- Research design:
The researcher makes a plan of his/her study before undertaking the research work. This will enable to save time and resources. Such a plan of study is called a research design (strategy). Thus, a research design is a plan for the collection and analysis of data. It presents a series of guide posts to enable the researcher to progress in the right direction in order to achieve the goal. The design may be a specific presentation of the various steps in the research process. These steps include the selection of a research problem, presentation of the problem, formulation of hypothesis, conceptual clarity, methodology, survey of literature and documentation, bibliography, data collection, testing of the hypothesis, interpretation, presentation and report writing. Generally, a common research design possesses the five basic elements they are; i) selection of problem, ii) methodology ,iii) data gathering , iv) data analysis and v) report writing.
The research design asks, what approach to the problem should be taken, what methods will be used, what strategies will be effective? etc. identification, selection and formulation of a research problem may be considered as planning stage of a research and the remaining activities refer to the designs, operation, and completion of the research study.
Several definition of research design has been given by writers on research methodology. A few of them are mentioned here:
Young (1966): “Research design is the logical and systematic planning and directing a piece of research.
Zikmund (2007): “Research design is a master plan specifying the methods and procedures for collecting and analyzing the needed information.”
According to the Kelinger, F.N., research design is the plan, structure and strategy of investigation conceived so as to obtain answers to research questions and to control variance. The pan is the overall scheme or program of 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. The structure of research is more specific. It is the outline, the scheme, and the paradigm of the operations of the variables. Strategy includes the methods to be used to gather and analyze the data. In other words, strategy implies how the problems encountered in the research will be tackled.
This definition gives that it is a plan that specifies the sources and types of information relevant to the research question and it is strategy specifying which approach will be used for gathering and analyzing the data. In actual research, through the researcher might try to achieve the best but he/ she will have to work keeping practical difficulties and situation into solution. Each researcher fully well realizes that all observations are subject to error, which creep in the study and that it is impossible to remove observation errors, even if best efforts are made to remove them. Some of the errors might be removed if many observe the same subject and phenomena repeatedly, which is costly and time consuming process and even them some of the observation errors might remain. It is also possible that all the observers who are put on job might not have the capacity to the desired extent and many things might go escaped even when the observer is observing in personal basis. A research design is basically focused on.
- The sample design
- Observational design and
- Statistical design
Sampling design deals with the method of selecting the subjects to be observed in a given study, where as observational design relates to the conditions under which observations are to be made. Statistical design deals with the question or how many subjects to be observed, how many observations are just to be forgotten and how many are to be analyzed. Operational designs are concerned with each other. Thus, the decision in one design is bound to influence the other and in many cases these overlap each other as well.
Generally, a common research design possesses the five basic elements
i) Selection of problem
iii) Data gathering
iv) Data analysis
v) Report writing
Purpose of Research design
Research design is essential for the whole study and helps in finding out deficiency in expectation to the starting of work.
· To provide answers to research questions and
· To control variance
According to Kerlinger “design helps the investigator obtain answers to the questions of research and also helps him to control the experimental, extraneous and error variance of the particular research problem under study.”
Characteristics of good Research Design:
1) Objectivity: An objectivity research design implies to examine the evidence independent of belief, bias, emotions, perception, attitudes, hope and fear of any individual.
2) Reliability: This is an attribute of consistency. A scale should give consistent results. Reliable instrument will give trust worthy and stable results if is applied to the same individuals or the object from time to time, provided the trait being measured has not itself. Changed in the mean time.
3) Validity: This refers to the ability of a scale to measure what it is supposed to measure.
4) Generalizability: The degree of generalization usually depends on population definition, sample size and statistical tools used in the analysis.
- Types of Research Designs
We will classify research studies into five categories:
· Exploratory research design
· Descriptive research design
- Historical research
- Descriptive research
- Developmental research
- Survey research
- Case study research
· Comparative research design
- Correlational research
- Causal-comparative research
· Interventional research design
- True experimental research
- Quasi-experimental research
· Qualitative research design
Exploratory Research Design:
An exploratory research is defined as “a study undertaken in areas where very little prior knowledge or information is available on the subject under investigation”. It is thus the initial research conducted to study and define the nature of a problem. An exploratory study is undertaken when we do not know much about the situation at hand. In such cases, extensive preliminary work needs to be dome to gain familiarity with the phenomenon the situation.
Descriptive Research Design:
Descriptive research describes phenomena as they exist. Such studies involve the systematic collection and presentation of data to give a clear picture of a particular situation. These studies attempt to obtain a complete and accurate of situation. These studies can be classified in the following five categories: (a) historical, (b) descriptive, (c) developmental, (d) survey, and (e) case studies.
- Historical Research:
Historical research is concerned with past phenomena. It can be defined as “the systematic and objective location, evaluation, and synthesis of evidence in order to establish facts and draw conclusions about past events.” Historical research is thus a process of collection, evaluating, verifying, and synthesizing past evidence systematically and objectively to reach a conclusion.
- Descriptive Research:
Descriptive research is a fact- finding operation searching for adequate information; it is a type of study, which is generally conducted to assess the opinions, behaviors, or characteristics of a given population and to describe the situation and events occurring at present. Descriptive research is a process of accumulating facts. It does not necessarily seek to explain relationships, test hypotheses, make predictions or get at meanings and implications of a study. Descriptive research can either quantitative or qualitative. This research involves gathering data that describes events and then organizes, tabulates, depicts, and describes the data collection. Descriptive statics is used to reduce the data to manageable form.
- Developmental Research:
Developmental research is conducted for the purpose of predicting future trends. It concentrates on the study of variables, their rates of change, directions, sequences and other inter-related factors over a period of time. Developmental research focused on the study of variables and their development over a period of months or years. It asks, “What are the patterns of growth, their rates, their directions, their sequences, and the interrelated factors affecting these characteristics?”
- Survey Research:
A survey is a means of gathering information about the characteristics, actions, or opinions of a large group of people, referred to as a population. A survey research is thus defined as “the systematic gathering of information from respondents for the purpose of understanding and/or predicting some aspect of the behavior of the population of interest” (Tull & Hawkins, 1997, p. 164). A survey study is perhaps the dominant form of data collection in social science, today. If conducted scientifically, this type of research can contribute to the advance of knowledge.
- Case Study Research:
Case study research is an important approach to study the topics in social science and management. Case studies are written summaries or synthesis of real-life cases based upon data and research. A case study is thus defined as “a strategy for doing research which involves on empirical investigation of a particular contemporary phenomenon within a real-life context.” Rather than using samples to examine a limited number of variables, case study methods involve in in-depth longitudinal examination of a single instance or event. This research thus views a social or study unit as a whole in its real-life context. This study phenomenon could be a person, a family, a social group, an institution, a community, or even an entire culture.
Comparative Research Designs:
A comparative study attempts to establish causes for certain problem. This is done by comparing two or more groups of situation or variables. Comparative studies can be classified into two categories: correlational and causal-comparative research.
- Correlational Research:
Correlational research is used to obtain descriptions of phenomena. This technique is used to ascertain the extent to which two variables are related. In a correlational relationship, changed in one variable accompany changes in another, but the proper tests have not been conducted to show that either variable actually influences the other. Thus, all that is known is that a relationship between them exists. When changes in one variable tend to be accompanied by specific changes in another, two variables are said to covary.
- Causal-Comparative Research:
Studies that establish causal relationships between variables may be termed explanatory studies. This research investigates the possible causes affecting a particular situation by observing existing consequences and searching for the possible factors leading to these results. The emphasis is thus on studying a situation or problem in order to explain the relationships between two variables. This research is also known as ‘ex post facto’ (Latin for “after the fact”) research. This is because both the effect and the alleged causes have already occurred and must be studied in retrospect.
Interventional Research Designs:
In international research studies, the researcher intervenes and manipulated a situation to measure the effects of the manipulation. Usually (but not always) two groups are compared, one in which the intervention takes place. Discovering causal relationships is the key to experimental research. The goal is to establishing cause-and-effect relationships between variables. Experimental research thus provides the vest method possible to examine a cause and effect situation.
- True Experimental Research:
The true experimental research is defined as “a situation in which a researcher objectively observes phenomenon which is made to occur in a strictly controlled situation where one or more variables are valid and the others are kept constant”. Hence, an experiment is a test of a causal proposition. Experimental research is familiar to most of us as the test- tube research conducted in a laboratory by a scientist wearing a white smock. Scientists are conducting experimental research when they put exactly the same materials into two tests –tubes and then add one new ingredient to only none of the original tubes. After the new ingredient is added to one tube, the changes that take place in that tube are measured.
- Quasi-experimental Research:
When an experimental method is used to solve problem, it is the most respected mean of obtaining reliable knowledge. The word “quasi” means as if or almost. Hence, a quasi-experiment means almost a true experiment. As with true experimental research, the goal of quasi-experimental research is to test cause and effect by observing how subjects react to phenomena.