.